Is your little one preparing for the arrival of some adorable teeth?  Dr. Jessica Long has tips to get both of you through this trying time!

I always love seeing babies for their four month well checks – they are smiley and interactive but not yet scared of coming to see the pediatrician. They are also drool monsters with a continuous thread of saliva running down their chin and many are sporting adorable bibs to catch the never ending flow of spit.  This excessive drooling is a normal sign of the sweet little teeth that will pop up in the next few months.  Now that my youngest has hit this phase as well I am reminded of all the tricks of the trade to help your baby deal with the discomfort of teething.

Around 4-6 months of age it is normal for your little one to put everything in her mouth to gnaw on and sometimes be a bit cranky.  These are signs of teething and, while they can’t be entirely prevented, there are certainly things you can do to help ease the discomfort.  Thankfully a handy tool is always available – your finger!  With a clean finger you can massage your baby’s gums or just let her chomp on your finger with her gums (keep away from any teeth that have already popped through!).

Cold temperature is also comforting so offer a cool washcloth or chilled (not frozen) teething ring. If your child has started solids, you can put a piece of frozen fruit in a mesh or silicone food feeder, which lets him enjoy the coolness and firmness of the fruit on his gums without worrying about choking.

When all else fails, it is safe to use pain medicine to help alleviate the achiness.  Babies under 6 months of age can be given acetaminophen (Tylenol) and those over 6 months old can also try ibuprofen (Motrin).  These medications can be especially helpful if your baby is having a hard time falling or staying asleep due to teething discomfort.  Though there are a variety of other medications available over the counter for teething, avoid any with benzocaine or lidocaine which can be harmful – even fatal – to your baby.

Now what to do about the constant drool?  Keep a clean dry cloth handy for frequent face wiping.  Since all of that saliva can be irritating to your child’s skin, he might enjoy having a moisturizer rubbed onto his cheeks and chin to protect from the onslaught of drool.  Hacks for magically cleaning all this drool laundry without taking up your entire day are outside of my scope of expertise and I would in fact appreciate help in that department!