How Teething is More Painful for a Toddler Than for a Baby

Few sights are sadder than your precious toddler teary-eyed, red-cheeked, miserable and refusing to eat. Teething is often more painful for a toddler than for a baby because the teeth she’s cutting are larger.

The first set of molars usually appear in the months after she turns 1, and the second set of molars around her second birthday. Her misery should be short-lived, but you can speed it along.

Feed Him

Biting down on something will relieve some of the pressure in his gums, and if that something is cold, it should numb the swollen gums a bit. Giving him hard, cold foods also alleviates hunger if he’s refusing to eat his normal foods because of the pain.

Freeze halved bananas and peach slices, and applesauce until it’s slushy. Buy freezable yogurt tubes or fruit pops for him to snack on. Teething toddlers also often enjoy cold toast or bagel pieces. Another idea is to try freezing juice in small ice cube trays and letting him munch on the cubes.

Let Her Bite

Biting other children and toys is a sign your toddler is teething. Rather than fighting this behavior, give her something else to chew on. A cold washcloth makes a quick and easy chew toy. If she’s sensitive to cold, soak it in cool water.

If she has problems with the texture, she might like it if you wrap some ice chunks in the cloth before giving it to her. Traditional teething rings work well, particularly the type that can be refrigerated or frozen again and again, though in a pinch, a clean toothbrush will often work just as well.

Massage His Gums

If you’re stuck in public without any supplies when teething pain strikes, look no further than your own hand. Massage his gums with a clean finger, applying just enough pressure to make him relax. At home, combine this massage with some snuggling to help him feel better faster. Cradle him in your arms and sing songs or turn on a favorite video as a special treat while you rub his gums.

Try Medications

If all else fails, a little medicine can ease her suffering. Talk to your pediatrician before administering anything. He might recommend some infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen to soothe the swelling and pain, or suggest you apply some topical medicine directly to the gums.

These topical solutions are generally available over the counter. Your doctor can also verify that her discomfort and refusal to eat are being caused by teething and not by any other condition that might require medical attention.

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