It’s funny how certain memories in my life come flooding back when I hear other parents talk about the same situation that not all that long ago was my reality.
I have two words for you…teething baby (dun, dun duhhh).
There I am, crawling into bed after changing and feeding my son, calculating the amount of sleep I should be able to squeeze in before the next round. Two, three hours tops is running through my head as I start to doze off. Then I hear it…the rustling around in the crib, the faint grunts. I’m begging, pleading, please just fall back to sleep. And there it is, the full-blown cry!
What parent hasn’t been there? In the moment you may feel frustrated and sometimes defeated. You have survived the blurry-eyed boot camp phase of new parenthood, mastered the art of diapering (minus the explosions), figured out feeding, and tackled the sleep routine. So what could possibly be going on? Then it hits you, your little one has had some of the symptoms below:
- rubbing gums or ears
- sucking on everything
- may not want solids
- may have a slight rise in body temperature
- may have swollen or red gums (small white spots may be seen)
- sore gums
- rash on face from drooling
- biting while breastfeeding/feeding
- may have a diaper rash
Teething can throw a wrench in the family dynamics and have a domino effect. Less sleep can mean a cranky parent and baby. Surprisingly, some babies are born with teeth. For others, symptoms can last months, but eruption usually starts around 5-10mths with the lower front teeth.
What you can do to help:
- Provide a cool teething ring (one piece, not fluid filled)
- Provide a cool, clean wet washcloth to suck on
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger
- Offer a cool drink before nap time- plain water is best
- Chill a plastic coated baby spoon and rub baby’s gums
- Check with your doctor about pain medications as a comfort measure. If permitted, dose is by weight as prescribed by your doctor.
- Sleep when baby sleeps
- Accept any offers of help
Things to Avoid:
- Wooden and amber teething necklaces– a strangulation hazard
- Crackers, frozen foods, ice cubes, teething biscuits- all choking hazards
- Teething gels- these can numb the tongue and be a hazard
- Aspirin/herbal and homeopathic Remedies
- Alcoholic beverages or dipped soothers
Time to call your Doctor if baby has*:
- A high fever
- Ear infections
*These are not normal symptoms of teething
- Protect your little one. Anything around their neck and anything that could block their airway are strangulation and choking hazards, avoid these.
- Some babies experience a challenge cutting one tooth; however, other teeth may appear without any fuss!
- Using some of the strategies above, and getting the family/friend support you need, will help you and your little one get through this often difficult period.
There will be a day when you enjoy the smile of those pearly whites, perhaps just not at 2:30am! I’ve been there, I get it.
For more tips and hints about teething, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
About this guest author:
Carolyn Wilkie is a Public Health Nurse with Halton Region’s Early Years Program who teaches Prenatal and Calling New Parents classes. Carolyn has a passion for children and advocating for their health. When she is not working she enjoys hanging out with her two boys.