Dec 2, 2013

Surviving Baby's First Teeth

Tips for soothing a teething baby

Kaya's teething.  And by teething, I mean OH MY GOD WHEN WILL THE CRYING STOP?!? Somehow I forgot how miserable Sammy was during this time, so when Kaya's teeth started coming in, I didn't know what was wrong with her.  Then that first little tooth bud broke through and I had my "duh" moment.  Now, I'm sure not all babies are inconsolable demon children when they start cutting teeth, but I know mine sure are.  We're talking glowing red eyes, head spinning, green pea soup projectile vomiting kind of evil when those sharp little pieces of bone start shoving their way out of my babies' overly sensitive gums. But since this is round two for me, I have a little more insight on how to help a teething baby.

First of all, I'm sure everyone wants to know:  What are the signs of teething?  According to WebMD, symptoms of teething include increased fussiness, biting on fingers or toys, and drooling (which may cause a rash on their chin and cheeks.)  My little one is fighting swollen gums, sleeplessness, low-grade fever, and looser-than-normal stools.  She is also extremely fussy and keeps pulling on her ears.  Now, don't write off a fever and/or diarrhea as teething - while the excess drool can cause looser stools, watery diarrhea can be a sign of something worse so you should always consult your baby's doctor if she has a fever above 100 degrees or diarrhea.  The same goes for the ear pulling; a baby may tug on or rub their ears when they have an ear infection.  Luckily, that is not Kaya's case - all of her symptoms are related to these wicked first teeth.

Speaking of "first teeth,"  a baby will usually begin teething between 4-7 months.  But, like every other milestone, all babies are different.  Some babies are born with "milk teeth" and some babies don't get teeth until they're a year or older.  Usually, the bottom two middle teeth will come in first, and then the top two middle teeth - but again, all babies are different. Sammy would get his in groups of three, and his first tooth was the one next to his center bottom teeth.

Teething Chart from teething-babies.co.uk

So, how do you help your baby's teething pain?
Give your baby something to chew on, such as a teething ring or a wet washcloth cooled in the refrigerator. Kaya's favorite teething toy right now is one from Olives & Pickles. A big help has also been eating cold foods like applesauce or yogurt.  Our secret weapon right now?  Frozen bagels.  Yup, they work wonders.

Massaging her gums is another way to help soothe the discomfort – make sure you wash your hands and then gently but firmly rub on baby's gums. The pressure provides a welcome balance to the pressure your baby feels coming from the buried teeth below.

If you've still got a screaming, miserable baby and everything else has been ruled out, your doctor may suggest Tylenol or ibuprofen to ease the pain.  Make sure you're giving the correct dosage for baby's weight.

Have you dealt with a teething baby?  What are your best tips?