How Typically, Dose, When to Give

You’ve heard that teething is bad, but is it really so? Can’t you just give a baby a teether or cold washcloth and move on?

Well – not always. Sometimes toothaches are so bad that they warrant medical relief – and Tylenol is often considered the first choice because it is generally safe for young babies.

However, since teething can take a long time (read: months and months), you cannot infuse your child with Tylenol 24/7. Learn about when to give it to your baby, how to use it safely, and how it can hold up against other pain relief options.

You may not remember what it felt like when your 6 year old molars or wisdom teeth came in, but be assured: yes, teething is uncomfortable!

To be clear, it might not cause “pain” in the traditional definition of the word. Some experts believe that teething creates a dull, sore, or possibly even itchy sensation – which is why babies chew and gnaw to soothe their irritated gums during their worst teething attacks.

Some babies are barely affected by teething, while others appear to be more acutely affected. In either case, it’s reasonable to assume that your baby will notice something in their mouth – and may not like the feeling.

Since babies cannot tell you how they are feeling, it can be difficult to know if or when they are in pain. Some common symptoms that your baby may be uncomfortable with include:

  • unusual excitement or irritability
  • extreme attachment (i.e. not wanting to be knocked down)
  • Difficulty sleeping while napping or before bed
  • pulling on their ears

Also, especially for teething troubles, you may find that your baby is drooling more – hello, 10 bibs a day! – along with sore or swollen gums and a desire to chew everything within reach.

Some parents believe that teething can cause a fever, but that’s not entirely true: while teething can raise your child’s body temperature by a smidge, it shouldn’t cause a real fever as it can with illness.

Officially, the manufacturers of Tylenol advise parents to speak to doctors about treating children under 2 years of age. We agree – but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), if they are older than 3 months, you can use your child’s weight to determine the correct dosage.

Since teething usually begins between 4 and 6 months, you can safely give teething Tylenol.

You can – and should! – Always talk to a doctor about the correct dosage for your baby’s weight if they are younger than 2 years. These are the general weight dosage recommendations that can be used as a starting point when talking to a doctor.

  • Regardless of whether you buy infant or toddler formula, liquid medication or tablets, every pediatric Tylenol now contains the same strength of medication per dose: 160 milligrams. This standardization simplifies the dosage. For liquid medication that you are likely to give your baby, this equates to 5 milliliters (ml).
  • For infants between 6 and 11 pounds, the typical dosage according to the AAP is 1.25 ml. The dose increases from there by about 1.25 ml for every 5 pounds of weight.
  • Older babies may be able to take a chewable or dissolvable tablet, but this is child dependent. You can give liquid medication to your child at any age.
  • You can give your child a new dose every 4 to 6 hours as needed, but you should not give them more than 5 doses per AAP in a 24 hour period.
  • It may be better to use Tylenol for teething relief at night or before long naps to help distract your child from their discomfort. During the day, you can try relying on teething rings to distract them from the pain. Talk to your pediatrician about giving your child a dose 1 hour before bed so that they can take full effect before bed or at lunchtime.
  • Remember to always use the meter that came with your box of Tylenol. You are guaranteed to receive an accurate amount of medication. Other devices may not be standardized to the Tylenol metering system.

For babies older than 6 months, Motrin is also an option for toothache relief. Tylenol is often recommended as a first line of defense because you can give it to younger babies and Motrin can cause stomach upset in some children.

Tylenol may be better tolerated by your child, but there is no significant difference in how effective the two medicines are for treating toothache. It just depends on your baby’s age and how well they react to the active ingredient.

Wondering what to do instead of giving your baby another dose of Tylenol to make them feel better? There are a few good teething troubles at home like:

  • offers them bite toys
  • Let them chew on a cold washcloth or baby toothbrush
  • Give them cool, soft foods to eat, such as fruit puree in a mesh feeder (if they are eating solids).

You can use these home remedies as often as needed, especially if you are using less Tylenol to relieve toothache. However, you should avoid the following remedies to treat your baby’s discomfort as pediatricians do not consider these to be safe options:

The good news is that you can treat toothache at home with a combination of natural remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) infant pain relievers after consulting a doctor about dosage. Teething does not usually require a pediatrician appointment.

Of course, you can ask your doctor for advice if you:

  • You find it difficult to deal with your child’s teething
  • feel that they often need Tylenol pain relief
  • I wonder what you can do to help

It is also possible that something else happens besides teething. If your child seems heartbroken, it is wise to report to the pediatrician.

Tylenol at 160 ml per dose is generally considered safe to administer to babies older than 3 months every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The correct dosage depends on your child’s weight. Therefore, be sure to ask your doctor for dosage recommendations.

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