Tips to relieve teething discomfort

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Some babies breeze through teething with barely a whimper, while others will make sure you know they’re uncomfortable.

We got this question from a viewer:

Dear Dr. Manny,
My 6-month-old daughter— who is usually a great sleeper— has been waking up several times a night crying and is just generally cranky all of a sudden. I think she is teething. What can I do to help soother her discomfort?

Well, Tara, you may be right. Most babies start teething between four and seven months. Signs can include:

- Excessive drooling

- Chewing on solid objects

- Irritability or crankiness

- Tender, swollen gums

- Night waking

- Ear pulling

It’s important you keep a close eye on your baby because some of the signs of teething can actually be symptoms of illness.

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But, if she is about to cut her first tooth, there are things you can do to help ease the pain:

- Offer teething toys or a clean, wet washcloth to provide counterpressure on the gums.

- Rub baby’s gums using a clean finger or moistened gauze.

- Try giving her cold water in a bottle or cold food in a mesh feeder is she’s six months or older.

- Dry off excess drool that can cause skin irritation.

- If all else fails, you can try giving her acetaminophen, but only after you’ve talked to her doctor.

Avoid using any numbing agents which have been shown to put children under the age of 2 at risk for reduced oxygen in the blood and always talk to your child’s doctor before trying any home remedies.