Feb 8, 2016
Teething started early for us, at around three and a half months – my little cherub was replaced by a grizzly, grumpy monster and no matter how many baby books I read nothing prepared me for this. What did help was speaking to friends, family and reading online for help. Thankfully we have a wonderful local pharmacist, who offered advice and some teething gel, which initially helped take the edge off, but it didn’t last.
The best advice came from my mum and grandmother – really who better to ask than women who’ve done this before?
My Grandmother – Doreen raised three children and swore blind by patience, teething powders and barrier creams.
My mother – Alison raised two children and she swore blind by teething powders, barrier creams, teething toys or a cold flannel and infant paracetamol.
Me – Kate, raising one child and already following the tried and tested methods of the previous generations, teething powders, infant paracetamol, teething toys, barrier creams and distractions.
It’s fair to say that the advice handed down from mother to daughter in each case was vital. If not for my grandmother, my mum would not have known how successful Ashton and Parson Infants’ Powders were for easing the symptoms of teething, and to be honest I’d never have thought of trying them if my mum and grandmother hadn’t recommended them to me. I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised that something that my grandmother used in the 1960s was still available today and so happy that they helped.
My grandmother had popped into their local chemist in the off chance they might stock them and picked up a box for us to try, passing them on to me over a cup of tea, “Try these, it’s what I used on your mum and she used on you, they don’t look like much, but they’ll help with the pain and the wee one should calm down,” she was absolutely spot on, as always.
Teething toys were something that my mum recommended to me early on, essential considering my daughter would just grab a finger to chew on to soothe the pain in her gums, or sneak a cheeky gnaw when you applied teething gel. There are so many different teethers available and it really is a case of trial and error until you find ones that suit your child. We found ones that could be put in the fridge to chill were great, as well as ones that came in the form of jewellery that I could wear to save real necklaces being chewed on and was infinitely safer for her to chew. That said my mum did recommend a cold flannel for chewing on. Thinking she’d lost her marbles I had to ask her to explain that one….apparently a clean flannel soaked in cold water then wrung out, can be wrapped in clingfilm and put in the fridge for an hour or so to cool it, once unwrapped, given to teething child to chew on to help soothe the discomfort and pain.
Barrier creams were key for us, with teething comes dribbling. Dribble bibs, muslins and normal bibs are great for wiping up, but applying a small dab of a good barrier cream on to the chin and under the chin helps keep these areas becoming sore and inflamed with all the moisture from teething. Creams with an antiseptic element are great as they have a mild local anaesthetic so soothe the discomfort and ease the pain. They also helped when it came to the nappy rash that often comes with teething.
Infant paracetamol suspensions are great for teething, my mum always tells me “sometimes a spoon of medicine is what you need when the pain is upsetting them so much” and she’s absolutely right. It’s awful seeing your child suffering, and you get to know when it’s too much for them to cope with, so a dose of infant paracetamol can help to ease the pain and soothe a frazzled child. It’s also great for helping with fevers associated with teething.
Foods are good for teething too, but only if you’ve started weaning. A crust of toast is good to gnaw on, as is a slice of peeled apple. But you do have to ensure your child is supervised at all times to ensure there is no risk of choking. Things like breadsticks are good to chew on too, but I found that my daughter preferred to bite a bit off then feed it to the eagerly awaiting dogs…..
Distractions are my favourite way of dealing with teething, whether its sitting reading stories together, singing songs or watching a much loved cartoon on TV, but for us, one of the best ways to distract from the terrors of teething are going for a walk. We live near an old railway line, so a nice leisurely stroll with the pram in the fresh air works wonders, and helps the little one nap too!
From my family to yours, teething needn’t be a complete nightmare, some children can teethe with relatively little issues, teeth popping through without tears, but for those like me, when the grizzly monster appears there are ways to soothe your child and make it that little bit easier.