baby teeth

Teething Tips for Parents

February 14, 2024 InfantGeneral /Family

Teething is a natural process that babies go through, and it can be a challenging time for both babies and parents.

Every baby is different, so there is no set time for when teething will happen. Some babies may start teething as early as 4 months, while others may not have any teeth by their first birthday. Typically, teething occurs between 6-12 months of age.

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One of the first signs of teething is increased saliva or drooling, which can begin around 3 months. Keep some bibs handy to manage the drool. The teething process itself can take several months, so it requires patience. Most babies usually get their two front bottom teeth first, but if your baby gets a different tooth first, there’s no need to worry. Every baby’s teething pattern is unique.

There are various things you can do to help your baby during teething. Allowing them to explore their mouth by chewing on their hands, feet, or different textures can provide relief. Look for lightweight, textured teething toys or fabric items like washcloths. Since every baby has different preferences, having a variety of options available is a good idea. Some babies may enjoy cold items, but avoid using frozen teethers as they can be too cold for their gums. Massaging their gums with a damp washcloth, a silicone finger brush, or your clean finger can also help alleviate discomfort.

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baby chewing on fingers
baby chewing toys

you may have come across teething necklaces or bracelets made of silicone, amber, marble, or wood. however, despite their popularity on social media, these can pose serious safety hazards such as choking or strangulation. it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if your baby is teething or if they are sick.

Teething does not typically cause high fevers, so if your baby has a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s important to consider other possible causes and consult your baby’s healthcare provider. While teething may cause changes in stool consistency (sometimes called “teething diapers”), watery diarrhea or vomiting are not caused by teething and may indicate illness. When in doubt, always reach out to your baby’s healthcare provider for guidance and reassurance.

mom baby meeting with doctor

Avoid using numbing gels and creams that are applied to the gums, as they don’t provide long-lasting relief due to excessive drooling. They can also numb the back of the throat and interfere with the gag reflex, posing risks. Teething tablets containing belladonna are also not recommended. Instead, if your baby experiences pain or has a low-grade fever, consult your child’s healthcare provider about using acetaminophen or ibuprofen, depending on their age.

Once your baby’s first tooth emerges, it’s time to start a dental care routine. Brush their teeth twice a day, every day. In the beginning, you can use a small children’s toothbrush or a silicone finger brush with water, and you don’t need to use toothpaste right away. Schedule a dentist appointment after their first tooth appears or when they turn 1, whichever comes first. Regular dental check-ups every six months are important to maintain oral health.

It’s essential to know that baby teeth are susceptible to decay. To prevent tooth decay, avoid giving your baby a bottle in their crib for naps or overnight, and refrain from giving them sugary drinks or candy. If you have any specific questions about teething, don’t hesitate to reach out to WIC or your baby’s healthcare provider or dentist.

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Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: