Mom Life

Teething: 5 Tips and Tricks

My beautiful baby girl
So many teeth already! Stop growing up, would you?

It’s a crisp, not-quite fall morning here in Maine today.  Jonathan and I woke up to a balmy 42 degrees and had to turn the heat on for the first time!  Some of the leaves are starting to turn on our street, and it won’t be long before my favorite season is well underway (and the leaf peepers come out).
Kenna has been pretty much miserable the past week due to cutting A MOLAR.  I knew that the sleeping through the night wouldn’t last forever! As we all know, there will always be something affecting babies’ sleep.
It’s been a lot more difficult to manage the teething issues that come with molars.  I’ve compiled a list of things that helps us get through a fussy day of swollen, red gums.  I go through the following list, pretty much in this order until we have dried the tears or gotten her to sleep.

1) Snuggles

I think this is the biggest thing.  Babies are new to every feeling and pain they experience.  This can be a scary thing, I think, and that’s half the battle.  It may be frustrating, but try to take a step back and imagine things from their point of view.  Nine times out of ten, a good snuggle session with hugs and kisses and tickles will help distract them from the pain for long enough to get them to play with something else.
If just a few hugs and kisses don’t solve the problem, I’ll pop Kenna in a carrier of some kind with a nubby (pacifier) and she snuggles right in and moans.  She moans because it still hurts, but she’s not screaming because she has mumma.

2) Go for a Walk

Sometimes a change of scenery (and something else to focus on) is all they need.  Get their mind off the pain by abruptly changing environments.  Point out objects like trees and squirrels.  You’ll have a happy baby in no time.

3) A Cold Glass of Water

For some reason, taking a drink seems to be the magical cry-stopper for Kenna.  I think it forces her to change her breathing and compose herself so she doesn’t choke on the liquid.  If the water is pretty cold, it also soothes her gums and helps her calm down when teething.

4) Cold Snacks (or teethers popped in the fridge)

I obviously try to avoid Kenna eating all day because that’s not great for her metabolism (and future days if she learns to be hungry all day).  However, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
I like to give her grapes or carrot sticks from the fridge for back teething pain, and cold sliced apple for front teething pain.  She hates frozen things like typical teething toys etc. so I usually opt for things from the refrigerator.

5) Peanut Butter

This is a weird one, and maybe it’s just because my kid is weird.  Obviously, don’t try this if your kid is allergic to peanuts.  This also just takes their mind off of the pain for a few minutes.
I like to give Kenna a gob of peanut butter (it has healthy fats and protein) on her hands so that she has to put her hands in her mouth.  It’s messy, but it encourages her to chew on her fingers to relieve the teething pain.  Sometimes she forgets that she can do this, and I’ll just sweeten the deal with peanut butter to remind her.  Usually she’ll spend the rest of the day chewing on her fingers if we do this in the morning.
Another thing you can do–which is along the same lines: stick your fingers in your baby’s mouth and rub their gums.  Some babies will let you do this, and others won’t.  Kenna hates it when I stick my fingers in there, so I just leave it up to her.

Last Resort:

Don’t be afraid to give your child pain medication.  Some babies have a harder time dealing with pain, it’s just a fact of life.  If they aren’t getting enough sleep (that goes for you too), start with a quarter dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen and work your way up to a full dose if less doesn’t cut it.  I try not to give Kenna pain medication unless it’s bedtime; that’s only because I know she’ll easily nap in the Tula (a baby carrier) if she has to.
Parenting is already hard enough.  Pick the battles you want to fight.  Night sleep just isn’t one of those battles I want to fight.  I need rest, as do my husband and daughter.  For this reason, we usually opt for medication for bed-time.  If she would still sleep in bed with us I would consider that, but for some reason she thinks being in bed with us is party time (but that’s a story for another day).
Anyway, I hope this helps.  What tips and tricks to you have for getting your teething baby to calm down?  Leave me some suggestions in the comments below!
Until next time,
Rachel

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