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:

  • drooling
  • rubbing gums or ears
  • restless
  • fussy/irritable
  • 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
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infections
  • Coughing

*These are not normal symptoms of teething 

Just remember…

  • 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.

Share your experience:

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 haltonparents@halton.ca
  • 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 Carolyn Wilkie, RN

For most of my nursing years I have been out in the community supporting new parents on their fabulous journey into parenthood! I love working as part of the HaltonParents team. I have 2 awesome boys, who make me smile daily! So glad we could connect.
This entry was posted in Babies, Breastfeeding Your Baby, Breastfeeding Your Child, Feeding Your Baby in the First Year, Keeping Your Baby Safe, Keeping Your Toddler & Preschooler Safe, Parenting Your Baby, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Play, Growth & Development, Play, Growth & Development for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Teething

  1. omg exactly everything we’re going thru. Wait…. there he goes…

    • Angela De Maria says:

      Thanks for sharing. I’m sure other parents reading your comment can relate!

      Angela, on behalf of the Halton Parents team

  2. Ava says:

    Great list!

    I use waterproof teething mittens with my lo. He was too young to handle a teether and sometimes I just needed to be hands free!

    I do admit I do use amber and on rare occasions Tylenol….

    • Andrea Scott says:

      Thanks for your comment! Sounds like the teething mittens might be a way to protect your baby’s hands if they’ve been getting chapped by excessive teething and drooling on them.

      Andrea, on behalf of HaltonParents

  3. Stephanie says:

    Someone said that that tugging on their ears is also a sign of teething is that true? I don’t remember my first doing that, my son has all the tell tale signs, he isn’t interested in much of anything in the way of things to help, he gets a bit of relief with gripe water …can’t wait for this tooth to cut!! He even gets so upset he doesn’t want to nurse 😦

    • Andrea Scott RN says:

      Hi Stephanie, uggh teething can be such a confusing time, we feel for you! Tugging on the ear can be a few things. Sometimes it can mean teething, but if your child has had a cold it can also be a potential sign of an ear infection, or a sign of fatigue. The good part about breastfed babies is they can make up for a lost feed during another feed, sometimes they have a snack and other times they have the buffet. You can speak to your healthcare provider about other options for provide pain relief too. ~Carolyn, RN

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