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Serena Williams asks fans for help over baby's teething

Serena Williams at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne in June 2011 Image copyright PA
Image caption Hopefully the champ won't be defeated by this latest challenge

Tennis champion Serena Williams may be facing her biggest challenge yet, as she has turned to social media to ask followers for advice on how to soothe her teething baby.

"Teething - aka the devil - is so hard," she told them.

She said she had tried amber beads, cold towels and letting her daughter chew on her fingers - adding she held her until she fell asleep.

Her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, was born on 1 September.

Serena's followers had various pieces of advice to offer: many recommended using teething rings or letting the baby chew on toys or frozen fruit or ice cubes (placed in a mesh feeder or wrapped in muslin). They also suggested using teething biscuits or teething gels.

Others mentioned letting the baby chew on the end of blankets or pillow cases, or giving the baby age-appropriate painkillers, or teething granules.

There were suggestions of using breast milk popsicles if she was still breastfeeding, or breastfeeding generally as a way to soothe her baby.

Some suggested using cold cloves tea, or clove oil, to rub on the baby's gums, and others recalled the old advice of rubbing brandy on the baby's gums. One mentioned her grandmother used a drumstick chicken bone stripped and boiled in broth.

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They offered words of encouragement, saying teething bouts do not normally last for too long.

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One of the signs a baby is teething is that they start to chew on their fingers, toys or other objects they get hold of.

Most babies start teething at around six months, although some babies are born with their first teeth, while others start teething before they are four months old and some after 12 months, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) says.

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NHS advice on helping babies with teething

  • Teething rings: Teething rings give a baby something to chew safely. It may ease discomfort and distract them from any pain. Some teething rings can be cooled first in the fridge, which may help to soothe the baby's gums.
  • Teething gels: The gel, which is rubbed on the baby's gums, contain a mild local anaesthetic, which helps to numb any pain or discomfort.
  • If your baby is six months or older, they can be given healthy foods to chew on, such as raw fruit and vegetables. Pieces of apple or carrot are ideal. You could also try giving your baby a crust of bread or a breadstick. Always stay close when your baby is eating in case they choke. Avoid rusks as nearly all brands contain some sugar.
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen: If your baby is in pain or has a mild raised temperature (less than 38C or 100.4F), you may want to give them a sugar-free painkilling medicine that is specifically for babies and young children.
  • Comforting your baby: Comforting or playing with your baby can distract them from any pain in their gums.

Tips for helping your teething baby

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