More teething!

Miss Willow has been working very hard on bringing out her first two molars. We now have one that has broken through the surface and one that we expect will arrive any day now (knowing my luck on Christmas day!). This is both an exciting and horrible time.

Molars are awful. Willow seems to be in more pain than I’ve ever seen her. During what I like to call the first phase of teething – the drooling, grumpy, frantically need to chew everything and anything phase – the pain came and went just like the rest of her teething. But there have been times when she was inconsolable and the only thing I could put it down to is the teeth.

Then in the days of eruption (this is usually three days or the tooth pushing and then the day of the tooth breaking through the gum; although I’ve been told molars can be longer) she had a lot of trouble. Sleep went out the window, she lost her appetite, she wanted to nurse constantly and she would cry and scream at bed and nap times.

Also, I got bitten quite a few times. Not during nursing, thank goodness, but I have a bruise on my shoulder from a little nip she gave me. Babies tend to bite when they’re teething and it gets worse when they’re tired. If your little one is biting check and see if you have teeth on the way!

What makes it worse is that there is no real help for them when they cut their molars. For their front teeth they can gnaw on cold teething rings, or just teething toys in general and find some relief. Not much is capable of getting right to the back to help with the molars.

So I did what any mom would do: I turned to Google and to other moms who have been through this. I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in the hopes that it will help your little one with their molars (especially early teethers!).

  1. A gum massager – if you can find one of these it will really help. It looks a bit like a toothbrush with a textured knob on the end (I have been told baby toothbrushes are also a winner). Willow will often grab this and bite down hard. I also give it to her when she tries to bite me and it really helps.
  2. Celery – I like celery because it’s fibrous so Willow can’t really bite chunks off (regardless I still watch her like a hawk when she chews it). I give it to her cold out of the fridge. She really likes the taste and it’s firm enough to provide some relief. I have been warned against using cold carrots or frozen banana as this does break into chunks and can be a choking hazard. Cold fruit, in general, seems to really help. If you’re wary of the celery try some watermelon.
  3. Biltong – I believe this is call jerky in the States. In South Africa we can get it in long thing sticks. I buy low sodium and give Willow a short piece to chew on. She loves it! It also makes a tasty snack for mom.
  4. Pain relief to the gums – This is a tip I learned from a mom recently and it works like a bomb! When teething pain is really bad and you’ve decided you want to administer a pain killer try rubbing the syrup directly onto the gum as well. I’m sure any infant pain reliever will do but we use one with anti-inflammatories. Give the baby their usual dose then put a tiny bit on your finger and rub it on the gums. The full dose works for a prolonged period but takes longer to kick in. Applying some to the gums gives a little relief right away.

What tricks have you used to relieve teething pain? I’m always looking for a new method to help Willow out during these times.

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