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How Can I Make Teething Easier?

My 6-month-old son is teething and seems irritable all the time. What can I do to make teething easier for him?
- Alison

Although some babies find teething painless, others become cranky, have sore gums, and have disruptions in their usual sleeping and eating patterns. Often, teething babies have a desire to chew on things. Try giving your child something safe to chew on, like a rubber teething ring or a cold, wet washcloth.

Whatever object you choose, make sure it's not hard enough to bruise the gums and that it can't break into smaller pieces. Objects also should be big enough that babies can't get the whole thing in their mouths. You also can try rubbing your baby's gums with a clean finger. Some babies prefer cool foods when teething.

If your baby is still cranky, ask your doctor if it is OK to give a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for babies older than 6 months) to ease discomfort. If your baby has a fever, it's probably due to something other than teething and you should call your doctor.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013