Teething

Teething is often a painful experience for a baby. Why is it so difficult? I wish I knew. It has been different for all my babies.
 
Symptoms can vary from general fussyness, having a runny nose and more frequent naps to non-stop crying and fevers. You can tell where the tooth is coming by a slight swelling in the gum. Often a baby will rub this area with his tongue or finger. They will also drool a lot (though this can also vary, see below).
 
Often a teething baby will stop eating solids because it is painful on the part of the gums where the tooth is coming in. They will either nurse more, or stop eating altogether. Their sleep may also be disturbed; they will wake more often and be fussy.
 
Logan always got at least a 24 hour fever before his teeth broke through. I spent many days carrying and cuddling him as he was very fussy when teething and refused to be put down. Lila drooled a lot but I don’t recall her ever having fevers. Scarlett got her first teeth early, at only 3 1/2 months. She drooled then, but with later teeth she didn’t. The last 3 came within 10 days of each other – not a happy time for us. Amazingly, she never drooled. Instead, she makes this “ck” sound all day long and I think she is swallowing the extra saliva (she still does this even though she isn’t teething right now).
 
Difficult as it is, there is no way around teething. The best we can do is make them comfortable and walk through it with them. Here are some things you can try to soothe your baby:
 
 

– First-time teethers may find comfort in gnawing on your finger. Just don’t try this once the teeth are through, especially top and bottom, cause you will be bitten for sure. And teething babies bite hard!
– Something cold to bite may be soothing cause the cold will lightly numb the gums. Try using a water-filled teething ring, chilled in the fridge (don’t freeze). A peeled carrot could work too, though don’t continue this once they are able to bite chunks out to avoid choking.
– You may be able to interest them in something cold to eat, like blended fruit or yoghurt.
– Some babies may like to bite wooden spoons or any large spoon from your utensil drawer.

If your baby is crying non-stop and seems to be in a lot of pain, you could first try giving them gripe water. I don’t know what it is about it, but my kids always stopped crying almost instantly after having it. If you feel it is needed, you could also give them a children’s painkiller. Here I get Crocin in a syrup. Look for whatever you have locally available and make sure to follow the dosage exactly. Also, make sure it is for babies, as some are specifically only for children over a year or two.

If the bottle comes with a dropper, use that. Otherwise, get your own dropper or use a medicine spoon or bottle. These make it easy to give medicine to a baby. Make sure you don’t just drop it on the tip of their tongue or they will spit it out, and medicines can stain. Use a cloth or bib to protect their clothes. Squeeze the dropper into the back of the mouth so that they swallow it right away.

I have never used teething gels, mainly because I always heard they were dangerous. But I have never researched this so I can’t say for certain. I’d recommend doing some research before trying it.

Happy Teething!

Mommies, do you have any tips to share? We’d love to hear them.

Drooling and Neck Care

Often one of the first signs of teething is when your baby starts to drool all the time. Since there is nothing you can do to stop drooling, you will want to do what you can to make sure your baby stays dry so as to avoid infection.

Each baby drools differently. Some just a little and others enough to fill a jug. Most, though, fall inbetween. You will want to have on hand a stack of cloth bibs to protect the clothing and keep your baby dry. The ones I like best are thick cloth ones that absorb well. You can also get bibs with a plasic lining on the back so that the drool doesn’t soak through to your baby’s clothes.

Whichever you choose, you will need to keep an eye on how often the bib gets wet and make sure to change it as soon as it is wet around the neck. Because of the fat rolls a baby has around their neck, it is easy for infection to set in if the creases get wet and dirty and are not cleaned well.

You may find, like I did with Lila, that no matter how well you clean those creases, you will still smell a rotten cheese-type odor in part of their neck. I thought I was getting everything clean, but she had so many creases and folds on her neck that it was easy to miss parts. I would wash her and still smell that smell and could not figure out where it was coming from. I finally had to tilt her head to the side and open the folds and I found a part that was infected.

To get rid of such infection, the area must be dry. Easier said than done with a drooling baby. Since the infection will most likely be under the chin or on the side of the neck, you will need to tilt your baby’s head to clean it. Wash with water and soap, then dry well. Don’t rub it dry; just daub it gently so as not to hurt your baby. To help it heal, apply an antibiotic powder (I used Neosporin). This will keep the area dry too.

Do this as often as needed throughout the day, until it is healed. You may find, as I did, that the same area will be prone to repeat infections, and that it will continue until your baby gets bigger and the folds of fat disappear with growth. In hot weather you may need to clean baby’s neck a few times a day. This is easy to do with a washcloth.

In summary:
– Use bibs when your baby starts drooling to keep their clothes dry.
– Change wet bibs as often as needed.
– To avoid infection, wash the creases in your baby’s neck well daily, or as often as needed.
– If infection sets in, wash and dry the affected area, then apply an antibiotic powder.

How have you handled such a situation?

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