Is My Baby Teething Or Is It Acid Reflux?

Posted by Kerry Nevins on

The first few months of a baby’s life are filled with smiles and excitement, but there are also many occasions filled with tears. Two of the most common causes of those tears are teething and acid reflux.

What is acid reflux?

Reflux in newborn babies is an ever-present occurrence after you feed them. At such an early age their oesophagus is not fully developed yet so it is common for some milk to come back up after they have swallowed it, also known as possetting. Acid reflux is a more uncomfortable and more serious form of this, which can lead to vomiting and weight loss. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting regularly especially after feeding
  • A persistent cough or wheezing
  • Refusal to eat or difficulty eating (your baby may gag when you feed them)
  • Heartburn, gas, abdominal pain, or colicky behaviour

Acid reflux symptoms normally start to appear anywhere from 3 months but are often gone by the time your baby turns 1 year old.

What is teething?

Teething is the process whereby teeth push their way up through a baby's gums. Most babies begin teething around 4 months old, although it can take longer than that for teeth to break through the gums. Teething symptoms include:

  •   Extreme discomfort, fussiness, and irritability.
  •   Drooling and putting things in their mouth.
  •   Nappy rash
  •   Hot temperature
  •   A nagging cough.

By the time your baby is 7 months old, they are likely to have at least one bottom tooth, with the top two teeth appearing shortly afterwards. Teething can last until a baby is 3 years old, by which time they should have all 20 of their primary teeth.

Can teething make acid reflux worse?

Unfortunately, teething can often occur while babies have symptoms of acid reflux. When reflux is combined with teething, there may be poor sleep, gagging, congestion, and an excessive amount of drooling. Some of the drool may be swallowed and cause an upset stomach, sour stomach, or more possetting.

The extra possetting and drooling can cause a rash to appear around the mouth, on the chin, and on the neck. Keeping a bib on, changing it often, washing and carefully drying the skin will help reduce the rash, which can appear to look very red and sore.

How can you help a baby that is teething and has acid reflux?

If your baby has acid reflux and is teething, it may be difficult to decide if they are uncomfortable because of just the reflux, the teething, or both. It is common for the doctor to recommend an over-the-counter pain relief medication, especially if your baby is suffering from a lack of sleep.

Keep in mind that pain relief medication may cause some stomach discomfort, so it is best to try some non-medical teething treatments first.

  •         Offer them something cold to chew on like a damp flannel.
  •         Rub their gums with a clean, cool finger.
  •         Try cold foods like yogurt if they are 6 months and older.
  •         Try a teething toy to chew on.

At Babocush we know all about how struggles with reflux in babies can seem very stressful and that is why our babocush cushion is designed to help.

The babocush helps prevent reflux and colic by holding your baby securely just like you do, on their tummy, and has the extra comfort of gentle vibrations and a heartbeat sound for added relaxation. This gives you both the chance to catch your breath because reflux is exhausting for both parent and baby.

Related blogs:

What is reflux in babies?

What to expect when your baby is teething

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