For breastfeeding mothers, developmental changes in an infant to be an exciting, and yet, anxious filled time. During the first few years of a child’s life, child development progresses at an astronomical rate. One such child development issue, often a frustration to a breastfeeding mother, is the period in which the child begins teething. As a breastfeeding mother, understanding the teething process, the signs of teething and the home remedies for pain relief in the infant, will provide for a more pleasant transition through this child development period for both you and your infant.
At about three months of age, children begin to develop what we know as a drooling pattern; a period when saliva is produced more excessively than before. It is during this period that baby begins to experience gum line development and, as a result, moves lips and tongue more frequently, developing the drooling effect. However, with drooling, some breastfeeding mothers begin to notice an increase in health concerns as the child may develop more frequent coughing and redness around the chin area often making the breastfeeding process difficult. Most oftentimes, coughing is simply attributed to the excessive saliva production while the chin redness is a result of excess saliva falling onto the child’s chin or from excessive wiping away of the saliva. When the child begins to drool, providing regular hygiene, in cleaning the area with a clean cotton cloth, with work to ensure less risk for skin irritation and may decrease the incidence of coughing.
In addition to drooling, may infants, especially as the teeth begin to make their way through the gum line, will become extremely irritable. Irritability, in an infant, is usually attributed to pain factors for which the infant is not accustomed, In addition o irritability, during teething, the infant’s sleep patterns will be disturbed. With teething generally beginning around six months of age, the disturbance in child behavior and sleep patterns may extend well past the child’s first birthday.
When the infant’s symptoms appear to be attributed to teething, a breastfeeding mother is provided with a variety of options in an effort to relief teething pain. First, and foremost, consider using an over the counter acetaminophen product such as Tylenol as this will provide adequate pain relief. In addition to oral administration of pain relief, parents may also consider the topical use of gum gels at night when the child is sleeping and use teething rings during the day as the child is awake and playing; all three of these home remedy products can be purchased through a local discount drugstore. Teething rings serve a dual purpose in providing pressure relief from the teething process while also assisting the infant’s gums in the natural breakdown required to allow the new teeth to pass. In fact, some breastfeeding mothers report that freezing the teething ring may provide even better pain relief than topical gel as the coolness of the teething ring will relief swelling in the infant’s gum line.
As with any child development process, mothers of infants who are breastfeeding should pay particularly close attention to the teething process; not only for mother’s health but also for the infant’s health. As with any teething or child development process, when in doubt as to the symptoms and cause, consult a pediatrician.