All babies drool occasionally, particularly when they are teething or when they have a cold. Most of the time, drooling is nothing to worry about, but occasionally it can indicate a serious health condition. If your baby is drooling, you can take steps to alleviate her discomfort and to prevent chapping of the delicate skin around her mouth. Report any worrisome symptoms in your baby to her pediatrician.
When your baby drools, saliva can chap and irritate his chin and cheeks. The area may look red, and he might cry when you wipe away the excess moisture. When he sleeps, his sheet may get wet and further irritate his tender skin. Use a soft cloth to wipe away the saliva frequently during the day. Place an absorbent pad under his sheet to help wick away moisture, and if he wakes up during the night, use the opportunity to change his sheet if necessary. Don't put anything on his skin that you do not want him to ingest, such as petroleum jelly.
Teething often causes drooling in babies, and may also cause considerable discomfort. If your baby is crying more than usual, drooling, and not eating or sleeping well, she may be experiencing painful teething. Place a teething ring or a wet washcloth in the refrigerator for an hour; then remove it and allow her to chew on it. Wash your hands, and then rub her gums; the pressure can relieve her pain temporarily. Ask her pediatrician whether you can give her an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Avoid teething ointments, which may not be effective and might cause throat numbness if swallowed.
Sore Throat Remedies
Your baby's drooling may stem from a sore throat. If his throat hurts, he might not want to swallow. Use a cool mist humidifier in his bedroom to help keep the air moist, as this can relieve a scratchy, dry throat. If your baby is over 6 months of age, offer him cold water or diluted juice between meals to keep his throat lubricated. If you are bottle feeding, offer him his formula cold to soothe his throat.
Going to the Doctor
If a fever accompanies your baby's drooling, do not assume that teething is the reason. If she has other symptoms -- such as a rash, a severe cough or extreme fussiness -- take her to the pediatrician and mention that she has been drooling as well. In some cases, drooling can indicate a serious health condition, such as poisoning or a bacterial infection. The pediatrician should evaluate drooling that does not have a clear cause -- such as a sore throat, a cold or teething -- to rule out serious illness.