Maybe my title should have been the lack
of life of a Mom in the land of teething. While experienced moms know all to well the signs of a teething baby, for a first time mom it can be quite disheartening.
Let me preface by saying, I love my son, but this child just did not sleep until he was 3 months old. And just as he finally got some type of a sleep pattern down, BAM! Hello Teething! Many experienced mothers have been telling me that just when you think you’ve got things figured out, they change on you. Wow has that ever rang true. I couldn’t help but be jealous of the women who had “wonder” babies that were sleeping through the night on Breast Milk alone and let me tell you I considered switching to formula more then I can count—but that’s another story!
6 Signs that your son/daughter(s) is teething:
- Drool, drool and more drool, did I mention drool?
- Irritability: my word wouldn’t have been as nice as that but babies are just not happy when they’re teething—no surprise here, they’re often in pain, how happy are we when we’re in pain! I named my son Mr. Fussypants from the beginning!
- Coughing: because of the extra saliva production (see point one) they often “choke” on their own Saliva. *note* this is not to be confused with a cold, always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
- Biting or gnawing. With my son, it discovered his hand, not his thumb. He would try to put the whole thing in his mouth and bite. We would hear this sucking sound and look over to see him covered in drool with almost his whole fist in his mouth. Some babies use their fingers to locate the pain and then chew on the respective finger.
- Cheek rubbing and ear pulling: When your baby has pain in their gums may also travel to the ears and cheeks particularly when the back molars begin coming in. This is why you may see your baby rubbing their cheeks or pulling at their ears. *note* this can also be a sign of an ear infection.
- Sleep patterns go out the window: Last but certainly not least, the sleep or lack their of. Let’s see, some days you can have a “sleepy” baby who’s probably sleeping to avoid the pain, or is just so tired from being up the previous night/day because of all the pain. Either way, count on one thing, what you knew as his or her pattern goes out the window. It’s not uncommon for babies to start waking again every hour to two hours when they’re in pain.
There are other signs that your child is teething that I didn’t include on my list but it doesn't mean they do not exist, and because babies are one of a kind there a probably more than I have listed here. Some others are: diarrhea, cold like symptoms (runny nose), chin rash--because of all the drool, and a low grade fever. Some doctors are hesitant to link fever's with teething pain, but seeing flushed cheeks are not uncommon during teething.
It’s no wonder that some mom’s feel like it’s the first 6 weeks again, with unpredictable sleeping and eating patterns (some babies also eat for comfort—take my little chunkers of 18lbs at 4 months!) it’s hard to go back to the waking and feeding schedule of a newborn when you’ve just gotten accustomed to the sleeping again.
A common question is, "when will this happen to my baby
?" Generally, the first tooth shows itself between 4 and 6 months BUT that does not mean that your baby isn't feeling the pain of teeth pushing under the gums. Teeth can also protrude and look like they're retracting (most often this is just the swelling of the gums around the tooth that looks like they either go back in and resurface). For my son it started around 2 months with the drool, we are now in the full swing of things and let me tell you, it bites!
Here is a schedule of when which teeth are supposed to come in:
Two central bottom and Two central top teeth
Two more Incisors
Top and Bottom: making four top and four bottom teeth
Double teeth for chewing
15 to 18 months
The pointed teeth or "fangs"
The second set of double teeth at the back
There are a total of 20 primary teeth that will fall out (i.e. baby teeth), that make way for the 32 adult teeth we all have (hopefully). Keep in mind that these are just an "estimate" of when things should come in, your baby is an individual and just like walking or talking, has his/her own schedule.
So what can I do?
There are always new and exciting things for moms to buy. But some mom's swear by wetting or freezing a baby facecloth and letting them suck on it. Years ago the top "must have product" used to be numbing gels used to numb the gums but doctors are finding that most of it get's on the tongue and has the possibility to numb the child's gag reflex. Not to mention all the chemicals in it, I mean if you want to try putting that in your mouth, you'll notice how numb your tongue gets! If your little one is still not coordinated enough to hold on to cloths yet, consider sucking some water into a soother and freezing that. Other then the above, teething rings can work well, but your baby may prefer your fingers so make sure your hands are clean!
Keep in mind, our babies don't mean to be difficult. They're up more because they're uncomfortable and in pain, try to remember that at 2, 4,6 in the morning! If it ever does become too much, have a friend come over for an hour or two so you can get some sleep. I never realized how tired I was until my husband let me sleep, and I slept all afternoon! But I feel your pain ladies, (or stay at home daddies) not being able to shower, get dressed, run to the bathroom without having your child strapped to you, is so hard. My best advice is to have an outlet to be able to de-stress in. Develop a hobby---not that you'll be able to devote much time to while they're teething, but find something that allows you to de-stress in the down time--even if it is for 20 minutes! I used to find that I had two choices when my son was young and not sleeping, I either chose to eat or to sleep while he napped, and often sleeping won!
So while you may feel at your wits end, keep in mind this is a phase that shall pass too, and it may be frustrating to go from one problem (the no sleeping thing) to the next (the teething), remind yourself it shall pass! If you ever get frustrated with your child imagine what Jon and Kate
must have gone through with 6 infants at once. Now I look at mom's with two or more of the same age, and it makes me realize, God made me only have one at a time for a reason.
If you are really struggling, and before you try anything new it's always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician or family doctor.