Congratulations! Your baby is finally teething- a good sign she’s growing up.
But also get ready for the horror teething can bring to both the baby and your family.
Hell hath no fury like a teething baby, which is why baby teethers, teething gels, and teething necklaces sell so well. This was the worst stage for my friends and I, as it also causes drooling, chapped faces and sometimes a runny tummy.
Teething can be your worst nightmare as a parent especially when it's your first experience. But, even as you reproduce more bundles, it doesn't get any better.
While some babies won’t make a fuss about teething, many are more likely to drool and howl in pain.
Hopefully, they all outlive the experience before they are six. But I still think it’s a long wait.
Let me tell you what I know about teething
One day, you have a little pumpkin that is happy. As long as you feed and cuddle her enough, you don't have a problem. You think you’ve finally got things under control.
The baby looks sweet and cries very little. You don't need to sing so many choruses like before. Things can't seem to get better. So wonderful...the joy of motherhood!
Then all of a sudden, the sweet, happy bundle suddenly just turns into an angry wailing pumpkin that cries uncontrollably. You have to carry her all the time, sing more, shush more and probably swaddle more.
But it seems you have to do more to stop all the howling and slobbering.
Teething is a huge milestone not only for babies but also for parents. The incessant drooling resulting from sore gums and the new protruding teeth can cause as much pain for the baby as it's hard on the parents, especially mothers.
When babies or toddlers are in pain, it's hard for them to get a good sleep. It's even harder to bear the torment if they're exhausted from howling endlessly.
My first child didn't make a fuss about teething. It was as if he was getting those teeth and didn't even seem to know it was happening.
First, he cut his first teeth on a Friday morning. And BAM!!! Another one appeared the next day. It was hard for me to notice because he was still snoozing like Rip Vin Winkle as usual.
It was my second daughter Jessie that really gave my husband and I a tough time, not because of teething, but for colic.
Colic is worse because there is never one solution. Pray you don't experience it! Even if you do, there is a way to get through it comfortably. Luckily, I have written something about that.
Back to teething…
My next two daughters were the real teething victims. They cried, drooled, fussed, flailed, and were often tired from crying so much. It started with Lynda, my third child. For a while, it was sleeping regression for the whole house, until I started doing certain things which I will soon be sharing.
How to survive
Like I said earlier, teething is really awful. You need a lot of guts to scale through. In fact, it promises to be hard on the whole family and not just you as the mother.
Fortunately, there's a way to get through the process without all the pain and discomfort, many mothers normally experience. Having the right information under your belt can make life easier for the whole house.
With this in mind, here are seven things you can do to survive teething.
Make sure you provide relief and comfort just before sleep
Try to ensure your child is comfortable before she goes to sleep.
Whether it's a nap or a long night sleep, employ certain products that can offer relieve to her. Personally, I think OrajelTM Kids gel is the best topical product you will find on the counter for this purpose.
Although, there are other good options, but Orajel works incredibly faster. The effect is almost instantaneous. And believe me, a fast relieve is exactly what your baby needs.
You can also use this natural teething gel to check if your baby is “really” teething or not. Just apply some on her gums and if she calms down, then you can be sure it's teething. But if not, then it could be a cold, stomach bug or even hunger.
Generally, teething isn't fun, but it's usually manageable during the day. The main horror comes during the night. So you would want to have Orajel very close.
Gently put the gel on her teeth while she's still actively asleep. Add more gel in the evenings before you got to sleep.
Don’t drop a nap while teething
Most mothers are usually tempted to change their basic routine while teething. You don’t have to do that.
Teething lasts for years. A complete overhaul of the basic things you do can affect the comfort of your baby. Instead of changing your basic plan, try to be flexible.
For instance, if the child is finding it difficult to sleep, you can adjust their bedtime by 30 minutes or an hour.
More importantly, don’t make the mistake of dropping a nap while teething even if your baby shows signs that she is ready to stop.
Use chewing aids to provide release from soreness
During teething, babies are more likely to bite anything that they come across. This is usually done to get relieve from the soreness caused by the new tooth as it comes through the gums.
I noticed that whenever my daughter wasn’t asleep, she would always want to chew on something. Though I wasn’t comfortable with this at first, I later found out it was completely normal.
So, I had to provide her with things that are safe and satisfying to chew.
Here are some suggestions:
Toys: toys work wonders at distracting babies from the soreness and swelling. Some really good toy products include the Giraffe Teether, Vulli Sophie and Soothie Pacifier amongst others.
Teething necklace: teething necklaces do not only provide relieve for babies, they also make them cuter. Sometimes, you may not need Orajel or other painkillers when using a good teething necklace. Amber and silicone are very good options.
Mesh teething feeder: Mesh feeders are a lot of fun for kids. They help soothe the gums while baby feeds on the food (which is often frozen strawberry).
Others: Apart from regular feeders and teethers, you can use a dishtowel if your baby is a new teether. However, for toddlers, celery, popsicles, frozen bananas, or carrots, is preferable.
Be aware of blisters
When you see blisters, do not panic. They are normal.
In some cases, you might notice a small blood blister over the area where the tooth will likely come out from. This was exactly what happened with my daughter.
But I also noticed that the discolored teeth resulting from staining by the blisters, soon faded and took their original white color as the baby started eating food.
Don’t force new habits, especially bad ones
Sleeping is very important for babies. So, when they are not getting enough of it during teething, it’s normal for parents to become worried.
However, here is what you mustn’t do-trying to get the little pumpkin to sleep by every means possible. I think “force” is a better word. Many parents can go far in trying to force their baby to sleep while teething.
Parlor tricks are not bad themselves. But they only work when you are certain a new tooth will cut in a day or two. Using them when you only suspect teething without actually seeing the tooth may not turn out well.
It is advisable to make very few changes because teething may last for years. You don’t want to rock the bed every time for years because you are trying to get your baby to sleep.
Try gum message
Keeping to a regular cleaning schedule helps your baby to develop good cleaning habit from the start.
Gum message should be done even before teething starts. Rinse the child’s mouth properly after every meal. Doing this will contribute to her oral health and also help her get used to having her mouth cleaned after meals.
She will eventually grow up with it as a habit and won’t find it difficult to brush.
Gum message should be done before and through the teething stage. Not only does it provides relieve, it also helps in breaking up the gum tissues so that teeth can come out without much pain.
Help your baby to get regular sleep
Tired babies and toddlers are cranky, so they need their regular nap.
Try your best to help your child get enough sleep even if she’s finding it hard. Like I said earlier, don’t “force” it or you will find it harder in the future.
Instead, you can apply medications that help induce sleep. Good examples are Motrin and Tylenol. Motrin should be used only if your baby is already above six months old, while Tylenol is appropriate if she’s younger.
Don’t overlook other areas
Caring for a teether is a big job, but that’s only a part of the equation. Make sure you don’t overlook other areas like skin care, proper feeding, and clothing.
Neglecting one aspect of your child’s health will only worsen the state of the other.
For instance, the baby might find it hard to eat due to the pain of teething. In such a case, you need to allow the child chew on something cold to relieve the soreness of the gums, before meals, and keep them hydrated.
Hopefully, this will make feeding easier.
Also, in caring for the baby’s skin, use a bib or a mild ointment to keep their skin dry and reduce the risk of skin infection that may arise from drooling.
Like I said earlier, teething is awful. Hopefully, the strategies above will help you keep your sanity as you survive through it.