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There are many ways to help your baby who is teething. You can help relieve discomfort by offering your baby safe objects to chew or
suck on. Use caution with teething gels.
A wide variety of teethers and toys are made of nontoxic materials
and are specially designed for teething babies. Teething rings come in many
different sizes and shapes. Some are made of firm rubber (with or without
bumps). Others are filled with water and made to be chilled in the
refrigerator. Don't freeze these types of rings or teethers, because they become
too hard and may harm your baby's gums.
Clean teething rings, teethers, and toys after each use. Check the
package label to see if the object is dishwasher-safe. Don't boil water-filled
teethers, because they may break open.
Never tie an object such as a teething ring or pacifier around your
baby's neck. The cord could tighten and choke the baby or, at the very least,
irritate his or her skin.
Babies often resist feedings when they are teething. Sucking brings
more blood to the gums, which increases sensitivity and swelling in the area.
If your child is eating solids, try offering cold foods and fluids to help
decrease the swelling and discomfort. For example, try feeding your
You can also dip a clean washcloth in water, freeze it, and let
your baby chew on it.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend using pain relievers that you put on a baby’s gums, such as teething gels. These products usually contain benzocaine, or sometimes lidocaine, which can be harmful if used improperly. If these products are swallowed frequently, a baby's throat could become numb. This may cause difficulty swallowing. Also, benzocaine or lidocaine can be toxic if large concentrations build up in a baby's body. Some babies can get a rash from these products. And some have other types of reactions.
Do not use teething powder or aspirin on your baby's gums.
Inhaling small particles of teething powder or aspirin can cause lung problems.
Also, aspirin should not be given to anyone younger than 20, because it has
been linked with
not give your baby any alcohol. Check medicine labels carefully. Avoid buying those that list alcohol as one of the first few ingredients. Alcoholic
beverages, including fruit-flavored brandy or wine, can be harmful to your baby
in any amount.
June 20, 2011
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
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