Recently, I had a problem with a tooth. It was shockingly painful — the kind of pain you just can't get away from! I remember thinking, "How do babies and children go through teething pain?"
Most babies get their first tooth between 4 and 7 months. The first teeth to break through the gums are usually the bottom two front teeth. A month or two later, the four front upper teeth break through. Next are the first molars and then finally the eyeteeth. Most children will have their primary teeth, all 20 of them, by their third birthdays.
You might suspect that your baby is teething if she begins drooling more than usual and wants to chew on everything in sight.
If you give your baby a teething ring, never tie it around her neck. It could get caught on something and become a strangling hazard.
Pointy teeth poking through tender gums can make some babies cranky or irritable. If your baby seems to be in pain, give her an appropriate dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol). (Talk with your doctor before giving your baby this or any medication.) Older folks might recommend putting an aspirin on the gum or even a bit of whiskey! Just say no: Don't even consider it!
Some lucky babies seem to sail right through teething. Hopefully yours will be one of them!
Here's what our mommy M.D.'s — doctors who are also mothers — do to help their babies through teething.
"One of my favorite firsts during my son's first year was his first tooth," says Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., an internal medicine specialist and the author of "Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity" in Anniston, Alabama. "But it didn't come without some challenges. Keeping teething rings chilled in the refrigerator seemed to help soothe those sore gums better than anything else, and it beats gumming dirty little fingers."
"My son got his first tooth at 9 months," said Sonia Ng, M.D., a mom of two sons and a pediatrician. Ng is also a sedation attending physician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Pediatric Care and the University Medical Center at Princeton and the Pediatric Imaging Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. "When he started teething, he liked to chew on frozen bagels. Frozen bagels are great for older babies who are able to chew and swallow well. For teething babies who are younger, I would stick to baby teething rings because there's no danger of choking on them."
"For my babies, the biggest problem with teething was the drooling," says Robyn Liu, M.D., a mom of two daughters and a family physician with Greeley County Health Services in Tribune, Kansas. "I put bibs on my babies nonstop, especially when they were around 3 months old and really had the drool going on. I had a very large collection of absorbent bibs, and my babies were never without one."
"When babies begin teething, they often drool," says Amy J. Derick, M.D., a mom of two sons and a dermatologist in private practice at Derick Dermatology in Barrington, Illinois. "Drool can cause skin to become raw and irritated. To prevent raw and irritated skin on baby's face, I simply applied Vaseline around my sons' mouths and chins prior to feeding to prevent drool from contacting their skin."
Mommy MD Guides recommended product: Munch Mitt, a sensory teething mitten.
The original, mom-invented Munch Mitt is the world's first silicone teething mitt. It's made of 100% food-grade silicone. It's a wearable teething toy for babies who can't grasp a standard teether. The mitten is textured to massage baby's tender gums. The suggested age range is 3 to 7 months.
You can wash it in the clothes washer and dry it on low. It comes with a washable travel pouch.
The Munch Mitt comes in a range of fun colors and prints. You can buy them at https://www.malarkeykids.com/pages/munch-mitt starting at $9.99.
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay