Teething with reflux is stressful! The crying, sleepless nights, biting, grinding teeth!. It can be a hard time for parent and baby. This is a complete guide to the symptoms, stages and different ways to soothe your teething baby including hacks I have used with my reflux baby.
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What are the symptoms of teething?
The teething symptoms are different for every baby, this is a guide to some of the common ones I have experienced with a reflux baby and a non-reflux baby:
- Swollen gums that look like they are bulging out
- See a tooth beneath the gum
- Lots of dribbling
- Irritable – seem like they are crying for no reason
- Bite, chew, grind their gums/teeth together
- Have red cheeks
- Rub their face or pull their ear
- Find it hard to sleep
- Wake up more frequently
- Refuse to eat
The NHS say there is no evidence to show that diarrhea and nappy rash are a symptom of teething. I have found that both of my children have had loose stools and nappy rash while they have a tooth coming through. This could be because they are always chewing something or because they are very dribbly.
Does teething make reflux worse?
I have found that when my daughter is teething her reflux is always much worse. The excess saliva seems to upset her tummy and all her reflux symptoms come back or worsen. Normally her reflux symptoms are under control, but when she is cutting a new tooth she vomits more frequently, has explosive nappies, gags and chokes and refuses her feeds.
I have noticed that any change from her normal routine can trigger her reflux. When she is unwell, has vaccinations, is teething or trying some new foods. I have found the best thing to do is to keep to her normal routine as much as possible. If she is in a lot of pain I will offer her infant paracetamol. I avoid ibuprofen as this can upset her stomach and make her reflux worse. If she doesn’t want to eat I use the hacks below to make sure she has some nutrition. I remind myself that this is a phase that will pass and just try to offer her as much comfort as I can.
What are the stages of teething?
Most babies start teething around 6 months, but it is also normal to start earlier or not to start until they are 12 months. This is a general guide to when they appear, but all babies are different and they can come at different times or in a different order.
Bottom front teeth: 5-7 months
Top front teeth: 6-8 months
Top lateral incisors either side of front teeth: 9-11months
Bottom lateral incisors either side of front teeth: 10-12 months
First set of back teeth: 12-16 months
Canine teeth near the back: 16-20 months
Second set of back teeth: 20-30 months
21 Teething Hacks and Products
1. Cold or frozen food
Give them cold food from the fridge or freezer to soothe their gums. Yoghurt is always a good one to try and you can also make your own pouches so baby can feed themselves.
2. Freeze breastmilk
This gives them the nutrition from your milk while soothing their sore gums. Try making breast milk lollies using the Nuby fruitsicle frozen pop tray.
3. Use an infant feeder
Try putting cold fruit in this for them to suck on. My daughter loves apple in hers and will suck on it for ages. I don’t use the mesh feeders as I find them hard to clean. We use the Naturebond silicone feeder as I can put it in the sterilizer and it has different size teats, so it has grown with her and lasted longer.
4. Teething biscuits
You can buy teething biscuits or make your own. I have to make my own dairy-free and soy-free teething biscuits, but this gives them something hard to bite down on which can offer them some relief.
5. Soft foods or purees
If your baby doesn’t like to bite try them with mushy foods like mashed potato or vegetables or purees. I used a Steamer and Blender to make purees. It is useful to make your own because you can change the texture and flavours to suit your baby. You can also make your own pouches so baby can feed themselves.
6. Infant paracetamol
Infant paracetamol or ibuprofen at bedtime can give them some relief from the pain. This can give them and you a few hours sleep.
Offer a breastfeed if you can as this can offer them some comfort. An alternative to this is to offer them a dummy as the sucking can soothe them.
Keep them to their usual bedtime or nap time routine as much as possible as this will show them that it is time to sleep.
9. Teething Gel
Bonjela and anbesol have both worked really well to soothe baby gums.
10. Keep them busy
Distract them when you can. Give them their favorite toy, play a game, sing to them, play music – whatever takes their mind off their teeth.
11. Wear a dribble bib
This will stop their clothes from being wet with dribble which saves time doing more washing. You can also use the bib to wipe the dribble off the chin to stop it getting sore.
12. Use a barrier cream
If they suffer from nappy rash use a barrier cream at every nappy change. I have always found Bepanthen cream really good at preventing nappy rash.
13. Treat nappy rash quickly
If they do get a nappy rash I use Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment. This stuff is amazing, I put it on at night and by the next morning, the rash is so much better or usually completely gone.
14. Use a good teether
Both my children have loved chewing on Sophie the giraffe. So much that I had to buy a strap for her so we could take her everywhere and not lose her.
15. Keep teeth and gums clean
The banana teether is good because it gives them something safe to chew and it cleans their teeth.
16. Freeze a muslin
Wet the corners of a muslin or clean washcloth and place it in the freezer. Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw slightly before you let baby chew on the cold corners.
17. Teething mitten
Another one to try is a teething mitten. Baby can chew on the silicone which has little bumps on it. This can be something to soothe the pain and offer them some comfort.
18. Chew a soft spoon
Let them chew on a baby spoon. My daughter loves the silicone Munchkin soft-tip spoons, which come in a set so there is always a clean one now she is into throwing things.
19. Teething powder
Teething powders like Ashton & Parsons worked well with my son. My daughter can’t use them because they contain milk.
20. Cold teether
Both of my babies loved these icy teething keys. I would keep them in the fridge until they needed them so they were always ready to go. they also make a good toy to keep in your handbag.
21. Silicone teething necklace
This gives them something soft to chew on. I’ve not used one of these but we do have a silicone dummy strap that my daughter loves chewing on. They are also really easy to keep clean because they are made of silicone.