Teething is the process wherein a baby's first set of teeth start to sprout along the gum line. Normally, teething begins when the baby is 3 to 4 months old and up to three years of age, until all set of 20 deciduous baby teeth come out.
Teething may cause pain and discomfort to babies, especially when the first tooth emerges. Symptoms include drooling, irritability and fussiness, sleeplessness, feeding problems, and rise in body temperature. Irritability is a common symptom of teething and may last until the tooth enamel finally emerges. But in some cases, babies do not experience moodiness and fussiness in the process of teething. These symptoms, along with mood swings, are normal and should not cause alarm to parents.
When the gums are already swollen and a bulge is already noticeable, this is the time when the baby begins to feel uneasiness, pain and discomfort. He may also refuse to feed because of the pain. There are differently-shaped nipples of feeding bottles that will help ease out pain. A training cup is also a good option for older infants and toddlers as it may reduce discomfort caused by teething. When the baby starts to drool, parents should always have a clean cloth handy to wipe the saliva off his face. Otherwise, it may lead to skin rash and other disruptive illnesses.
During the whole process of teething, the baby is noticeably biting on almost anything and putting his whole hand on top of his gum line. This is an indication that the baby is suffering from the irritating bulge on his gums. Cold objects can help lessen the inflammation and relieve pain. A chilled washcloth or a chilled water-filled teether is good options. But do choose pain-reducing items that are large enough to avoid choking. Parents can also help alleviate pain of their babies by massaging the swollen gums. However, do not overdo massaging and avoid prolonged exposure of baby's gums with too much cold, as these may cause misalignment of teeth.
Over-the-counter medicines are what pediatricians generally prescribe to ease pain and discomfort for your baby. However, take note that these should be taken or applied as instructed by the doctor and not otherwise. They should be given to the baby with great care and responsibility, scrupulously reading instructions and labels to ensure that the exact dosage is taken. On the down side, medicines should be taken as a last resort in mitigating baby's discomfort. Medicines of this nature are often applied onto baby's gums and should not be swallowed. An example is teething gels, which is very similar to toothache gel for adults but on a smaller dosage.
Teething can truly cause discomfort on the baby's part and on the parents' part as well. But with lots of patience, care and understanding from the parents, any baby can overcome and get through this natural part of growing up.
A product that can help alleviate your baby's condition when he or she is teething is the Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether which is a fun and adorable product that your baby will love.