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On Call: Rx for Sore Gums

Q. A friend suggested putting a slice of frozen banana into a mesh baby feeder to ease my baby's teething pain. Will this really work?

A. Sure! A friend recently introduced me to mesh feeders, and I plan to try one once my new baby starts teething. You can fill them with essentially any fruit or other food that's soft enough to seep through the mesh and that your baby's tried enough times to tell he's not allergic to it. He can suck and suck on the mesh, and he won't get a piece of food big enough to choke on. (There's a plastic piece, usually a teething ring, that fits over the mesh; make sure it's attached tightly so your baby can't pull out chunks of food.)

Letting him chew on frozen banana is a good idea, because cold things are soothing to sore gums. If you don't have a feeder, try:

  • A cool washcloth or a teething toy that's been chilled in the refrigerator.
  • Acetaminophen (check with your pediatrician for the right dose).
  • Topical numbing treatments for his gums, like Orajel."