When you’re expecting, strangers offer you all sorts of warnings. “Oh you’ll never sleep again,” to how difficult breastfeeding is, to the joy of yoga pants. But one thing no one ever warns you about is the thing that will probably cause you the most distress over the first few years – teething. I mean, sure, I’m not an idiot, I knew babies got teeth at some point, I just never stopped to think about how painful it must be to have sharp, ginormous teeth cutting through your delicate pink gums, over and over again, month after month. Or how the simple act of teething could wreak such havoc on one’s life. Your normally calm and happy baby turns into a drooling, fussy mess that wakes up constantly throughout the night. On top of it they have no appetite (at least Little Miss never did) probably because it hurts to chew. But we’ve all gotta get through it somehow.
We were lucky in the sense that Little Miss got all her teeth super fast. So it might have been a difficult few months, but it was over. It started around 6 months, and they were all there by a little over a year. Then we thought, whew! it’s finally over…but wait…no one told me about the TWO-YEAR MOLARS!! What are those you ask? Most babies get the great majority of their teeth in by 2, including 4 molars, which are the worst. Then between 2 and 3, 4 MORE molars pop out behind the existing ones. So while you may get a break for 8 months like we did, there’s more! That’s what Little Miss is going through right now. It’s a bit easier this time around since she can talk and tell us what’s wrong, but the night wakings are killing us. But this, like all things shall pass and be a distant memory until we have to deal with baby teeth falling out (gag!)
So, to restore my sanity and maybe help someone along the way, here’s my little teething survival guide.
Amber Teething Necklace – I was the biggest skeptic of these things, and honestly, I still have no idea how they work logically. But all I know is it does. When I first bought it, it was with the desperate, who cares, it’s only $18 and if it works, I will kiss it mentality. Supposedly the magical healing powers of amber somehow make it into your baby’s system by being worn against the skin to help them with their discomfort. I know, sounds like a bunch of hocus pocus, right? All I know is within minutes of putting this thing on, Little Miss stops drooling, and starts acting more like herself. It also makes for a cute accessory! These necklaces are always popping up on sites like Baby Steals (where I got ours), so keep an eye out.
Hyland’s Teething Tablets – We call these the “magic pills.” I don’t know if it’s more psychological or if it actually does anything, but I swear I can see them kicking in within 30 minutes of talking them. They’re homeopathic tiny tablets that melt in your child’s mouth. Just keep ’em out of sight because Little Miss now recognizes them and asks for her “medicine” even when she’s not teething! What have we done?!
Infant Advil – This is probably what your pediatrician will recommend (depending on how old your baby is), and doctors say it’s better than Tylenol for teething because it helps to reduce inflammation. But some moms say it hypes their kid up, so just keep watch. We’ve gone through many a bottles of this stuff (why don’t they just sell a Costco size version?!)
Teethers – We’ve tried all sorts of teethers from Sophie to natural rubber ones to frozen washcloths. But the ones that seemed to work the best for us are these awesome Zoli Stick Teethers. They’re easy for Little Miss to hold and stick far in the back of her mouth for when the back teeth or molars come in. The round teethers don’t really go that far into their mouths, so they’re only good for the front set of teeth. When she was really young, she loved the raspberry teethers.
Smoothie pouches – For some reason, when she’s teething Little Miss only wants to eat milk, crackers, and those little smoothie pouches (or, alternatively, you can blend one up at home.) But they’re great for when you’re on-the-go.
Chamomile – Some moms brew chamomile tea, but we could never get Little Miss to drink too much of that, so you can try that OR you can run out to your local Target or Whole Foods and get these Boiron Camilia liquid chamomile. They really seem effective in calming down an irritable baby. We didn’t use these too often, but when we did I was really impressed with how effective it was.
Wine – Okay, I’m kind of joking. But kind of not. Teething often means long days and even longer nights for already tired parents, so just try to make the best of the situation, pop open a bottle and relax while you can. Cheers to you!