The teething baby: miserable.
The parents of said baby: miserable.
The older siblings: miserable.
So what do you do?
I’m on round two of the teething infant. V cut her first two teeth at ten months old and her next two at 12 months. D cut his first tooth at five months and at eight months old is now working on number eight. I feel like I’m ready (though not necessarily willing) to deal with teething at any age in whatever manner these teeth will choose to come in. All at once? Slowly but surely? This mama is ready!
- Keep Baby occupied. As occupied as possible. Verging on over-stimulated. I tend to keep things simple with my kids. An hour or two of TV a week, limited flashy/noisy toys, no portable DVD player, no Youtube on my cell phone. But when the teeth are coming in, load ’em up! The goal is to distract them from the fact that they are in pain so you can pull out the pain relief at bedtime when distraction is no longer possible. Put on a movie, hand that baby some Mega Bloks and let him go to town.
- Always carry a teether in your purse. Preferably a roughly textured teether that has a way for you to easily hold on to it. We love Baby having something to gnaw on. We hate when Baby gnaws on something that’s repeatedly dropped on the grocery store floor. Keep that teether in your purse until Baby gets crabby. Let him enjoy being out and having new things to look at. When the whimpering comes out, so does the toy (distraction).
- Hold off on the meds. After all, we are coping naturally! One of the best pain relief methods is ice. Pop an ice cube in a mesh bag and let Baby go to town. Hand him a frozen banana or a teething ring meant for your freezer. My personal favorite is the ice. With all the drooling that goes on, it doesn’t hurt to replace some of those fluids. Or, simply try another toy. Anything with edges and corners. After all – the more rough the toy, the quicker the gums wear down and that tooth is through! D’s personal favorite? A toothbrush. And it makes total sense.
- Prevent bedtime trouble. When I know my kids will have troubles at bedtime, I don’t bother waiting for the crying to start. I just give them some teething tablets and they don’t know what hit ’em! Loaded with chamomile and belladonna, these bad boys can handle almost anything. I’ve even been known to use one or two on days my kids just need a little extra help calming down. Because these are homeopathic, I’m awfully generous with these little “cherry candies,” as V calls them. (Tip: For the very young teether, crush these with the back of a knife before dissolving in water. For the older ones, just pop them in one at a time.)
- Go ahead, give ’em the good stuff. If my kids are in so much pain they can’t sleep, I do give them the Ibuprofen. And why not? I know I’ve done everything in my power to keep them comfortable and it isn’t worth their losing sleep. So I give them a touch of the OTC so that, come morning, they aren’t in pain and overtired. But honestly? This is a very rare occurrence. We’re talking bleeding/blistered gums, two teeth at a time situations. In all others, the teething tablets held their own.
If your poor baby’s teething is also accompanied by a runny nose or coughing, be sure to check out Coping Naturally: Cold Remedies. And remember, these are common symptoms associated with teething and are not always indicative of a virus…take his temperature to check for a fever. According to the AAP a fever is 100.4 degrees F / 38 C or higher.