Lets Talk Teeth


Ethan cut his first teeth with the bottom 2 coming through in January of this year (6/7 months). It was not my favourite part of breast feeding as he was keen to test those chompers out at any opportunity on anything that was put in his mouth, including my poor nipples. Indeed it got so bad with him actually breaking the skin several times and drawing blood that I seriously considered weaning. 

Each time he bit down early on, I would try not to react (scream) and pull him off, look firmly at him, say no and put him down and end the feed. This would lead to hysterical crying and a very hard to calm baby more often than not. Instead, I found it worked better for me to be hyper-vigilant (after getting so lazy and not having to pay any attention to the actual process since the early days) and ensure he was latched and feeding properly and if not, to take him off before he had the chance to start playing and clamp down. A little persistence with this and thankfully the biting ended.

From those first 2 teeth, the top 2 followed very quickly and then the others just seem to keep coming. At 1 he has some 8 teeth and right now is cutting the first of his top 2 and bottom 2 molars ... yep, that's right, 4 molars at once! 

Now I don't think we have had too hard a time with teething up until now ... but honestly, E is such a bad sleeper anyway, who would know... but OH MY GOODNESS, these molars are giving us hell! Not since our early days of reflux have we seen E react with such pain. He has gone right off his food, only taking cold fruits and anything pureed or very soft (boiled eggs are a good one) and he is having fits of pain involving arching and writhing where he won't calm until we get panadol or nurofen into him and even then it takes a lot of soothing. Unfortunately the worst of this is happening at 3/4am EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

Needless to say, Scott and I are shattered with exhaustion at the moment and its a real struggle to get up and get going in the morning. The worst part though is watching E go through this pain ... I checked inside his mouth yesterday and you can see the whites have started to cut through - I imagine it must be awfully painful. 

Here are my tips for teeth and teething:

Very early on, my mother gave us a Playgro pack featuring baby toothbrush and gum massagers (the one pictured) and suggested starting E on a routine of brushing his teeth... as in from 6/8 weeks. I did think it was a little silly but we just incorporated it at bath time and he loved clamping down on those massagers when he was cutting his teeth. Fast forward to 6/7 months and he happily started brushing his own teeth in the bath. I keep a brush for him in our holder too and every morning when I brush my teeth, he joins me and does his. We only use the brush and water but will look at starting him on a low fluoride paste soon. Its never too early to start good habits I guess and I'm really grateful my mother set us up for this. I hear you can also start just using a wet face washer on gums and new teeth too.

When food refusal happens, get creative to get the good stuff into them - E this week had finely chopped carrots and noodles mixed in baby fruit gel and mini veg muffins packed with zucchini, mushroom, carrot & cheese then spread with hommus. I make big batches of baby-friendly pumpkin soup and freeze it in cubes then add a defrosted cube to his steamed veg &/or pasta &/or meat if he wont take it sometimes due to texture or taste. We also have our go to banana and strawberries very finely chopped in apple puree refrigerated and boiled eggs - especially good when you can't get any meat into them.

Teething toys are mostly a waste of time in our experience ... we have them all from the Nuby long lasting keys, Sophie giraffe to the dummy shaped ones. Best I found for soothing sore gums was a good old wet face washer kept in the freezer and the Nuby nibbler filled with cold melon or pear.

Teething gels can be good but need regular application. We have the Hylands gel and it seems to give some relief but only lasts a short time. I have heard good things about the Hylands teething tabs (dis-solvable under the tongue) but we haven't tried them and I also have the Brauers Teething Relief Remedy but haven't seen much response if any to it.

Keep panadol and nurofen on hand... its especially handy at 4am and it really does give relief where nothing else does. Ethan unfortunately has suddenly decided he doesn't like medicine though (after a year of easily and happily lapping up his reflux meds) so getting 6-8ml of panadol into him is quite the battle, especially as he is quite big and strong now. To combat this, I either have to tip him up on my lap and put the dropper towards the back of his mouth or wrap him in a towel/blanket to pin his arms and legs then get it into the side of his mouth.

Remember, it only lasts a short while ... well around 2 years but that's not long in the scheme of things and then you have to figure out what the going rate is for the Tooth Fairy!

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