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It’s the middle of the night. You’ve made it through the dreaded sleep regression, but now something small white and shiny is invading your hard fought sleep routine…teething. I know there are some kids who go through canines to molars with not a care in the world, those kids are not my kids. I have your typical cuddly, tragic, tearful tethers. Full of nighttime wakings, witching hour meltdowns, and bite marks on errything. Good thing there is just about nothing as precious as two bottom teeth sticking up in a mini grin!
To save your sanity I have assembled a list of some of my favorite teething tips and tricks along with a few things I DO NOT recommend doing for your tiny teether.
Milkman (or Mama) for the Win!
If you are nursing or baby is young enough to be taking bottles, it’s not uncommon for some extra comfort session to take over while tiny attempts to soother her gums. I love me a schedule, but I have never been much for a nursing schedule, especially during the day. If your munchkin is already eating solids this is an excellent time to try out some new snacks on your baby led weaning routine, but more on that in a minute. The middle of the night wakings should go back to normal once the tooth breaks through the gum, which seemed to be the most painful for my babies.
Mesh Teething Bag
I love these h. If baby is old enough for free water (6 months or earlier depending on your pediatrician’s recommendations) you can place an ice cube inside and let baby go to town. For younger tots, frozen breastmilk is a great alternative. Other options include adding frozen fruit to add a bit of flavor to her soothing experience.
Feed that Baby
My kids developed super human hunger while teething. Maybe it was the extra time the poor sweets spent in a blood curdling scream typically at the 3 am hour. Teething is a great time to let the pint-sized pirhanna practice with new foods. Follow typical feeding instructions per your care provider with the introduction of new foods, and avoid common choking hazards. Some options my kids really liked during this time were anything cold (frozen yogurt bites), fruit, rice rusks, and really anything they could get their sweet little paws on!
You don’t necessarily need to purchase specific toys for teething, a wet washcloth placed in the fridge will do just fine. If you do want a purchasable toy here’s one I love. To place myself on the ultimate parenting pedestal, here’s a list of some things my kids have turned into makeshift teethers: shoes (I don’t recommend this for obvious reasons…yuck), dog toys (also gross), wooden spoons, wooden puzzle pieces, spatulas, crib rails, window sills, the edge of our Pottery Barn coffee table, drawstrings on other people’s clothing (Don’t worry keyboard warrior sanctimommies, I always monitor my child’s risk of strangulation as the gnaw on strangers hoodies. le sigh.) My hand, your hand, their own hand/foot. Kids are creative. Necessity is the mother of invention, and you my friend are their mother. Buckle up.
Yep, I’m a nurse married to a doctor so sometimes we give medications. I’m not knocking alternative solutions, clearly I’ve listed four above this. Sometimes, however, push comes to shove and mama’s gotta give a little Motrin. Just for quick reference Motrin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent (NSAID) so it will help primarily with the swelling associated with teething. Tylenol is a pain reliever that will help more traditionally with teething pain. Both will also combat the slight fever that can accompany teething. Often kids will show symptoms like drooling, running nose, and ear pain (often depicted as kids grabbing ears) that can be confusing especially to new mamas. Kids grab their ears due to referred pain from the erupting tooth. Check out this post for Cold and Flu symptoms for guidance.
- Teething Tablets: Taken off the market for quantities of Belladonna
- Oragel: Not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American Dental Association due to potential airway numbing
- Amber teething necklaces: I know these are super popular, but I have yet to find credible information that they actually help. If you do use them make sure it is only while supervised as the beads may pose a choking hazard.
- Other beaded teethers: chocking hazard
- Hard candies, nuts, tortilla chips, carrots, or any of the other common chocking hazards for young children
I hope that these tips can help you gain some control back and help your little one through the teething process. It is no fun for anyone, especially if you are on the back end of a bite, but that toothy smile is worth every hour of lost sleep. Cuddle those babies close. Everything is a phase even the tough ones. This too shall pass. You’ve got this, mama!