Easing your baby’s discomfort: 5 teething signs

Easing your baby's discomfort: 5 teething signs

Waaaaaa! The sound you’ve been hearing more often than any other every night for the last four months. Now, though, you wake up to it much more often than you used to. And you don’t know the meaning of it. She won’t stop crying even when you try to feed her; in fact, there are times when she pushes away from your breast instead of latching onto it. Whatever could this crankiness mean?

More often than not, teething. Starting anywhere between four months and a year of age, your little one will start sprouting her incisors, and she isn’t going to do it silently. Some of her symptoms can actually leave you worried because of her constant crankiness, so here are a list of teething signs you should know about:

1. Drooling:

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Who’d have thought that a saliva factory cranked away in such a tiny mouth? Teething triggers it, and she’ll be a spit-spring from about 10 weeks to four months. So get lots of bibs ready, and keep wiping her chin to make sure she doesn’t start chafing. Constant wetness on her skin could lead to teething rash. To prevent this, apply a layer of mild, odourless moisturiser or Vaseline on the lower half of her face. This acts as a barrier between the saliva and skin.

2. Biting:

Baby chewing a teething ring

Your sore nipples are testament enough for this. Not only does she bite when you’re nursing her, she also starts putting whatever she can grab hold of into her mouth. This can be a problem. You can’t have the world’s germs entering your baby’s stomach and wreaking havoc with her immune system. So give her teething rings with ridges and soft, chewy toys that she can clamp her jaws around to her heart’s content. You could also apply counterpressure, which means rubbing her gums with your clean finger or a soft toothbrush without paste, but be careful not to rub too hard.

3. Crying:

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She does this a lot, yeah, but crying frequently when the diaper is dry and she’s full up to her chest with milk isn’t the normal type. Sore and inflamed gums are painful, to say the least. To soothe them, give her frequent sips of water without ice, if she’s already been introduced to water that is, or cold rags to bite on (store them in the fridge and not the freezer). This will numb her gums. Instead of water, you could also try cold curds or fruit juice without sugar. They’ll be more interesting because they actually have a taste, and it could distract her from the discomfort.

4. Refusing breastmilk:

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This, particularly, is what could worry you if you didn’t know that it was one of the signs of teething. Suckling requires her to create a suction out of her mouth, and this can make her already sore gums more tender still. So she might push you away and cry, and she’ll become even more grumpy because she’s unable to fill her hungry stomach. Don’t give up. If she’s already on solid food, try giving her something cold to eat. If she’s not, keep trying to breastfeed. If she’s still fussy after a few days, contact your paediatrician and ask her what to do.

5. Fiddling with ear and chin:

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Pulling at the earlobes might also be a sign of ear infection, so if you see her at it when you can’t spot any of the other baby teething symptoms, take her to the doctor. Especially when the molars and premolars are coming out, however, they trigger nerve pathways that the gums, ears and teeth have in common. If your wisdom tooth has emerged recently, you’ll remember what it feels like. Mildly cold packs might help, but more than anything, give her lots of love. Being carried, cuddled, hugged and kissed will make her much more agreeable, which to be sure, will relieve you in more ways than you’d have imagined.

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