Updated: Nov 5, 2019
They are not even out of that new born stage when suddenly they in danger of drowning in their own dribble and teething has started. The hands, the fists , your hands, anything they can get their hands on to shove in their mouths to relive the pain is good. In our house its Daddy's thumb, it's the right size, she can hold on to it and it seems to be right level of squishy vs hardness. He ends up dripping in salvia from the wrist down nightly. We should have taken shares out in the bib company as the rate of knots she saturates them and we need another one to swab the decks/chin with, it's incredible. And the grizzling when not even daddy thumb will do is hard to bear. But there is help at hand, not only wonderful teething rings and gel toys that they can really chomp on, but home remedies and over the counter helpers to take the edge off.
Teething comes in stages, there is the movement of the teeth in the gums, this causes the tsunami of drool, then the cutting where the tooth splits the gums for the last stage eruption. Goodness no wonder they are in pain and its all done as baby so we don't remember any of this , cuttings, eruptions and in such a small space. Then once they all in they start loosing them and it all happens all over again with adult teeth .
But never fear, there are signs of whats to come, help at hand and solutions to head off the worst of it . The first signs of teething is the dribble, this excess of saliva does two things it irritates the chin and neck ( and any skin it reaches ) and it gets swallowed therefore unbalancing the tummy acid.
So you will need bibs! To soak up the excess that are changed regularly ( see shares comment) as when if allowed , it gets dry around the neck, can go hard and make the rash worse. But no matter how much wiping or bibs you put on, you will get red and soreness on the chin where both you and baby are wiping away the river. Vaseline or a cream with an oil base is good to stop the silva thats full of itchy acid thats making the skin sore. I've even used a lip balm all over the chin to act as barrier. Try to apply to dry skin , by gently patting the wetness away. Think when you have a cold the more you wipe your nose the rawer it gets. Red patches and blotches are common on the chin and neck from teething dribble, its supposed to be swallowed not on the outer skin. Which brings me nicely to tummy problems. With all this excess fluid it can cause upsets , reflux and colic in babies so try to feed them and burp them in an upright position to keep all fluids where they are supposed to be. But this in its self causes more internal problem as the acid in the silva mixed with tummy acid has to go somewhere and thats the bum. So another sign of teething is nappy rash. And it can get bad, sore and even burn the sensitive part of baby. Which you can imagine is extremely painful? So if you know your wee bubs has started teething make sure you slather the area with cream. The best one I have is a mustard yellow one starting with a M, its almost like a clay, gets everywhere but is great. Although all are good, the thicker the better ( mix vaseline with any over the counter nappy cream and you've got the thickness coverage out there ) so it coats those cheeks and acts as a barrier. Definitely use the thicker variety if you missed the first signs and you notice any redness on wee ones buns as it can and will accelerate quickly to a real pain in the arse ! A good way to remember above is GUMS-TUMS-BUMS all connected when one goes they all go so treat all !
Another sign that your baby will give you is pulling at their ears , usually the side that hurts the most. And their cheeks get in on the act to, they want to help you to help them . They go red, sometimes bright red, like they have been slapped, on the side that the teeth are moving ( not to be confused with slapped cheek illness, bubs will have significant temperature and listlessness and be generally unwell) Their cheek will also be hot, just the red part and but not the rest of them. Although if it's the molars some children will have a slight temperature with teething.
Pain relief is also vital for teething , their teeth are literally moving and slicing through their gums , no one should do this alone. Help to take the edge off! I use a teething powder that is over the counter and homeopathic. It's a mixture of camomile thats powdered. I use the green packet although there are other brands, I have found this one WORKS. I call it baby crack as when over the years my kids see it they get all happy that the pain is going away soon, when they are bigger they used to bring me the sachet to give to them. My baby now is no exception, she wasn't sure first time, now she associates pain free with strange powder she opens up her mouth for it now ! The science bit is it is an alkaline and diffuses the acid in the mouth and stomach.
I also use baby ibuprofen and paracetamol to help her when it gets really bad. I also use a variety of toys, necklaces for her and you , food types and touch to help fight the pain.
Toys - you can get some good teething toys on the market , I prefer the gel and silicone ones as they literally are chewy. The ones with gel inside can be put in the freezer to give extra relief.
- for you , there are wonderful teething fashionable necklaces for you to wear that go with outfits and exactly the right length for bubs to grab and shove in mouth when you are holding them. They are designed with beads that are just right for little mouths and shaped to give relief to sore gums. It allows you to wear jewellery as with lil hands, necklaces other than 'purpose built ' ones just aren't conducive to every day life. they will grab, get caught up in and sometimes break traditional necklaces.
- for them , I use an amber necklace on my wee one. its thought the natural oils in her skin mix with the amber and get reabsorbed to give baby a natural anti inflammatory boost in their blood stream and pain relief. There is no scientific evidence but I swear by them for 25 years
Food types-cucumber sticks , think the spa and puffiness , they put cucumber on your eyes to help look younger, well same principal here, although bubs has skin that people pay good money for , the swelling in their gums can be relived by cucumber, especially frozen. Its got a lot of water content so turns to ice easily. The relief of cold cucumber on hot swollen gums is a god send to wee ones. Plus when they get actual teeth through and are moving gone to solids its one of their five a day. Pita bread is also good, its chewy and takes a bit of work to bit through. There are over the counter foods ( but check sugar content ) of soft biscuits and hard biscuits called rusks , although can both be made at home.
Another natural pain relief is reflexology and baby massage . As above the tummy can get a lot of excess fluids that go up and down in the systems, as well as colic /reflux you can get constipation and diarrhoea. So there are many good techniques to combat this. Surestart and others like Daisy Babies offer massage courses to show you the best way to help digestion for your wee ones tum. How to help them move blockages in the gut and how to help the bowel to cope with the influx of acids , etc. Reflexology is also wonderful to help baby relax and to target areas that are affected with teething pains. There are specific parts of the foot that you can press to alleviate pain in the gums for example. Do look it up on the internet , find a practitioner or look on my FB page as there is a pictures showing which area of the foot comes which areas the body. But for both you and baby just gently massage the whole foot toe to heel and back up again. You can sing, this little piggy !
Remember that we all survived this phase in our lives unscathed and your baby will too even though boy will they complain about it ! And it can be hard to hear, to watch and to experience along with them. But hopefully I have given you a few tricks of the trade and tried and true ways to sidestep the pain of teething.