While babies usually begin teething at six months old, it can happen earlier or later so it’s helpful to be aware of the signs. Sometimes teething symptoms can be confused for TiMband discomfort, as babies often start teething during their plagiocephaly treatment. If you are worried by a change in your baby’s temperament and habits, have a read through the signs of a teething baby and our teething solutions.
How to Tell if Your Baby is Teething
The first thing you might notice about a teething baby is that they become more irritable and fussy. An increase in crying and distress, paired with red, swollen gums and warm, flushed cheeks could be a sign your baby is cutting their first teeth. Often, teething babies will pull their ear on the side of the face where the teething is occurring. Pain from the teeth can radiate towards the ear area which is why a teething baby might touch, pull, or bat at their ear out of frustration.
Sleep may be more broken than usual, and although this could be due to sleep regression (usually occurs around four months and/or eight months), difficulty sleeping is one of the first signs of teething. Parents of babies with plagiocephaly sometimes worry that the helmet causes sleep disturbance, but usually this only occurs in the first few days as they get used to wearing a TiMband and there is generally something else at play if your baby has sudden sleep disturbance.
A teething baby may have a very mild raised temperature. Normal temperature is 36.40C and if your baby has a temperature over 380C they’re running a fever so seek medical advice immediately. Ear pain can also be linked to an ear infection or a cold, so have a read of our blog post to check for the immediate signs your baby may have a cold and how to help them.
If you are breastfeeding, you may notice a change in your baby’s latch. This is because sensitive, sore gums and cheeks can make sucking painful for your baby. If this is the case, try turning your baby to the opposite side and moving him or her around until they find a more comfortable latch. Your baby might also be dribbling more than normal which could cause a rash to develop on your baby’s face chin or neck. Treat this by gently drying your baby’s face and applying a suitable rash ointment or barrier cream.
How to Help a Teething Baby
Dampen half a clean, new washcloth and place in a clean zip lock bag inside the freezer for an hour before giving to your baby to chew on. Make sure your baby is holding the dry part of the cloth so their hand doesn’t freeze. The coldness and hard texture of the frozen cloth will be soothing to bite on and relieve some of the pain through numbing.
Tip: try tying a knot in the wet side of the washcloth before freezing it to give your baby something even harder to chew.
You may notice your baby is biting their fingers, or trying to bite objects to help apply pressure to their new teeth. Buy a silicon or wooden teething ring or toy, avoiding any liquid-filled teething rings which could leak for your baby to gnaw on. Teething rings help to apply pressure to the gums and ease the pain.
Tip: for an extra soothing experience, refrigerate the teething ring, but do not freeze as the ring could get stuck to your baby’s tongue.
If your baby is finding it difficult to settle with the pain, you could try rubbing a small amount of numbing, teething gel to the sore gums. There are several teething gels for babies available in supermarkets, but if you’re not sure ask your pharmacist to recommend one.
Tip: avoid using numbing agents prior to feeding as this can make latching even more difficult for your baby.
Chew something healthy
If your baby finds relief from chewing or gnawing, introduce a raw carrot or chunk of apple as a teething apparatus. This is a good opportunity to add some extra vitamins and for your baby to try new flavours, especially if you are approaching the weaning stage. Make sure to supervise your baby when they have food to prevent the risk of choking.
Tip: Keep the fruit/vegetable in the fridge for an extra soothing experience
You can give your baby sugar-free infant ibuprofen or paracetamol if the pain is too much. Try not to mix the medications and always stick to the dosage and frequency recommended on the leaflet.
Tip: do not give your baby aspirin as this is not recommended for children under 16
If your baby is distressed by the pain of teething, sometimes the best thing you can do is to distract them so they temporarily forget about the discomfort of teething. Give your baby lots of cuddles, tummy time, and spend time playing with them. Not only does this help with the pain, it also aids development and helps build a stronger attachment.
Tip: Introduce new sounds and textures to satisfy your baby’s curiosity and take their mind off their painful gums
Although teething can be a stressful time for you and your baby, it’s a natural and temporary stage every baby goes through. Follow our tips on how to help a teething baby – we promise the sleepless nights will be worth the smiles by the time your baby has his or her first pearly whites!
If your child is currently undergoing plagiocephaly treatment and you have any concerns or questions, get in touch with one of our experienced clinicians who can offer timely advice that will put your mind at ease. If you are concerned your baby may be showing signs of flat head syndrome and would like to book in a free, no-obligation assessment of your baby’s head shape, contact us today.