It's a right of passage. Pearly whites just pop out from that gummy smile and like magic... you've got teeth! Instantly your baby looks grown up and everyone is commenting on those 'little teethy pegs'. It's not always that easy though. Elijah started teething at four months and now has six teeth and has remained very well. So well that this week another tooth popped through and I hadn't even noticed until I saw it in a photo! Friends and family frequently comment on how well he is 'coping' - as if there is something strange about a baby teething without tears.
Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of nights of two hourly breastfeeds and cuddles needed, but it usually passes quickly. The most important thing to me is not giving any pain killing medication or using any teething gels, as they are not natural approaches. So much of the marketing of baby pain relief gives parents the message that your baby's pain and or fever requires medication, but does it really?
Here is what I find works for us so far.
Frequent Breastfeeding on Demand
Feeding as much as is desired. Of course this makes sense because breastfeeding is so comforting, but it also helps keep up their nutrition when eating food may be too painful.
Encouraging Biting on Teethers
I find organic wooden toys seem to be a favourite, but we also have some BPA free teething rings for the fridge to bite on something cold. Before there was so many teeth biting on our fingers was the best relief we could offer - now it hurts too much!
Cuddles and Baby Wearing
Sometimes babies just need carrying and to have the comfort of your warm, heartbeat and movement. We love our slings and wraps so that I can still be hands free and get things done (especially cooking!).
I have noticed that if we go for a walk or to visit someone then the teeth seem to be less of an issue.
Baltic Amber Teething Necklace
This is worn 24/7 and has been since the very first sign of teething, so its hard to comment whether its helping or not but I'm too scared to stop it in case it really is!
Clove Essential Oil
Clove is naturally numbing (also great for adult sore throats). It's very important to use the pure essential oil. I use one drop on my finger rubbed onto the gums.
Frozen Wash Cloth
What baby doesn't love sucking and biting on a cloth anyway? We soak ours in chamomile tea and then place in the freezer to get cold. So good on the hot sore gums!
Ensuring Adequate Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for bone growth and development and low levels have been associated with delayed dentition. Vitamin D should be checked during pregnany and deficiency addressed so that the baby's stores are developed. Vitamin D isn't effectively passed through the breast milk so its important to prioritise daily midday sun exposure to your babies bare skin.You could also consider cod liver oil in your baby's diet.
A fabulous first food anyway, these stocks are made from boiling bones in water and vinegar to extract the natural minerals required for growing healthy bones. Details of preparation are here.
There are many natural remedies for pain and inflammation. We use mostly Chamomilla - which is especially helpful when the baby is restless and desires something (like being picked up) and then is miserable again soon after getting what they want. This Weleda product is Chamomilla and Brauer also make teething remedies that are available at chemists.