Red rosy cheeks, pronounced drool continually falling from their mouth, an irritated whine and uncontrollable crying. These are the signs of the teething monster! You would think that after having three kids I would be able to predict and prevent the signs of teething, but unfortunately that IS NOT the case! My DD1 has to be unique in EVERYTHING she does! She tried to come into the world backwards (Frank Breech), she crawled later, she walked later, and now she teethes differently then her two brothers who remain very similar on all milestones!
What is teething?
Teething is a painful, unpredictable process by which a baby’s first teeth (the deciduous teeth, often called “baby teeth” or “milk teeth”) erupt through their gums. Since a baby heavily relies on their mouth to connect themselves to their environment (i.e. feeding, self soothing, discovery), this can be a major disruption in their life. Teething begins at different times for different babies. Some babies may begin teething as early as birth (it has been documented that some babies are born with teeth!), but it usually occurs between the ages of six and nine month. It can take several years for all 20 baby teeth to arrive.
Like the timing of tooth eruption, the symptoms that the baby can experience can vary for baby to baby. The symptoms they display and the level of pain they experience depends on the pain tolerance and personality of the baby. Some babies have red, rosy cheeks, excessive drool and low grade fevers whereas other babies can demonstrate low level grouchiness to not symptoms at all. My boys both showed their teething in physical symptoms and I could tell from one look at them that they were beginning the teething process. They both began chewing on everything in sight, their faces appear flushed and it looks like a tap has been turned on in their mouths! My daughter, on the other hand tends to have a slow (emotional?) approach at teething. She will get really quiet and appear tired. After a few days, a low grade fever will begin without any other flu like symptoms. Just as the tooth is making its entrance into her mouth, she becomes irritated, grouchy, cries at the drop of a hat and occasionally is inconsolable. I find her method of teething the most frustrating. With the boys, It had all the normal tell tale signs and I knew right away it was teething! With my daughter, I wasn’t sure what was going on. Was she sick? Was she in pain? Or did she just not sleep the night before?
There are many different ways to help a child get through the pain and discomfort of teething. If you walked into the baby section at any store, you are likely to find at least 10 dozen different items to help your baby’s tooth erupt. Here are a few of my favourites!
1. Teething Bling – Many companies have come out with teething necklace. I think these are a great invention. Not only does it provide Mom’s with a fashionable piece of jewelery, but it provides baby with easy access to something to chew on. This is one less thing for mom to have to remember to pack in the diaper bag! I also like teething necklaces because they are attached to MOM! This means baby isn’t able to drop or throw the teething apparatus on the floor, thus keeping it clean an easy to find!
2. Frozen Washcloth – This is an olde but goody! Why spend money on fancy teething toys, when we all have a drawer full of wash clothes. Simply, roll the cloth, bend in half and tie with an elastic. Dip end in water then place in freeze. This provides baby with something soft and cold to chew on!
3. A Clean Finger! In the case of my boys, they just wanted to chew. It didn’t matter if it was a toy, something edible, a soother, or my finger, as long as they were able to chew, they were happy. Sometimes, gently massaging the gums with your finger can relieve pressure and help easy their pain. Make sure your finger is clean! You don’t want to introduce any foreign bacteria in their mouth with open wounds.
Today, finally, I see a hint of white erupting from her bottom right lateral incisor. This makes tooth number 7. Although teething is not a new thing, each child and each tooth can bring about a new experience. Find what works best for your baby whether it be the latest teething toy or an old wives tale. One thing you can’t go wrong with is lots of LOVE and CUDDLES!