Teething! one of the largest tests of parenthood you'll ever go through. Teething affects children differently, but it's no walk in the park for parents. Imagine a toothache for you, that pain, that ache, the headache, the jaw pain, now, imagine that pain, 10x worse. Sound fun? not for your little one it isn't. Symptoms of teething differs for each child, but once you see the signs, you can work out the best method for helping you little one.
Symptoms and Signs
I'm not a doctor, but I've seen my fair share of teething signs and symptoms. Symptoms of teething are probably just as irritating as the teething itself. Things that I notice during teething phases include; nappy rash, diarrhea, fever, ear pulling, drooling, rash around the mouth, increased spews, tender red and swollen gums, lots and lots of chewing, fussiness and crying just to name a few. Every baby is different, and every baby's pain tolerance is different, so you may see some of these signs, all or even none depending on how your baby deals with teething.
When does it start?
Teething can start whenever really. My GP says some babies are even born with teeth. Shocking right? That would not pleasant for newborn breastfeeding! OUCH! According to Teething | Pregnancy Birth and Baby (pregnancybirthbaby.org.au), the general rule of thumb for when babies start to teeth is around 6months of age. My babies start teething fairly young, and both babies started from 9weeks old. I started noticing different signs from this age. They were chewing and drooling lots, super fussy and had red swollen gums. Teething from this age was hard to deal with, both for them but for me too. With my first born, I couldn't understand what was happening, and I took him to our family GP, who informed me that he was teething, and was starting to cut his first two teeth. I wasn't prepared, and it scared me. How was I going to help him? My second born started at the same age as well, at his four month checkup, we were informed that he had two teeth almost cutting through. I had more knowledge this time around but it didn't make it any less scary. Your baby may start a bit earlier, like mine did, or they may start later, like others do. I know a little one who didn't start teething for a while. Some babies don't get a full set of teeth for a while either. This doesn't make them any more or less advanced, children teeth when they' and their teeth are ready.
How to deal with teething?
There are lots of ways to help your little one deal with teething. There are medicated, and non-medicated ways you can help babies deal with their teething.
Medicated ways: There are special pain reliever medications and gels that you
can use for your child, according to their weight, and age. Always speak to your GP before using medicines on your baby. But once you have, these can be really beneficial in helping your baby get some relief. There are things like, Panadol, Nurofen, natural teething medicine (Brauer) and teething gels (Bonjela, Curash, Sm33).
Non-Medicated Ways: There are loads of non-medicated ways to relieve your child's teething. You can buy teething rings, toys and mitts. You could also try frozen cloths, frozen fruit in mesh dummies if your child is on solids, cold puree's, massaging your little one's gums, soft toys, wooden toys, and silicone items.
Sometimes with teething fever hits, and then your little one's behaviour can be difficult to help. There are ways to help with this. Other than medicine, there are some simple ways to bring relief to your baby's teething and fevers. Warm, Luke warm, or slightly cold showers/baths are a great way to bring some comfort and relief to your baby with a fever. Other things to try could be, dabbing baby's forehead with a cool washer, air conditioned room or fan on, lighter clothing, cool water to drink and cold puree's. Fevers are scary, and it's a good idea to call a medical specialist when or if necessary.
What worked for me?
My kids were simple, they didn't require expensive teethers or anything, and they dealt with their teething really well. But they did have their off days. My first born liked cool baths, and Nurofen to help with his fevers. Dymadon or Nurofen helped with his mouth pain, and little gummy massages. He got his first two teeth when he was 11weeks. My second born, is only currently four months old, but has been teething since 9weeks. He's almost cut two teeth. He likes to chew, chew, chew. He will chew on his fist, but his favourite is a wooden ring with towel cloth. We got this particular item from Baby Gifts and Accessories - My Little Love Heart. This site sells the best teethers I have come across so far! and I highly recommend them! Other teethers like water teethers are great as well, and silicone items like cookie molds, or silicone measuring cups are great for kids teething and safe as long as babies are well supervised. My second born loves silicone molds, his wooden teether, his fists, and we use cold wash cloths. Nurofen is also used for when his teeth are really bothering him.
Affects on Parents
Teething makes a massive impact on your children, but what kind of impact could it make on you as a parent. Teething can make for long sleepless nights, lots of tears and fear on you and your kids. For me it meant, some sleepless nights, lots of extra cuddles for the babies, extra coffee (much needed), and worry. Lots and lots of worry. But as time passes, and new teeth shoot through, it gets easier. And most of the worries go away. Teething is a part of growing up, and it means my little ones can eat food and brush their teeth just like I do. Once all the pain is gone, they feel better, and so do I. I find that talking about whatever I'm thinking helps with the late night worries, as well as lots and lots of cuddles with my babies. When I'm concerned about them, I give them hugs, it helps them, but it also helps me. Hugs reminds me that they are okay, and that I am doing a good job.
Teething is hard, but once you understand the signs, work out what works for you and your baby, dealing with teething, can become a lot easier, than it seems.