How to calm a teething baby!

emmas necklace

     No parent likes to see his/her baby in pain. Teething symptoms are some of the top complaints by parents of young children. With all of the options available today for teething, knowing which ones to use can be confusing. Commercial products add to the parental confusion by continuing to produce and sell products that have serious risks associated with them. In this article, how to calm a teething baby, I will discuss available options and their risks and benefits.

Symptoms associated with teething (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics website)

Biting

Drooling

Gum rubbing

Sucking

Irritability

Wakefulness

Ear rubbing

Facial rash

Decreased appetite for solid foods

Mild temperature elevation

Symptoms not associated with teething (according to the AAP)

Congestion

Cough

Sleep disturbance

Decreased appetite for liquids

Vomiting

Loose or increased stools

Fever greater than 100.4 F

Diarrhea

     If a child has either of these last 2 symptoms, fever >100.4 F and/or diarrhea, it could be caused by a bacterial infection and he/she should be seen by a doctor right away.

What are the teething options and what options are the safest?

Refrigerated teething rings

Pacifiers

Plastic baby spoons

Clean, wet cold washcloths

Frozen bananas or bagels (if your child is old enough to normally eat these items)

The above listed items are all recommended as the preferable, safe treatments recommended by the AAP.

What about the other teething options on the market

Frozen teething rings- These are no longer recommended because they can cause damage to gum tissue, such as fat necrosis. They are too hard for your little one’s mouth.

Over the counter teething gels- Many OTC teething gels contain Benzocaine as an active ingredient. This medicine can cause a condition called Methemoglobinemia, which babies can develop immediately or hours after the medication is taken. This is a condition where the blood cannot supply oxygen to the body as needed. Symptoms of this condition include but are not limited to turning blue, seizures, and even death. The rise in this complication has caused many physicians to stop recommending gels containing Benzocaine.

     Orajel and some other companies have now developed “natural” versions of teething gels that do not include Benzocaine. Teething gels are easily washed off the gums with the saliva and swallowed by the infant, limiting their effectiveness.

Amber necklaces- Most people have seen at least 1 baby or toddler in their circle sporting one of these necklaces but you may or may not know what it is for.

     According to Kelly’s Closet an online retailer of these necklaces’, “Baltic Amber baby teething necklaces provide natural pain relief for babies, toddlers, and children.Amber is associated with sunlight and warmth and reputed to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and accelerate the healing of wounds and is thus the perfect help for babies and toddlers who wear it when they are teething.” According to retailers you want to purchase a 100% Baltic Amber product from Lithuania.

     According to most retail websites the Baltic Amber is the only Amber that that secretes healing oils when warmed. The theory is that when these beads are worn against the skin the warmth of the skin causes the Amber to release healing oils, which are then absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.

     Recommendations for this product say to remove the necklace at night to prevent a choking hazard. To continue the effects at night the necklace can be wrapped around the ankle of the child with a sock placed over it to hold it against the skin. Effectiveness of this product is found in accounts by parents rather than scientific studies.

Teething tablets- This is a homeopathic remedy used to treat restlessness and wakeful irritability symptoms of teething. These tablets are either placed under the babies tongue or diluted in a small about of water and given to the baby. Brand instructions vary but these tablets can generally be re-administered frequently until relief is obtained.

Teething relief liquid- This is another homeopathic remedy that some parents swear by. It is all natural and made of an herbal blend that is reputed to relieve symptoms of teething. Similar to the tablets, the liquid is placed under the tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream to obtain pain relief.

Teething biscuits and wafers- This is a centuries old treatment for teething. Many commercial products are available for babies in the baby food aisles at your local grocery store. These should only be given if you child is developmentally ready for these items. You don’t want these to become a choking hazard.

The bottom line- Homeopathic treatments do not usually have any advertised potential side effects on the packaging as medications do. However, keep in mind a child could be sensitive or allergic to herbs in the treatments. If you choose to use homeopathic remedies watch for signs of sensitivity or allergy before administering multiple doses.

     Each child may respond differently to different treatments. All options treat only the symptoms of teething. As we all know, time is the only thing that will end teething. This article is only meant to start the discussion of different teething treatment options, not to give medical advice. Discuss safety concerns with your doctor and find the best option for your baby or toddler.

Visit http://www2.aap.org/oralhealth/pact/ch2_sect5.cfm to learn more about oral care for your child from the American Academy of Pediatrics

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