A Survival Guide for Teething
Just a few weeks ago I wrote about how I’d been wondering whether my son was ever going to get his first tooth. Well, it’s crazy how quickly things can change in babyland. My son’s first tooth has popped through, and tooth number two is now gearing up for its grand entrance. As with so many of these milestones that we experience as new parents, I’ve been excited about his first tooth coming in. However, as I’ve mentioned before, this particular ‘first’ isn’t the most enjoyable to experience – as a baby and a parent. I’m hoping that with each new tooth, I’ll add another survival technique to my collection, but here’s what I’ve learned about teething so far:
TEETHING: WHAT TO EXPECT & TIPS TO HELP YOU COPE:
- Your little one will want to chew on everything. My son put his mouth on anything he could get his hands on – all of his toys, books, even his crib. Your baby will also go to chew on your hand like he or she does on occasion, but OUCH! You will feel it. Just because it’s a baby tooth doesn’t mean it’s not sharp. It is, and it will leave a mark. (Something I can say from experience.) Survival tip: Offer your baby an alternative option to chew on – a rattle, a blanket, a stuffed animal. Anything that’s not attached to your body is best.
- Teething can be pretty painful. We know that. Since your baby’s gums are inflamed and extra sensitive, it’s no wonder he or she is miserable. Teething rings will become your new best friend. Survival tip: Buy more teething rings of them than you think you’ll need, and keep them cold in the freezer! The coldness will help numb the pain.
- You’ll both be up in the middle of the night (again). Of course, just when you’ve gotten used to your new – and very welcome – routine…BAM! Teething strikes, and you’re back to those middle of the night wake up calls. After doing sleep training, I was hesitant to pick my son up out of his crib when he was crying. But the mom in me just couldn’t help it. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve spent a number of wee morning hours in my son’s room, trying to soothe him. Rocking him, holding him and walking around with him seems to help. Survival tip: Make extra coffee. Just plan on every day being a venti day.
- Your patience may wear thin. My son is usually a pretty happy baby, so I know something is wrong when he seems crabby. I love him to pieces, but let’s be honest: tending to a super fussy baby all day can be exhausting. Survival tip: After baby goes to bed, pour yourself a large glass of wine.
- You will not be able to make the pain go away completely. This has probably been the hardest part for me. If you’re lucky, this is hopefully the first time you’ve experienced this feeling as a new parent. It feels pretty horrible, though, to do everything you can possibly think of to ease your baby’s pain and then still watch the tears roll down their face. Survival tip: Keep two boxes of tissues nearby – one for baby’s tears and one for yours.
As with all things, this too shall pass. Someday soon, you’ll be tackling the next parenting challenge and those days of teeth cutting will be a distant memory. For now, though, stock up on teething rings and go ahead and top off that cup of coffee. You’ve got this!
Parents who’ve also been there, what’s helped your household get through the teething stage?