Teething can be a tough time for babies and parents alike, but following a few key recommendations can help ease the journey for everyone. You have been thinking that you finally have this parenting thing down. And then, when your baby is between 4 and 6 months old, a new kind of unrelenting crying begins. But that is not all you are noticing. Your baby is also:

  • cranky
  • drooling more than usual
  • having trouble sleeping
  • pulling on her ears
  • putting his hands in his mouth more frequently  

Yes, teething has begun. So the question becomes, what can you do to soothe your baby’s sore gums?

“Teething is the time when you should trust your instincts,” says Emily Hahn, DDS, pediatric dentist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Not a lot of research exists on proven methods to successfully manage the pain, so if something is not working for your child, don’t get discouraged. Simply try something else.”

Providing Relief

When your child starts teething, talk to your pediatrician about safe options, which may include:

  • age-appropriate doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen  
  • gently pressing a chilled, damp washcloth or cold spoon onto your child’s gums
  • silicone teethers

Avoid teethers made with breakable plastic or with metal. Also, don’t use gels that include benzocaine or teething tablets that may contain unsafe ingredients.

For a bit of relief with other health benefits, you may consider filling a silicone teether with your baby’s favorite frozen fruit that has slightly thawed. Children should be supervised while using this product.

“The juices and cold fruit are helpful with nutrient intake and palate formation,” Dr. Hahn says. “I put frozen pureed baby food in the teethers and give them to my child like Popsicles.”

Need help finding a pediatrician? Call St. Louis Children’s Hospital at 314.454.KIDS (5437) or toll-free 800.678.KIDS.