Q: My 8 months baby is purging and I don’t know why whether it’s because of teething
A: Two key symptoms that are often associated with teething are fever and stooling.
It is thought that the inflammation of the gum around the area where the tooth will erupt from may cause low grade fever which is why the babies may experience some fever.
There’s no conclusive research that has shown any link between the process of erupting a tooth and diarrhoea. If anything, it has been found that this is the same period when children start picking up things and of course the natural ‘tourist’ destination for anything they pick up, is their mouths! 😀 What happens? When they pick up dirty stuff and suck on it, it would ultimately lead to diarrhoea. Others think that the excessive saliva produced at this time, end up in the intestines and lead to loose stools. Whatever the cause, more than ever, this is a time to be watchful and ensure that the children are not stuff their mouths with rubbish and ensure their toys are cleaned.
Having said that, how can I help my baby through teething what with the itch and discomfort they feel around the ‘erupting tooth’ area? Even the drooling? Well, here are a few things you could do:
Rub over the teething area with your finger (thoroughly scrubbed and clean, of course :D) or use a finger covered with clean gauze or even the baby’s wash cloth. If this is cool to touch, this is even better. Massage the teething area with this…it helps to soothe the discomfort.
Teething rings are great ideas too and you could also refrigerate these to provide more comfort. Please do not freeze them.
Clean off the drooling saliva as this could cause irritation around the baby’s mouth, worsening his crankiness.
Over the counter analgesics like paracetamol could also be helpful provided it’s given in the appropriate dose for the baby’s age. This will also help with the fever. Please avoid Aspirin as it causes a disease called Reye’s syndrome.
Several studies have been conducted on the efficacy of gripe water though it is liberally used by parents and doctors alike, and it has not really been found to be particularly useful in teething. Older formulae contained alcohol, which were thought to be perhaps, responsible for the soothing effect it had. Other components like the herbs etc may not go down well with all children.
If fever continues, please take the baby to see the doctor to rule out other causes of fever. Dehydration is the more critical issue. If your baby is still stooling, fluid needs to be replaced. Please take him in to see his doctor to determine if the fluid loss is serious enough to warrant replacement. In the meantime, keep breastfeeding.
So, there you go!