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Teething Pain

Every new parent discovers that when a baby is teething they can be miserable and this can upset the whole household. There are several ways to ease your baby’s teething pain, and help to calm and settle them.

Your baby will start getting their first teeth at around 6 months. The lower (bottom) front teeth usually come through the gum first. These are followed by the upper (top) front teeth.

Many babies' teeth come through without any problems, but for some the gums swell and become sore as teeth break through. Your teething baby may cry, have a slight fever, have red cheeks, drool, not eat or sleep well and want to bite something hard.

Teething doesn't make babies sick.
If your baby has a lot of pain, bleeding or pus in their gums or swelling in the mouth or face, get help from a doctor, your Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse,  or call Healthline (0800 611 116).

If your baby is upset, gently rub their gums with a clean finger or the back of a cold spoon. You can also wrap ice cubes in a wash cloth and place the cloth on your baby's cheek.

Give your baby something to chew on, such as a clean teething ring.

Watch this video for advice on a number of ways to relieve your baby’s teething pain:

if needed you can give your baby liquid paracetamol (Pamol) to control pain. Weigh your baby and check the dosage information on the package. Give them the correct dose based on their weight and don't exceed 4 doses in 24 hours. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you're unsure how much to give your baby.

Teething gels such as Bonjela can be bought over the counter at your pharmacy. They contain a mild anaesthetic to help ease pain. Follow instructions and avoid overuse.

WARNING: Safe use of Bonjela – using too much can harm your baby

If using a teething gel such as Bonjela, follow the directions on the package or ask your pharmacist. In New Zealand, Bonjela teething gel contains a mild pain reliever called choline salicylate – this can be very harmful to your baby if too much is given.

Check the age restriction: this is either on the package or ask your pharmacist, eg, should not be used in children aged less than 4 months old.

Do not exceed the recommended dose: follow the dosing instructions on the packaging or ask your pharmacist about how to use the gel correctly. The dose for Bonjela is to rub a small quantity of gel (a pea-sized amount, or cover the tip of your index finger) to the affected area no more than every 3 hours and do not use it more than 6 times in 24 hours. You can overdose your baby by applying too much gel or using it too often.

Keep all medicines out of sight and reach of children

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