Teething…the word alone can make mamas cringe. It’s a long battle, but one we need to win for the sake of our babies. It’s a hot topic among all mothers of infants & toddlers up to 3 years (sometimes older). It’s also a testing phase in parenthood, one that causes lots of sleepless nights, head-banging moments, household stress and happiness (when it’s all over) at the same time. That’s a lot of feelings to go through as a mom, right? Yup, and it’s one long roller coaster.
My children were both late teethers. They started the teething process around 4 months of age. My son’s first tooth cut through one week shy of his first birthday. I was so ecstatic because not only did he finally get his first 2 teeth, he would have teeth showing in his 1st birthday photos! My daughter’s first tooth cut through when she was almost 14 months and she’s now 18 months and has 8 teeth so far with her first set of molars cutting through. The whole teething process is tough… but molars are horrendous. She is also going through the famous 18-month growth spurt so my nights are now spent waking up every 1-2 hours to nurse her like a newborn and watch her throw random unexpected tantrums!
Based on my experience I wanted to share a few tips for the teething journey and how you can possibly make it easier on baby and mama!
The Process of Teething
The process of teething starts with the tooth emerging through the gums, and ends with the tooth “cutting through” the gums which is referred to as eruption. The teeth don’t miraculously appear one day as I thought it would. It takes months and sometimes up to a year for the teeth to emerge. Many of you might be thinking “well that’s a given if you read up on it”, but not many moms do! I was one of them and I had no idea what to expect through the teething process!
The teething eruption happens in the following order. These images are a general timeline sourced from Baby Center that is in no way fixed as every child is different and might get their teeth in a completely different order.
Be Prepared for Teething Effects and Symptoms
-Biting & drooling – This is one of the first signs and usually starts around 3 months. You will start to see lots of drooling and fists in babies’ mouths, coupled with trying to bite on anything in sight.
-Gum rubbing – You might notice your baby rubbing their gums with their hand or item they are holding. This is normal and eases their discomfort.
-Increased Nursing – This is the hardest part for nursing mamas. Especially at night, we become baby’s pacifier! Take joy in knowing that nursing your baby provides pain relief and comfort for baby
-Disrupted Sleep – You might notice baby waking up crying, screaming or just moving around in their sleep in as a result of discomfort/pain. Their normal sleep routines will be a thing of the past… thanks to teething!
-Crankiness – Their pain and lack of sleep are to blame for their constant crankiness.
-Facial Rashes – You might notice a rash around their mouth due to the excess drool irritating their sensitive skin.
-Food Aversions – Depending on whether baby has started solids or not, you might notice they don’t have much of an appetite or don’t want to eat things they previously liked. Also, most nursing babies would prefer to nurse which is comforting, or prefer to eat food items that help soothe their gums.
Other symptoms that are common include fevers, diarrhea, ear pain and runny nose.
How to Help Baby Soothe the Pain
Don’t be afraid of using some of these helpful products and tactics to help baby soothe the pain. It will help make the teething process easier on everyone!
-Teething Oil – This was my go-to item to help with teething! There are a lot of opinions about the ingredients of some teething oils. I personally used Punkin Butt Teething Oil with my son and currently use Wellements Baby Tooth Oil for my daughter. Both have worked great for our family.
-Pain Relief – I only used this if my kids caught a fever or the teething pain was keeping them awake. It helped them get some sleep for at least a few hours at a time. I used to use Tylenol or Calpol (a UK pain reliever).
-Homeopathic Teething Relief – Camilia Teething Liquid was also really helpful (as it was homeopathic and natural). It comes in individual, pre-measured packets to give to baby so there is comfort knowing they are getting just the right amount.
-Teething Gel: Gels are great for short-term, temporary relief. We personally used OraJel Night Time gel.
-Teething Tablets: I would recommend Hylands Teething tablets. Like the gels, these only seemed to provide short-term comfort, but they certainly loved the idea of being given something that looked like a sweet!
-Iced Towels/Toys or Iced Snacks: This has really helped with my daughter! When she was younger I used the Munchkin Fresh Food Mesh Feeders. It was a great way for her to safely chew on a cold fruit that provided relief. You could also use iced towels or iced chewy toys.
-Pacifiers – This helped tremendously if your baby still accepts a pacifier. The sucking acts as a distraction to the pain and can be soothing to baby.
-Amber Teething Necklace/Bracelets – I have heard lots of moms raving about how amber teething necklaces help their teething babies. The science behind this is that the amber oils are absorbed into baby’s skin and helps relieve teething pain. I tried this with my daughter and it definitely helps stop drooling!-
-Comfort – One of the best ways to help baby is their mama’s touch. So lots of carrying and baby wearing helps during teething. Don’t break your routine, but be prepared to adjust it a little to provide comfort and ease.
Teething Toys we love:
–Sophie the Giraffe – This is super popular! no one really knows what it is that babies love so much about this toy, but it’s always a hit. There have been concerns recently about mold…simply plug the little hole on the bottom of the toy with your hot glue gun to prevent mold from forming.
–Nuby Teething Keys which can be frozen worked really well to soothe aching gums
–Baby Banana Brush – My 18-month-old still likes to use this because of the bristles. Plus they look super cute eating a tiny little banana!-Teething Necklaces – There are several brands out there that help. mama would need to wear this necklace when holding baby.
So mama, I end with this, I pray your baby is one of those who has his/her teeth cut through without the sobbing & sleepless nights! If not, just know that you WILL get through this. This is one of the hardest phases of motherhood that has to be experienced, but hang in there! Sadly it might be at the expense of your sanity, but hey at the end of it all you get to see 20 beautiful teeth shining right at you!
This is a guest post by Afra Said from ThroughMamasEyes.com. She has two children and has helped both of them through the teething process. We are so thankful she has shared her teething wisdom with us!