The first months of a baby's life are filled with smiles and joy, but they're also filled with plenty of tears. There are many reasons why babies cry, but two of the most common causes of suffering in infants are teething and acid reflux. While every baby experiences teething pains, acid reflux is less common; however, for babies, it can be just as painful.
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Teething is the process of teeth pushing their way through a baby's gums. Most babies begin teething around 4 months, though it may take far longer than that for teeth to break through. By the time your baby is 7 months old, he's likely to have at least one of his bottom teeth, with his top two teeth appearing shortly afterward. Teething can last until a baby is 3 years old, by which time he should have all 20 of his primary teeth.
The main symptoms for teething are extreme discomfort, fussiness and irritability. You may also notice your baby drooling and putting things in her mouth. These are all obvious signs of teething. Some of the more subtle teething symptoms include diaper rash, low-grade fevers and a nagging cough. Babies may experience these symptoms for a long time before any teeth arrive, so keep your eyes peeled and be patient; eventually, her teeth will come.
While teething is one of the most painful experiences a child can endure, there are measures you can take to ease his suffering. Cool surfaces, such as teething rings and wet washcloths, can be very effective in treating teething symptoms. Products such as Baby Orajel may also be able to provide relief to your baby's gums. If all else fails, you can try giving your baby an acetaminophen like Infant Tylenol. These treatments, while helpful, can only provide temporary relief of teething; the only real end to teething comes when your baby has all of his teeth.
Acid Reflux Basics
Gastroesophegal reflux disease, more commonly known as GER, GERD or acid reflux, is an ailment that afflicts one out of every four babies. Acid reflux attacks a baby's stomach, causing her to spit up or vomit her food. Acid reflux symptoms usually start to appear in the first three months of a baby's life and are often gone by the time she's a year old.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
Acid reflux affects babies in many ways, but the most common signs that your baby could be suffering from acid reflux are frequent spit-up or projectile vomiting after a feeding. These are signs that your baby is having trouble handling the amount, frequency or consistency of his feedings. More severe symptoms of acid reflux include severe stomach pain that can cause your baby to become extremely fussy and resist your attempts to feed him. Some doctors believe that colic is a symptom of acid reflux, but this has not been clinically proven or refuted.
Acid Reflux Treatment
There are many ways to treat acid reflux. Common methods include switching to a more digestible formula, such as Enfamil Gentlease or Similac Sensitive, and using a bottle like Dr. Brown's that is capable of reducing gas in infants. You can also try burping your baby at more frequent intervals during feedings or positioning her on her side while she's sleeping. If these measures don't work, your baby's pediatrician can prescribe a medication, such as Axid, that can fight the stomach pains caused by acid reflux.