Teething is an unavoidable stage of a baby’s development and while some babies appear to cope with the process better than others, teething can cause pain and discomfort. A baby’s first milk teeth begin to cut from around six months and the rest appear over the next two years. While it is distressing for a parent to see their child in pain, feeding a baby the right things can help to provide relief.
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Chilled fruit and vegetables
For older babies that have been weaned onto solid foods, chilled fruit and vegetables can help to relieve teething pain. Carrot sticks, celery and slices of apple are good choices as the cool food can help to numb the pain while biting down on the food can provide relief from the pressure caused by new teeth forcing their way through the gums. Younger babies who are in the early stages of weaning may find that cool yoghurt and fruit puree help to ease their discomfort. Solid foods should not be given to young babies. Older babies should be supervised while eating solid foods as they can be a choking hazard.
Hard, dry foods
Older infants can also be fed dry foods such as chewy crusts of bread or breadsticks to chew on and help to counteract the pressure that new teeth are putting on their gums. Although biscuits and rusks may seem a good idea, biscuits should be avoided due to their sugar content. Many rusks also contain sugar which can lead to tooth decay. Check the ingredients list for sugar before offering them to a young child.
Cool water can help to numb the pain caused by teething. If a baby is given water in a bottle, chewing the rubber teat can also help to ease teething pain. Water is the best option for young children as many other drinks, including fruit juices, contain sugar which can damage new teeth. Cold water can be given to teething babies of all ages.
When nothing else seems to relieve a baby’s pain, certain medicines may help. Sugar-free liquid forms of painkilling medicine containing paracetemol or ibuprofen can help with pain. These medicines are unsuitable for younger babies and it is important to check the correct dosage for a baby’s age before feeding them the medicine. Other medicinal remedies include gels that can be rubbed onto gums; these are unsuitable for breast-fed babies as they can cause the tongue to lose feeling, causing problems with their feeding technique.
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