The word itself will bring mixed emotions from parents, depending on what their child has gone through. Some children have no problems while teething and when they look again, there is a tooth. For most of the parents that I have met, it has been a tiring experience, painful for both little one and adult and an experience peppered with fevers, runny tummy’s, late nights and unexpected bites.
Teething can start from as young as 3 months and each baby gets them at different times. A perfect example of this is that Bella has 16 teeth at 13 months, while some of the toddlers who are the same age, have one or two. If you notice that they start drooling or munching on anything around them, start looking out for those little points that stick out through the gums. The teeth “sequence” is normally in the order as in the below picture with the eye teeth seeming to be the most painful:
What helps with teething?
There are many powders and gels out that can help to take away some of the pain. There is Ashtons and Parsons Powders, T-Gel and some pharmacies like the Waterstone Pharmacy, have their own “mixes” that that they recommend. It’s best to read the side effects on the packages so that you are familiar with any known side effects and know what to watch out for.
You can buy teething toys that you can put in the fridge and the liquid inside will cool so that when they bite on the toy, it will sooth the gums. Do not put these in the deep freeze as it can really hurt the little one by sticking to the gums. When your little one gets older, something that works wonders is to make ice-lollies that they can suck on for the cold. This is very easy to go and quite a lot of fun for everyone! Take fruit juice or water and put it into moulds with ice-lolly sticks that you can find from any craft shop. Put them in the deep freezer and when it has set you can give it to them. Do not leave them alone with the lolly to prevent any choking should a piece break off or falling from wet floors as the lolly melts.
Biltong also works really well but make sure that your little one can hold it and never leave them alone with it as it can pose as a choking hazard!
A friend recently recommended a product and I have found it to work really well. You can get Nurofen Syrup that can be used for children over the age of 3 months. You have to give it as the dosage recommends but within 30 minutes of using it, when Bella is having a really sore mouth day, she goes back to her normal “pre-teething stage”. I say it like this as she can become very grumpy! Ponstel and Pando also works really for pain relief but remember it is very important to adhere to the dosages on the bottles and not to mix medicines without your nurse, GP or Paediatrician’s advice. Pharmacists are quite good with this as well.
Kids seem to lose their appetites while they are teething and your baby or toddler, who once had a great appetite, now starts eating like a little bird. It is always important to check that it is not some other condition that could be causing it and not to assume that it is just teeth. It can be quite a stressful time as you worry about if they are getting enough nutrients or dehydrating. I have learnt that your child will tell you when he or she is hungry and will eat what they want to eat especially during teething. I have sometimes had a semi heart attack when Bella won’t eat food while teething and now just make sure that she gets in enough liquids so that she doesn’t get dehydrated and if she feels she can manage a Fling for supper, so be it. Please note that it is not normal practise in our house to have Flings for supper but I try to accommodate her as best I can and within reason.
There is also a lot of debate on whether or not Amber beads work for children. Some say they do and others not. I think that this depends on each individual. They work for Bella because if I take them off her, she starts to drool a lot and stick her hand more into her mouth. If you are going to try them, make sure that you get a strand with good knots between the beads so that if the string snaps for any reason, there isn’t the hazard of chocking. You also can get them in different lengths and there are some wonderful brands out there that you can try.
Whatever your teething experience, I wish you the best of luck, nerves of steel and some sleep! Also strong cups of coffee and a nap here and there!