Lucky me, my son began teething at 3 months old. His first two teeth (the bottom ones) emerged at 4 months of age. At the time, I was still nursing. After dealing with mastitis (a breast infection) now I had to contend with teeth on my breasts.
Many people questioned my devotion to breastfeeding at various points:
"When he gets teeth you're going to stop, right?"
Depending on my mood, and my energy to deal with the particular person asking the question I would respond accordingly. Sometimes I would say:
"Yes! I don't want to deal with that." Because clearly that is what the person wanted to hear. Or other times I would attempt to passively explain my cause.
"Well, I'm planning on nursing him for a year. So hopefully he won't have too many teeth along the way."
The funny thing is, it wasn't the actual teeth that bothered me while I was nursing; it was when the teeth were getting ready to emerge from my son's gums that was the most irritating. For two reasons:
1. When he was nursing and the teeth were emerging at the root, my breasts would itch like crazy!
2. My son was irritable all day and night during this time.
I am proud to say, I toughed it out and nursed for one year through ten baby teeth. Go me!
As always, I solicited the advice of many veteran mothers to try to cope with the teething process. Here are some tricks that actually helped me and my son along the way:
1. Freeze a washcloth. Once it is frozen offer it to your baby when he is cranky due to teething. He can munch on it and it will ease the teething pain.
2. Freeze a bagel. Same principle as the washcloth, but there is a bonus! If little pieces of the bagel break off, your baby gets a snack! But try to buy bagels that are not crumbly. The mini bagels are a bit flimsier and break off enormous chunks causing your living room floor to be quite the mess. Go for the real deal, big bagels are best.
3. Pedialyte Freezer Pops or the generic Electrofreeze pops. Essentially they are like frozen Gatorade. Older babies (six months plus) love to suck on these.
4. Essentially freeze any plastic baby toy. They will munch on them and it will comfort the teething pain and your pain from dealing with the teething pain.
5. Cold drinks. Give your baby a cold sippy cup of water. This will make him/her feel better as well.
Here is what many people do NOT tell you about teething. Teething can be just as hard on you as it can on your child:
- If your baby wakes up during the night because he/she is teething, you're awake too; trying to find a way to deal with his pain.
- It's hard to see your child in pain and know that there is only so much you can do to help. You can offer home remedies to them, but in the end, this is just a developmental phase they are going through. This can be frustrating for YOU.
1. Teething may be accompanied by a fever. Do not be alarmed! Just give your baby the age appropriate dose of Infant Motrin (read the back of the box) to cope with the fever.
2. Teething also may be accompanied by diarrhea. This apparently is because the gums are slightly infected. The loose stool is a result of the infection. Just feed binding foods such as bananas, apples, rice and toast.
To all those who are dealing with a teething baby at this very moment. I'm sorry! It will get better. My son is actually teething right now. I feel your pain.