Thursday, May 13, 2010

Teeth Wisdom

I did not realize the process started until it was practically over. One December afternoon, as Baby C played happily on her activity mat, I noticed a little bit of blood on her lower lip. Fearing she accidentally swallowed an unidentified sharp object, I frantically searched her mouth with my finger. As I investigated, I noticed a sharp ridge on her lower gums. Upon further inspection, I saw the tiniest edge of white poking through her gums. Baby C's first two teeth had arrived without announcement, without fuss. She was just four months old.

Either I am an incredibly clueless mama, or Baby C is a very good teether. For my own piece of mind, I am more comfortable with the latter scenario. I heard horror stories of teething babies and sleep deprived mamas, so I expected teething to be much, much worse. Upon reflection, I suppose I missed some obvious signs. The month before C's teeth arrived, she drooled so much we changed her shirt at least three times a day. Eventually I smartened up and bought C a giant bib, which she wore daily. She put everything and anything within reach right into her mouth. Despite these indicators, I did not realize C was teething. She did not cry, she was not particularly fussy. I humbly acknowledge my luck, thank goodness for small favors, and quietly keep this information to myself, for fear of angering mothers of fussy, teething babies everywhere. I also realize I may not be as lucky next time around, so I reached out to my mama friends for some teething wisdom. Teething can make life miserable for baby and symbiotically, for mama. However, there are many options for easing your baby's pain quickly and safely. Whiskey on the gums is not necessary, although my mother swears it works.

If you are comfortable giving baby medicine, one dose of Infant Tylenol or Infant Motrin may relieve pain and help baby sleep. Just make sure your supply is safe and not on the current recall list. Baby Orajel is a topical pain reliever, however many new mamas report it is ineffective.

If you prefer non-medicinal remedies, Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets or liquid teething capsules come highly recommended. Hyland products contain all natural ingredients and promise to quickly ease irritability and wakefulness due to teething. The tablets and capsules dissolve under baby's tongue. They also dissolve in a bottle.

If you opt not to open the medicine cabinet during teething, try opening the freezer. Frozen, hard, chewy items soothe swollen gums and lessen discomfort. Allow baby to gum a frozen mini bagel, or frozen waffle if baby is old enough for solid foods. A wet, frozen washcloth also temporarily soothes sore gums. Another mama friend told me her thirteen month old son chews on frozen Beaba brand baby spoons, which reach further back into his month, just far enough to reach those tricky molars.

Now that I have an arsenal of teething remedies at my disposal, hopefully I will notice the next time Baby C teethes. I would like to actually try my own advice.

Shout outs to my mama friends for their words of wisdom: Caroline, Crystal, Jessica, Joanna, and Julie-may all mamas have such an amazing support system. Thanks for all of your help! If any other mamas would like to offer teething advice, please include your teeth wisdom in the comments!


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