In my clinic, I see a large percentage of children under the
age of 2. And on a day to day basis, I see parents chalking their child’s
symptoms up to none other than- teething. Now prior to being a parent, I may
have been confused as to why at 2 months old, a parent is saying that their
baby probably was up every hour last night because, “she’s started teething.”
But as a parent of a 19 month old, I can tell you I relate.
Since Charley was about 4 months old- I have attributed
every drop of drool, low grade fever, rash, wake up in the middle of the night,
and every unnecessary tirade to, “she must be teething.” I have used it as an
excuse for my child’s misbehavior at parties, in the grocery store, and at
church. And why not? It works like a charm!
Every parent completely relates to
you and is instantly understanding. (Side note: if you feel you’ve overused the
“teething” excuse too much, just try the “she hasn’t napped today” one. Also
Now on average, a child will break their first tooth around
6 months, and continue one every month after that. Some children get their first
tooth much earlier, and some may be going into their first birthday cake
gumming it like an 80 year old without their dentures. I was trained to use the
Childs age in months – 6 = # of teeth
These are the typical symptoms your doctor will attribute to
This is my personal list of symptoms I blame on
-only eating cookies for dinner
-kicking you in the face to get Mickey Mouse
-biting their cousin because they want their toy
-gargling water and spitting it in your face
-pooping 8 times in one day
-waking up at 4am and wanting to play
-wrestling like an alligator during diaper
-and running around the grocery store throwing
canned goods on the floor
-zoning out like an overworked, drooling zombie
Symptoms supposedly show up only 3-5 days before a
tooth erupts, but I have been known to blame my child’s behavior on teething
for 3-5 weeks prior.
As for order, that can vary greatly, but I’ve attached a
lovely diagram for you:
Now I am not some cruel, pain inflicting mother, but I do
appreciate the numerous studies that correlate frequent usage of Tylenol and
Motrin to increased likelihood of asthma symptoms. I try to weigh the pros and
cons of using pain medications, and only use as a last resort.
Most people already know the medicinal options for pain
relief. So here are a few non-medicinal ones I’ve tried:
Chewing on something cold
- works great if
your child wants to. Cold wash cloths and teething rings seem like they would
work great. But Charley refuses to use them. She would much rather gnaw on a sharp
edge of a toy or my arm. I have found she likes warm wash cloths better. You
won’t get the numbing affect, but it does keep her happy temporarily.
- We used this instead of your
topical medication like orajel. This worked REALLY well. Within 10 minutes, she
seemed back to normal. It is the anti-inflammatory effect on the gums that is
supposed to offer pain relief.
Hyland’s Teething Tablets
- There are
probably many brands available, but this is our choice. Hyland’s is a
homeopathic company that uses natural sources of pain relief in their tablets.
The tablets are easily absorbable, and are our first line of defense whenever
we think she’s teething.
Teething necklace- So the jury is out on this
one. I will note that there is not a SINGLE case of a child choking on their
own teething necklace. I also can’t find any empirical evidence that they do
what they claim. The claim:
necklaces are made of Baltic amber, which are naturally analgesic. The amber
gets absorbed through the skin and alleviate pain for the child.”
People who use them swear by them.
I will admit I swore by ours for the first few months Charley wore it. She was
a tyrant for days, we put it on- and within 2 hours she was back to her normal
self. Since then, I have not really put too much thought into whether or not since
she looks so damn cute in her necklace!
I shouldn’t make Charley out to be
a naughty baby. In fact, it is her general calm and happy demeanor that makes
the transformation during teething so apparent. But I am glad I have something
as concrete and non-threatening as teething to blame right now. As a parent, I
don’t mind if my child is misbehaving or not sleeping through the night… as
long as I know it’s temporary and well explained. I’m just sad my excuse will
be short lived. When she’s 13, I’m going to have to come up with a different
excuse for friends and family why she ran to her room screaming, “I hate you.”
Probably can’t still blame teething.