The word every single parent out there dreads – teething.
I’m not too sure how you feel about it, but teething really is a nightmare. A nightmare for me, a nightmare for my husband, but worst of all a complete nightmare for our son. At only 5 months old, it feels like he’s been teething since birth, and we know that there’s still a long way to go. Sadly.
As you can imagine, in the lonely hours of many an early morning whilst Raife has been absolutely screaming the house down, I’ve frantically Googled “teething” and “how long can teething last” and “how to ease pain during teething” and I didn’t really like any of the answers I received. Teething can begin from as young as a few weeks old to around two years old and beyond. That’s a lot of pain and sleepless nights for the whole household! Some babies can absolutely breeze through teething and not really feel a thing but as we know, most can really suffer with it. The worst thing is, it can take months for a single tooth to push through the gum, despite your baby being in agony!
Some symptoms include swollen gums, biting and sucking on things such as your fingers, clothing and toys, as well as being irritable and more wakeful through the night and day – not great if your baby is already waking through the night for feeds. In our case, Raife literally bites down on our fingers to relieve some of the pain he’s feeling, rubs his ears and constantly wants to breastfeed (although some babies go the other way and really don’t feel like feeding at all). He also rubs his face into my shoulder and his cheeks go a really rosy red colour – he really feels the effects, poor guy.
When it comes to easing the pain, I try not to use medication as a first resort – I tend to offer cool teething rings or a herbal remedy such as the Ashton and Parsons sachets first, and then if he’s feeling particularly poorly, I’ll then crack open the Calpol. You’ll find that your baby will happily chew any toy but I recommend buying toys that are specifically aimed at teething.
There are plenty of teething toys out there to choose from – you just need to find the one that offers your baby the most relief. I know that we have a Sophie the Giraffe (designed to offer relief during teething) but Raife doesn’t seem bothered with her at the moment. He prefers his Nuby Icy Teethers, but of course, this may change with time. You can also purchase teething bracelets and necklaces, water teething rings – the marketplace is full of solutions. You don’t need to buy everything on offer though – just try maybe one or two alternatives and you’ll get a feel as to what your baby prefers.
As a mother, the worst thing is that there is nothing I can do to take the pain away immediately. When Raife is having a particularly difficult time of it, he can become extremely distressed which makes me feel terrible. There have been times where I’ve become frustrated with him for being cranky and grizzly and then realising that there is a very big reason behind it.
And although the constant and crying can be difficult and you may be very close to losing your cool, take a second to think about your poor baby – it’s so much more distressing for them. They don’t understand what’s going on and at this time, all they really want is their mummy or daddy to reassure them and to offer as many cwtches as possible.
Raife (and us) has a long way to go with teething so we may as well get used to the crying and whining because it’s definitely here to stay. Do you have any recommendations when it comes to easing teething pain? I’d really appreciate the advice!