Teething is brutal. It absolutely sucks. I was supposed to have months before I had to even think about it never mind deal with it. Teething can turn an absolutely perfect little angel into what can only be compared to a demon child overnight – and there’s very little you can actually do about it. Teething is frustrating. It’s been less than a month, and already I’ve had to deal with the feeling of helplessness, the exhaustion, the searing desire to find a mute button for your own flesh and blood, and it’s only going to get worse from here as we deal with his teeth cutting in. With Harrison, it went from 0 to 10 pretty much overnight, so we were very much thrown in at the deep end, and only now have we managed to find our feet a little bit in the big bad world of baby teeth. Teething sucks, and there is no getting around it unfortunately, there is no magic fix, but we have found a few things that have managed to make teething suck that little bit less.
1. Calpol, Ashtons and Parsons and A Screaming Baby
I was never against using Calpol with my child – I know it can be a big debate with some mums when babies are in their first year, but I was not adverse to it. It’s allowed from 3 months, so from 3 months I’d allow him to have it if needed. If he’s been having a bad day, we’ll give him a dose before bed and it normally settles him a little, medicine is there to be used after all, and provided it’s not over administered, it’s completely safe. Plus, it means if I happen to accidentally on purpose spill some extra onto the spoon for myself then its completely acceptable for me to have some too, right? Hands up if you still love Calpol as an adult…
Ashtons and Parsons has also been an absolute lifesaver; it’s possibly the best thing for almost immediately relief of pain, and I would swear by it. It’s a traditional herbal remedy, and despite having researched the ingredients, I don’t have as much as a scooby as to how it works. But it works. It comes in powder form, which can be a bit of a pain to administer, however a screaming baby makes it extremely easy to drop it onto their tongue. Failing that, popping it onto your (clean) finger and into their mouth, or in the final bottle before bed can also do the trick.
2. Teething Toys at Freezing Point
Given that Harrison is only 4 months old, we can’t exactly load him up on Ashtons or flood him with Calpol, he’s on a pretty strict one in the morning and one at night of any medicine, and I’ll be sticking to that at least until he’s 6 months old. Because of this though, we’ve had to try a few different ways around numbing the pain, and one of the best so far has been freezing his teethers. He’s not great with actually chewing on things yet, if it’s in his mouth he’s normally just holding it there, so having things like Icy Bites that can be popped in the freezer and work to numb his gums for a short period have been great. Small issue of me having to hold it in his mouth as he won’t hold anything cold – but if it eases the pain I can cope with that for a while…
3. Dentinox On The Dummy
Baby bonjela -Dentinox to the rest of the world- is pretty good as a quick fix, but even more so if we pop it on his dummy and let him suck away on that. It’s a bit of a Catch 22 now though as he won’t take a dummy that is not coated in the stuff, so we may have shot ourselves in the foot a little, but it’s been great for bedtime and I’d highly recommend it if you have a little fighter who feels the need to make it virtually impossible to rub the dentinox on his gums using your finger. The other way we’ve found great to apply teething gel has been using our Matchstick Monkey. We were sent this at the beginning of our teething journey, and although it was great for developing Harrison’s ability to grasp things, it’s use as a teething toy was a little bit lost on him. That was until I realized that one of the main uses for the Monkey was as a teething applicator: it has silicone bristles at the back of the head, and these help to massage and soothe the gums as it applies the gel. Really, what it does is distract Harrison for long enough to get his tongue out of the way and get the Dentinox where its actually supposed to be… (Note to self, don’t put the monkey in the freezer, some teething toys just don’t work well as iced ones…)
4. His Own Fist
Some times we’re going to have to just let a baby be a baby – I can buy as many teething toys as I want, spend pounds upon pounds, and the reality of it all is that Harrison would still much rather stick his own fist in his mouth than anything actually designed for that purpose. For the first day or two we tried to keep his little hands out of his mouth, but we quickly gave up and let him be happy, he’s doing no harm chewing his little hands with his gummy mouth right now, so I’ll let the baby be a baby.
5. The Distraction Factor
In the past few weeks, we’ve been trying a lot harder to find toys that Harrison will interact with – he’s at the stage now where different colors, sounds and textures are resonating more than others, and we’ve been trying to take advantage of these to distract him from the pain in his mouth. So far, he’s completely snubbed any expensive or techy toys – he’s a simply mind, and so far, his Fisher Price Musical Giraffe, and our Mothercare Pram Book are the winners, but his favorites change day to day. If the toys fail, we’ve resorted to singing ‘Five Little Monkeys’ and ‘The Wheels On The Bus’… and ‘Milkshake’ when I get really desperate. Distraction will only work for so long, but it does wear off eventually, and that’s where coffee and cuddles takes over.
And that’s my tips for making teething suck that little bit less; I won’t say these will miraculously make teething go away, I’m not sure anything can, but they’ve given us a little bit of respite when we need it the most, and I’m hoping it may just do the same for you. It’s trial and error with babies – each child is different and what works for mine may not work for yours, but I know from first hand experience that we’ll all try everything and anything to make teething that little bit easier. Have you found any magic secret to help your little one through teething?