Isn’t the first year of a baby’s life hard going, all that growing, learning and developing, it’s tough going for our precious little bundles and challenging times for us parents. Today I want to chat about one milestone that has been an ongoing painful journey for my little one. At 27 months, with blushed cheeks and sleepless nights, teething is still very much ongoing for one baba and about to commence for the other in our home.
Let me tell you a little more about our teething journey with my eldest.
At 4 months, I believed my tiny baby was about to cut his first tooth, how exciting! He had all the tell tale signs going on, fussiness, blushed cheeks, dribbling and desperately trying to force everything and anything in his little mouth. Then there was the restless nights, months of constantly waking throughout the night. His first tooth was coming, I was certain of it! Turns out it wasn’t and it wasn’t to be for another 10 months. At 14 months, finally his first tooth came through, what a relief!
So I got it wrong, or did I! Was he teething all that time, who really knows! Of course throughout that time symptoms would ease and we’d forget teething was even a thing and then kaboom, his cheeks would flare and another few weeks of troubled teething was upon us. I worried so much. I compared him to every other baby, I compared myself to every other parent. Only now I feel really silly and a little sad saying that but it was true. I’d see 6 months old babies with big beautiful toothy smiles yet at one year old my little Alf had nothing, just a lot of pain and discomfort, (his gummy smile was just as adorable). As crazy as it sounds, I blamed teething for everything. I had a fussy eater, a restless sleeper, an all round irritable baby, I blamed teething for those things and blamed myself for teething! It was exhausting!
After he cut his first tooth (again at the grand age of 14 months), it was honestly the biggest relief, just like that, months of discomfort for my babe and month of worrying for this overthinking Mama where gone! I felt so proud of him!
Looking back and thinking forward as I’m about to begin the journey all over again with my newborn I’ve recently realised we have no control over the developmental stages of our babies. In those first 12 months, from baby to toddlers the transformation of our little ones is astonishing. From first smiles, sitting up, crawling, walking, sleeping through the night, every baby will take on these new skills in her/his own time, as parents our role is to support and encourage, it’s an exciting time, not a time to compare, worry or overthink. It took 14 months for that beautiful toothy grin to show but did I mention he was walking at 9 months, did I mention it was 25 months before he first slept through the night. He’s unique, he’s his own little person, he grows and reaches new heights at his own pace. You see my point is, let them flourish in their own time, ease the pain where possible, hold their hand when needed. I didn’t think of this back when I needed to most, desperately wishing his teeth would come became a bit of an obsession. I so wish I had eased off the pressure…he totally got this, he’ll do it in his own time!
For us teething just seems to be one of those things, my little one has battled his way through growing teeth a little slower than the milestone guidelines say! Just this morning I took one look at his blushed cheeks and immediately I knew those second molars where to answer for the fussiness over the past few days. Life would be so much easier if my little chatterbox could tell me where the pain was coming from and how exactly I could help, however his vocabulary isn’t quite that just yet. That being said, I do know him so much more now and I’m also a lot more confident in trusting my motherly instinct, I know that he’s once again teething and I know what I have to do to help.
So to help ease the pain, to help soothe those teething symptoms, here’s what I do to hold his hand throughout teething.
Soothe the pain rather than numb the pain. I’ve been using Nelsons Teetha range from around 6 months, recommended by my Mama because Mums know best right! I find the homeopathic medicinal granules have made a great difference throughout those tougher teething times. After using the granules I find my little one becomes more settled, less grizzly, they really have helped to ease gum pain and allow my little one to rest, growing teeth must be so tiring!
The handy individual sachets are great to take out and about and I find very user friendly. I’ve lost count of how many failed attempts to successfully apply gel on my little ones gums. It’s almost an impossible task for a fussy, irritated baby. You can shop the Teetha range in most pharmacies and drug stores, I stock up whenever I’m passing by Boots.
Keeping on top of excess drooling is also essential. My little one has rather sensitive skin particularly on his face. I keep him dry around his mouth to prevent any rashes or rough patches. His cheeks flare so much when teething, keep on to of sensitive skin, cracked cheeks can be really painful to heal. I also find a cool damp cloth dabbed on his face helps to soothe those flared rosey cheeks.
Chewing on cold hard snacks work a treat. There are lots of great ideas for cutting and freezing fruit, ice linked some here. I’ve always find myself in a position where I need something immediately for my little one so my go to is raw carrot sticks, a good chew on carrot sticks always helps those troubled gums.
Worth while noting I’m not the biggest fan of teething toys or rings. I’ve never been too keen on encouraging chewing on objects that isn’t food although I’m certain there are tonnes of perfectly safe options on the market, they just aren’t for us.
Finally never underestimate the power of a good snuggle session. I tend to cancel all plans and dedicate all of my time to Alf when he’s teething. He usually wants to be on me 24/7 anyway so rather than battling through the day and desperately trying fix things, I accept that that day or perhaps week may just have to go on hold whilst we get through this together. Mama hugs fix everything, right!
On a last note, a gentle reminder that our incredible little people take on so much throughout the first few years of life and with an ever growing online community of over sharing parents it can be all too easy to compare our precious bundles with those we’ve never even met. Let me remind you, you are doing an amazing job, you totally got this and even more so, those little soldiers of ours, they are doing absolutely wonderful. Teething will come and go, like every milestone achieved, its a journey to get to there. Ride it out together and before you know it that big toothy grin smiling back at you will fill your heart with joy and pride… be it at 5 months or 15 months, our baba’s got this!