My six-month old is teething. He is really irritable all the time and I feel helpless. What can I do?

The process of teething varies a great deal between babies. The first teeth usually appear sometime in the first year, often around the age of six months, although may occur earlier or not appear until a year of age. Teething commonly causes no symptoms at all and teeth appear without causing any diffculty. In some babies, dribbling, fussing and chewing on things may be a sign.

If your baby appears unwell or has a fever, it’s important not to attribute this to teething – babies should be seen by a doctor if you are worried. It is also a normal part of a babies’ development to drool and put their hands to their mouths, so don’t be too concerned. A visit to your GP is usually all that’s needed for reassurance.

There are a number of ways you can help relieve discomfort if teething is thought to be the most likely cause. A teething ring can provide a good option for babies to chew on. You can also cool the rings in the fridge (not the freezer) to further help soothe gums.

For babies who have commenced weaning, usually from six months, chewing on foods appropriate for their age will not only provide relief but nutrition too. Raw fruit or vegetables make good finger foods, but do supervise your baby at all times. Teething gels are available over the counter from most pharmacies. These contain a mild anaesthetic, which you can rub on gums, but only for short-term use. Pain relief with paracetamol or ibuprofen can also be used, but I wouldn’t recommend this unless your baby has been checked first, to make sure there are no other causes for the discomfort.

Before you know it, all your baby’s teeth will have come through, teething will be a distant memory and the tooth fairy will appear to start taking milk teeth away.

Smallish Magazine 2017

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