You’re finally in bed for the night and your baby begins to cry… again. You jump out of bed to nurse him and as you pick him up, you spot red patches on his face and neck.
What are they?
Teething is a difficult time for babies and parents. It’s when your little one’s teeth begin to form and erupt through the gums, which causes discomfort like swollen gums, mouth pain and drooling. Besides these ailments, teething can also cause a teething rash.
What’s a teething rash?
Also known as a drool rash, a teething rash can form during the teething process mainly because of excess drool. Your baby is likely to drool a lot for the first two years of his life. A teething rash starts when the saliva from drooling begins to irritate your baby’s skin. This happens because the digestive enzymes which help your baby digest food encounter the skin. The frequent rubbing on your baby’s skin from clothing, playing and even hugging, can worsen the condition.
As a result, your baby breaks out in a persistent rash on his chin, cheeks, neck and chest. Dr Roy Benaroch, an American paediatrician and author of Solving Health and Behavioural Problems from Birth through Preschool, says that the rash looks like red splotches with tiny raised bumps. It may even smell. It can look like other skin conditions like eczema, depending on where it develops.Other symptoms of a teething rash include increased chewing on objects like toys, having chapped skin and crying or fussing more than usual.
Treatment and prevention
Once you’ve identified that your baby has a teething rash, you can treat it at home. According to Dr Tanya Altmaan, a paediatrician and parenting author, apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly or Aquaphor to protect your little one’s skin from further irritation. Always use a mild, unscented soap when washing your baby, followed by unscented moisturiser on the dry areas.
Prevent a teething rash:
- Keep cloths handy for wiping up drool.
- Gently dab your baby’s skin dry to prevent drool from irritating his skin.
- Use bibs to protect your baby’s skin from drool. Drool can seep through a baby’s clothes, so change the bib frequently.
- Make your baby comfortable
- If your baby has a rash breakout along with his teething, give him something cold to chew on. A damp washcloth or cold teething ring should work. This helps soothe gums and the rash. No frozen items!
- Sometimes, changing your baby’s bib isn’t enough. Keep extra outfits nearby to get him out of damp clothes as soon as possible.
- Place a towel or cloth nappy under the sheet by his face when he sleeps.
- Soothe your baby with extra cuddles and pay attention to his symptoms in case they worsen.
Good to know
See your baby’s doctor if the teething rash suddenly becomes worse; for example, if his skin starts to crack or bleed. A fever is also a warning sign, particularly if your baby is under six months old. If this happens, get to your doctor immediately.