You will no doubt find that the moment your baby starts making any kind of fuss or looking slightly pink around the cheeks everyone assumes teething is the problem, and will happily start advising you on various methods to tackle the issue. Unsurprisingly, these affable assumptions, and accompanying barrage of advice, are not always a great help – not every whinge or yawn is an indication of teething, and nor is every treatment necessarily suitable. The teething process can be a very painful stage for babies. Thankfully, there are some key symptoms to help spot teething, together with a number of simple, natural therapies that can soothe your baby’s discomfort at this time.
Causes and Symptoms
As the name suggests, ‘teething’ is simply the process of a child’s teeth growing through the gum, which begins around the age of six months. While teething is a perfectly normal and natural part of your baby’s development, it can nonetheless be a distressing time for both of you, as many babies find teething painful, or at least a discomfort. Although it’s not always easy to tell if your baby is teething, the usual symptoms associated with it include:
- Red cheeks that feel hot to touch
- Diarrhoea, often with accompanying nappy rash
- Disturbed sleep patterns, including a difficulty getting to sleep
- A desire to chew on objects even more than usual
- An excessive amount of dribbling compared to usual
Natural Solutions and Remedies
You will inevitable find yourself inundated with advice on how to tackle your baby’s teething, but here are a number of tried-and-tested solutions and remedies – see which ones work for you and your baby:
- Offer your baby a clean finger to chew on. This is one of the best and oldest methods of easing the discomfort of teething – the pressure of chomping away at your finger helps relieve the pressure of the tooth pushing its way through the gum. Not only that, but this is also good bonding time for baby and parent.
- Give your baby frozen items to chew on (as an alternative to your finger), including: breast milk, water or diluted chamomile tea placed in ice-cube trays and left to go solid in the freezer. Don’t give your baby the cubes whole, but crush them up first by placing them in a sterilized cloth and giving them a bash with a pan or rolling pin. You baby can then chew on the frozen chips. Fruit: freeze it and place it in a mesh feeder (available from childcare stores or online). Banana is especially beneficial, as it also helps to reduce diarrhoea, which is a common side effect of teething. You could also try a piece of cloth placed in the freezer for a couple of hours, dipped first in either water or chamomile tea (which has the added bonus of helping to soothe and relax baby).
- Give your baby an amber teething necklace; amber is a natural painkiller and a great alternative to over-the-counter pain relief; when worn on the skin, it releases healing oils that help your baby to stay calm and more relaxed throughout the teething period.
- Try drinking chamomile tea or taking flower remedies, if you are breastfeeding your baby, as these will then be passed on to your infant and can help to soothe their teething pains.
- Apply rescue remedy or other suitable flower remedies to your baby’s gums – simply dilute them in cooled boiled water and rub them gently onto the gums to soothe the pain.
- Try homeopathy: Chamomilla is recommended for babies who become irritable and make a fuss when teething, while Pulsatilla is suggested if your baby becomes clingy (Always seek the advice of a trained homeopath before giving a homeopathic remedy to your infant).
- Try massaging your baby’s face around the gum area: this can not only help relieve teething pain, but can also ease ear and headaches that are often caused by teething.
Baby Teething Relief Massage
The following video shows you exactly how to perform a home massage to relax your baby’s jaw, face and head, addressing the discomfort caused by teething problems.