First time moms may feel a little overwhelmed when their baby suddenly becomes fussy. They cry, they refuse food, or they may ask for a bottle and then spit it out.
These symptoms may indicate that your baby is starting on the long and uncomfortable road of teething. While you should always tell your doctor about any concerns (that’s what doctors are for!) this article may help alleviate some of your fears—and understand what your baby is going through.
One of the telltale signs of teething is a slight fever and a lot of fussiness! You may notice that your typically sunny-tempered child becomes whiny and irritable. He doesn’t really feel like playing and even his favorite rituals, like taking a bath or a stroll around the block, can’t dispel his grumpy mood. But just to be sure that it’s not a viral or bacterial infection, check your baby’s gums. If he is teething then the gums will be reddish and swollen.
Teething babies also drool…a lot! You’ll find yourself wiping his face and neck a lot more often. It’s best to use a damp wash cloth instead of diaper wipes—you’ll be cleaning him up so often that the alcohol and chemicals in the wipes could irritate his skin. It’s actually quite common for babies to develop some rashes in the neck and under the mouth, because of the excessive saliva. If the rashes seem to add to the discomfort, ask your doctor for a topical ointment.
Another sign that your baby is teething is that he doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite. He may ask for milk or food but then stop in the middle of his bottle or meal and cry.
Other babies find relief when they eat or chew and their mood will significantly pick up while nibbling on a biscuit or a piece of fruit. This may be a sign that the gums are uncomfortable or itchy. The good news is that you can offer a frozen banana or popsicle, which will numb the gums and provide instant relief (read more tips on how to soothe a teething baby).
The discomfort will also disrupt your child’s sleeping habits. He may have a hard time settling down for a nap (especially if he is used to taking a bottle or feed right before) and may suddenly start crying in the middle of the night. To ease his pain, read our tips on how to soothe a teething baby.
Photo from metroparent.com