Your baby, when he was born, only had what are called “tooth buds,” basically tissue that will eventually develop to form a tooth. As your baby grows into the toddler-hood, these tooth buds develop into full-grown baby teeth. This is usually a painful process for your toddler—especially the development of the first molars. This involves teeth erupting or ‘cutting’ through the gums; hence this phase is also termed “teething” or “cutting molars.” Your child is likely to feel a lot of pain and discomfort as the teeth cut through the gums. Be aware that you may have periodic sleepless nights over a long period of time and considering teething pain, will become one more addition to your inventory of why the baby might be crying.
Here are some signs to tell if your toddler is in discomfort owing to the new teething:
- Your toddler tends to get cranky and restless even though he’s not hungry and doesn’t need a diaper change.
- Your toddler does not sleep easily at bedtime.
- Eating or drinking is challenging—you may find yourself trying harder than usual to have a normal fuss-free feeding session.
- Your toddler may run a mild fever.
Teething pain can be difficult to watch since babies can’t express themselves. And, although it can keep you up all night and disturb every notion of routine, the stages pass fairly quickly. Here are some tips to help lessen the pain:
- Use pain-relief medications suitable for children to relieve your toddler of teething pain. Need pain medication caveat here
- Use an ice pack (or a bag of frozen vegetables) to massage your toddler’s jaw for very short periods (think seconds, not minutes).
- Give your toddler cold food to chew on such as frozen yogurt or popsicles.
- Try teething rings, kept in the refrigerator (many babies reject these however).
- Keep your toddler busy and distracted
- Consider homeopathic solutions like Hylands teething tablets.