One of my least favorite parts of raising children is the advent of teething. As soon as our new baby is born, I begin to dread this season of baby’s life. But as the mother of 7 children, I have learned how to tell when our babies are beginning to teethe and I have learned a few methods for soothing baby’s discomfort during this time. Nothing will totally take away baby’s pain, and I have found it interesting that my baby girls have almost sailed through the time of teething while my boys have had a much more difficult time. Levi was up for hours several nights in a row screaming until his little teeth finally popped through. Every baby is different and it may take trying a variety of treatments before you find the right one.
When do babies begin to teethe? Our babies, without fail, start teething at about 2 months old and we see our first teeth at 6 months of age. They come in sets of 2, the lower 2 first, then the upper two. Then successive sets of two teeth until teething takes a break at the age of one year. Then one more set of molars come at the age of 2 years old. Generally no more teeth appear until the next age 12, with 12-year molars and then finally, wisdom teeth at age of 18 years. I have heard of babies that get their first teeth at 12 months, so this time line should not be considered as absolute. Your baby may be very different, so keep that it mind.
To determine if your child is teething, look for the following symptoms,:
Drooling The first sign of teething that you will see is profuse drooling! You may find that you need to change baby’s clothes numerous times each day or you can employ the services of a bib to catch the drool. To date, I know of nothing to cure the drooling of a teething baby. It comes and it goes during the teething process and is simply part of the process that must be endured.
Gnawing You will find that baby begins to chew voraciously on everything he or she can get hold of . Your finger, toys, blankets, their own clothes. A new item that I discovered this year is a vibrating teething toy. The teether gently massages baby’s gums and soothes the discomfort in the mouth and can make for a very happy baby!
Crankiness Has your normally happy and agreeable baby turned into baby-zilla? Crying and whining over every little thing? Your sweet little munchkin may be teething. Try our soothing measures below and divert baby’s attention with play. This may include lots of holding and bouncing, but just think of the biceps you are building and try, try to smile
Restlessness at Night Has your baby, who normally sleeps so well at night, suddenly begun tossing and turning and keeping you up at night? Do not automatically assume, as so many parents do, that baby is just hungry or needs a diaper change. Your baby may be experiencing teething pain that is keeping him or her up at night and doesn’t need a Scooby snack, but instead needs relief from teething discomfort.
Fever Did you say “fever”? Yes, fever! Babies can get a fever when they are teething. If baby’s fever is accompanied by the other symptoms listed here and has not been exposed to anyone with illness, it may be that baby’s fever is from teething, especially if no other symptoms of illness are present. I have not experienced this with every baby, but a few of my boys certainly have had fevers that I was certain were strictly due to teething. I cannot tell you why teething can result in fever, but nevertheless it happens and there is no need to worry when it does, it is quite normal.
Gastric Upset The last symptom that is quite common in a teething baby is gastric upset, either in the form of diarrhea or constipation. Either can occur in a teething baby. My babies usually get diarrhea and said diarrhea almost instantly causes a burn on baby’s bottom, no matter how quickly I can get the diaper off. It’s a good idea to have baby bottom ointment on hand for these occasions because the burns can be quite severe. Vigilance is needed during teething to keep baby’s bottom from blistering from the high acid content of the bowel movements, which is due to the excessive drooling.
Soothing Baby’s Sore Gums Making baby happy and comfortable during teething can be a challenge but there are some new items available these days that make things a bit easier. I have already mentioned the vibrating teething toys to help massage baby’s gums. You can alternate between the vibrating toys and the teething toys that can go in the freezer. The cold from the freezer toys helps diminish the pain and numb it a bit. Motrin is my pain reliever of choice since it is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce the swelling while easing pain and reducing the fever from teething. Hylands Teething tablets are a homeopathic teething remedy that work very well. I was skeptical at first but these tablets are very effective and are a great alternative for moms that don’t want to use over-the-counter medicines. Oragel works well, but only temporarily and some of my babies have actually hated it to the point of screaming hysterically.
Al in all, baby’s time of teething, and even babyhood overall, are so fleeting in the grand scheme of things! This too will pass and you will have your happy baby back once again, almost instantly when those teeth pop through. So whip up a latte, give baby some comfort and savor these fleeting days that you have with your wee one. They will be gone way too soon.
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