Ease Teething Pain Without Medication
While teething is a painful rite of passage for infants, it can also create a stressful environment for childcare providers. This especially holds true for those who aren’t allowed to administer over-the-counter medications, or choose not to assume the risk of medication for something as non-threatening as teething. Numbing agents like benzocaine are often used in commercial teething gels, and while they can eliminate infants’ discomfort, the numb sensation can easily spread to the rest of the mouth and throat. Throat numbness, in particular, can increase the chances of gagging and choking for small children, which is another reason childcare providers may want to eliminate these products from their medication stores.
Fortunately, there are methods which childcare providers can employ in order to reduce the stress of teething on their charges and themselves. It’s wise for childcare providers interested in addressing teething pain without medication to remember, however, that not all methods will be effective for each of their small clients. Each child is different, and likely to respond to some methods less favorably than their peers. In some cases, combining two or more of these techniques will be required for optimal results.
Choose Teething Rings with Care – Unless teething rings are brought in by a parent, it’s important for childcare providers to choose teething rings with care. Some rings may not be compliant with safety standards, or may contain the controversial chemical Bisphenal A, also known as BPA. Older offerings may also become uncomfortably rigid when they’re frozen, which is a common method of combating teething pain. Childcare providers are also encouraged to prevent the spread of illness and germs by adhering to health standards, and by preventing shared use of teething rings.
Gum Massage – One of the oldest and most time-tested methods of addressing teething pain without medication is a simple gum massage. While it can be quite effective in soothing a fussy, teething baby, childcare providers are urged to keep health and safety standards in mind. Gel sanitizers typically contain dyes, fragrances and other chemicals which shouldn’t be ingested. Plain soap and water are best, along accompanied by latex gloves.
Keep Gums Cool – Teething can cause babies to run a low-grade fever, and painful inflammation can often be soothed by cooling an infant’s gums. Using new teething rings which remain pliable after freezing can help, though childcare providers with several infants under their care are urged to thoroughly clean and sanitize all teething rings before freezing them, and after use.
Comforting and Soothing – Painful gum irritation can easily cause babies to become more irritable than usual. Often, the best course of action is to provide as much one-on-one time as possible for a teething infant. Holding and rocking a baby can help them to feel more secure during this stressful time, so childcare providers should make a point of providing this comfort to the best of their abilities.
Teething Biscuits – Another traditional method of chemical-free soothing during periods of teething is the teething biscuit. Many commercially-available teething biscuits contain high levels of sugar and chemical additives, but there are organic options with low sugar or none at all on the market.
Chilled Spoons – One medication-free way of helping to soothe teething babies is through the use of a chilled spoon. Because a spoon does not present a serious choking risk and can be significantly useful during teething, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends this method. While the choking risk is lower with a spoon, caregivers must still provide careful supervision when applying this method and should be sure a spoon is cold enough to provide comfort, but not so cold it could damage delicate gums. Spoons should not be frozen, but rather placed in a refrigerator to prevent excessively cold temperatures.
Clove oil is an all-natural teething remedy employed by some parents and caregivers, and while it can be effective when used properly, it can also increase discomfort and even be comfortable when application methods aren’t carefully evaluated. Dilution of clove oil with food-safe carrier oils is imperative, and it’s not always easy to find the right ratio. Because balancing the ratio can be a challenge, most professional caregivers will opt for other alternatives.
Increased drooling is a common symptom of teething, and the presence of excess saliva can irritate babies’ delicate skin. Caregivers can help to prevent this irritation by providing extra attention, keeping skin clean, dry and free of saliva to keep rashes at bay.