The challenge of new chompers
By: Janya Veranth
Teething is one of those milestones that is well under way before you know what’s hit you. The experience of my son cutting his first teeth has taught me that preparedness is priceless (remember how your mother always had exactly what you needed in her purse?). In order to be better prepared for this inevitable feat, here’s a list of helpful hints to get you and your baby through the turbulence of teething.
1) Remedies: There are many different teething remedies on the market, everything from homeopathic pellets to over-the-counter numbing gels for baby’s sore gums. Whether you go with one or a combination of different remedies, be sure to have plenty on hand. It’s not a bad idea to have a tube of whatever best soothes your baby in each room of the house, your car, purse, diaper bag, etc.
2) Relief: From homemade to store-bought, there are several innovations to help ease the achiness of baby’s gums. We bought a vibrating teething ring that massages my son’s gums every time he chomps down on it. I’ve heard that an electric toothbrush works well for older toddlers who can safely handle such a tool on their own. Using your fingers works well, too, but I suggest letting daddy use his big meaty fingers instead; they’re a lot thicker and tougher when baby clamps down and can cover more surface area when massaging a little mouth. A large frozen carrot stick or frozen corner of a washcloth can also provide quick, numbing relief to throbbing tooth pain. (As with anything that goes in your baby’s mouth, please use your best judgment and never leave baby unattended.)
3) Rest: Teething babies (and mommies) need lots of rest. The pain, extra drooling, and even diarrhea brought about by teething are a lot of work on a little body. The added crankiness makes the ride even rougher. Be sure to give your kiddo plenty of quiet time and nap opportunities during the day. Unfortunately, throbbing teething pain seems to peak at night, so sleep during the day if/when you can.
4) Relax: The tears, fussiness and frustration brought about by teething are enough to strip the nerves of even the most patient parent. A “this too shall pass” mantra may help you remember that, like all milestones, there is light and new growth at the end of the tunnel. After a string of teething-induced sleepless nights, I took up chanting purely by accident. The calming tones and rhythmic vibrations of chanting are what finally got my son to sleep. I figured if I was going to be up all night praying like a monk for sleep, then I may as well sound like one too.