Massage Techniques for Teething
Teething is an expected and often greatly anticipated developmental event in the early days of a baby’s life. The symptoms related to this milestone often vary greatly from one child to the next. For some children, teething is simply defined by excessive drooling followed by the exciting arrival of their first tooth. On the contrary, other children suffer with pain accompanied by bright red cheeks and irritability that often creates a disruption in their sleep patterns and those of their parent’s. Massage techniques accompanied by the use of hydrotherapy can help to help to reduce pain and inflammation thus allowing everyone to rest easier.
Round and Round the Jaw Line – Outside
If you place your fingertips in front of your external auditory meatus (a.k.a. hole in the ear) while opening and closing your mouth, you will feel the movement of the temporalmandibular joint (TMJ). With gentle pressure, use your fingertips to perform small circles (direction doesn’t matter) around this jaw line. These strokes can help soothe the muscles that are used for sucking and may also relieve some of the discomfort of teething.
Round and Round the Jaw Line – Inside
Repeat this stroke on the inside of the mouth along the inner surface of the cheek and along all surfaces of the gum line of both the top and bottom jaw. This firm but gentle pressure will help to counteract the pain caused by the eruption of the tooth through the gum line.
Water to the Rescue
Introducing hydrotherapy in conjunction with massage can help to further decrease the symptoms of teething. The application of cold is very helpful to reduce both pain and inflammation.
Try this little teething trick to help soothe your baby
Take a baby’s terry washcloth and dip it into water. Wring out the cloth so that it remains damp. Wrap it around your index and middle finger to form a thimble like mold that can be placed in a secured sandwich bag and put into the freezer. Let this teething mold freeze and take it out of the freezer approximately 10 minutes before you want to use it, in order to avoid cutting the baby’s gums. Take your fingers and place them up into the mold. Using this mold as a massage tool, perform the small circles along the inside of the cheeks and gum line. The cold will help to reduce any inflammation, and the massage will help to soothe the pain.
Margaret Wallis-Duffy is a founder of Wallis For Wellness, a Registered Massage Therapist, Internationally Certified Infant Massage Instructor, speaker and a media personality.