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Your seemingly sweet angel suddenly gets cranky and irritable, is drooling worse than a basset hound and is chewing on everything that she can get her hands on—including her fingers. These signs, which typically start somewhere between 4 and 7 months of age, indicate that your baby is teething. Tricks to ease teething pain can help both of you through this tearful time.
Soothe With a Massage
Think about how a gentle massage can soothe your achy muscles. Even though your baby's gums aren't exactly muscles, rubbing his gums can provide some relief from teething pain. Use one clean finger to lightly massage your child's gums, suggests the American Dental Association. If you have hygiene concerns or worry that your finger isn't soft enough for your baby's sensitive mouth, wrap it in a fresh piece of sterile gauze.
Spoonful of Help
A cool—not freezing cold—spoon is a simple trick that you can solve your baby's pain, according to the ADA. Chill an infant-sized spoon in the fridge for a few minutes or run it under cool water. Don't freeze the spoon. This may make it too cold for your child or cause damage to her sensitive gums. Lightly rub the cool spoon along her gums. Opt for an infant spoon that is made from a soft material, instead of using a hard metal one. Your baby may want to chew on the spoon, making a softer option more comfortable.
Teething rings and other similar "toys" can provide your little one with comfort from mouth and gum pain. You can pop a water-filled ring into the freezer, and then let it thaw to a mushy consistency. The hard surface of a fully frozen water-filled teether may hurt your baby's delicate gums and make matters worse, HealthyChildren.org warns. Choose a ring that is made from thick rubber, inspecting it often for punctures or damage.
A washcloth offers much more than the ability to keep your baby clean. If you don't have a teether on hand, a cool washcloth makes an acceptable substitute. Let your infant chew on the chilly cloth to reduce his teething pain, the Baby Center website suggests. Run the washcloth under cool, not freezing cold, water. Don't stash the cloth in the freezer, as this may make it too hard or create sharp edges that can pierce or irritate your baby's gums. Check the cloth often, to make sure that there are no tears or snags in it. Supervise your baby when trying this trick. Never allow him to shove the entire cloth in his mouth at once or to push it down his throat, as these can create serious chocking hazards. One way to reduce this risk is to hold on to part of the cloth yourself, only giving him enough to fit between his gums.