Teething is one of the most difficult experiences for both babies and parents. Babies have to deal with the pain of cutting teeth, and parents have to endure the hours upon hours of trying to console a miserable infant. I swear I gave birth to the world’s worst teether. My son started with all the signs around 2 months old. It took him 2 months to cut that first tooth. After that, it was one after another until his first birthday. That makes for a long year, trust me.
Here are some of the best tips and tricks I found for helping both baby and parent survive teething.
Some parents don’t like to give medication unless absolutely necessary. As a parent, that is your choice. I, however, decided to give it a try. So when my son was small, we would give him the appropriate dose of Tylenol when he was in a lot of pain. Once he was over 6 months, I switched to the appropriate dose of Motrin.
I will say that we did not give these around the clock. We only gave meds when it was necessary. This was typically at night when the discomfort seemed to be at its worst. I preferred the Motrin over Tylenol because it seemed to work much quicker for my son. He would typically have enough relief in about 20 minutes to either fall asleep or play as he normally would (depending on the time of day.) If the pain ever becomes extreme, you can rotate between Motrin and Tylenol every 3 hours.
I always urge parents to discuss with a pediatrician before administering any medications, to make sure you are giving the proper dose at the proper intervals. Also, always keep track of what meds you administer and at what time to avoid accidentally giving too much.
I think we owned every teether on the market. The ones that I found worked the best were the thin plastic rings that you use to attach toys to a car seat or stroller. They are easy for even smaller babies to hand on to and they are big enough that there is no choking hazard. You can by packs of them, which is great for when you and your baby are out and about. If one ring gets dropped or thrown or dirty in any way, there are always more. Plus they take up minimal space in a diaper bag.
Mesh Fruit and Popsicle Holders
These are wonderful for teething. When my son was on baby food, I would freeze cubes of his favorites (bananas, for example) and put them in these mesh holders. They were cold and soothing to his poor gums, delicious for his little tummy, and the mesh prevented any choking hazard. You can also use them for fresh fruit.
Ok this hidden gem alone saved us when it came to teething in our house. We found these super hard big pretzels, the kind that are so hard you feel like your adult teeth are going to break off when biting. We would let my little guy gnaw on the pretzels. When the child is small, you will need to supervise this, but if you get the really hard pretzels there will be very little chance of them breaking apart. The salt on the pretzels seemed to soothe my little one’s gums. Which makes sense when you think of it, because dentists will always tell you to rinse with salt water for any kind of tooth pain.
As my son got a little older, and had more teeth present for chewing, pretzels were our go-to snack when he was hurting. I can’t take credit for this idea at all unfortunately. This was all my husband’s idea. No idea how he came up with it, but I am glad he did, and thankful I can share it with others who have babies struggling with teething.
My son would wake up hysterical in the middle of the night when he was teething. He would be inconsolable. I would give him meds, and struggle for what seemed like ages to get him to calm down. I found the best way to calm him down and get him back to sleep was to provide a distraction. Finding the right one can take some time, because every baby is different. For us, what worked was the cartoon The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That on Netflix.
I have no idea why this worked so well. In the middle of the night, after I gave him his meds, we would snuggle up in the dark living room and put this show on TV with the volume super low or off. The images of the show would distract him and calm him, and once the medicine began working its magic, he would fall fast asleep.
You can try different types of distractions to find what works best for your child. It might be a song, or a favorite toy or stuffed animal. The goal is to do whatever you can to take their minds off the discomfort of teething. If it’s 3 am and you have to be up in 3 hours for work, the other goal is to get the child sleeping peacefully as quickly as possible. I recommend for middle of the night comforting, you keep the lights dim or off. Minimum to low volume for TV or radio or even your voice, and try and stay as calm and peaceful as you can.
Calm down! This one is for YOU, moms, NOT your baby. Watching your poor child struggle with so much pain can be super stressful on mom and dad. Don’t be afraid to have an occasional glass of wine to help yourself relax. I have found that the more tense and stressed out I am, the more upset my son would be. It would take me 8 times as long to calm and soothe him. So do whatever you can to help yourself be calm and relaxed.
Some parents get lucky and wont even know they have a teething baby until a tooth pops through. We don’t like those parents. I’m kidding. Those of us with bad teethers DO like you we are just super jealous, but happy for you deep down inside. For a lot of parents, teething is one of the least fun parts of having a baby. It can be so hard on both the infant and the parents. Hopefully some of these tips will help others struggling..