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How can I Handle a Teething Toddler?

By Steve R.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Teething in infants can begin around three months of age. A teething baby will often experience restless evenings and display symptoms including drooling, irritability, and a runny nose. Rest assured, there are natural remedies, such as breastfeeding, rubbing the baby's gums, or allowing the child to chew on frozen or chilled items. There also are products on the market, including pain medicine, that can be used to bring relief for a teething baby.

Women have a built-in remedy to provide relief for a teething child through breastfeeding. Nursing provides comfort for infants. When babies need emotional or physical soothing, they typically nurse more often. If desired, nursing mothers could even freeze their breast milk in ice trays and give the cubes to their babies. Mothers who breastfeed a teething infant will need to be extra careful that the child does not bite.

Giving an infant something cold when he is teething can work wonders, as cool items decrease pain and lower the chances for inflammation. Parents can give teething babies a frozen washcloth to chew on or place a facecloth with ice cubes in it on the infant's gums. Other frozen items that can provide relief include a teething ring or pacifier, or foods like bananas or bagels. Teething rings are particularly effective as biting on the rings promotes teeth to come through the gums.

Another way to handle a teething infant is through massaging his gums. A parent can simply apply light pressure on a child’s gums for a few minutes to offer relief. When a child is teething, a parent can rub the gums using a clean finger or washcloth.

Substances can also be rubbed on a teething infant’s gums to provide comfort. Clove oil acts as a natural pain killer. Fairly strong for infants, clove oil can be diluted by adding two tablespoons of an edible oil. Rubbing a small amount vanilla extract on the gums can also help curtail the effects of teething, as it has a warming and soothing effect.

Pain medicine is another option for teething babies. Over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can provide relief, especially in the evening. A parent should consult with a pediatrician about proper dosage of pain medicine.

To handle a teething baby, a parent can also provide a pleasant distraction. Often times infants are just frightened or anxious about having a strange object protruding through their gums. Parents can comfort a baby by giving him an object or toy to play with. Music and talking can also provide good distractions for teething babies. Having a distraction gives babies something else to think about and diverts an infant from the pain of teething.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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