Lessons from teething
Teething. There's a word that strikes fear into the heart of any parent. A stage that cannot be avoided. Some babies are born with teeth, but most start teething around 5 months, sometimes before. Salivary glands kick in around 9 weeks giving the impression of teething, turning babies into dribble machines, but most don't start in earnest until a bit later. The whole process lasts until they are about two years old, with the big molars coming in last - ouch! Luckily they aren't in pain constantly, but understandably, on some days they are very uncomfortable and all babies experience the process differently. Cassie was the incredible sulk about three weeks back, yelling and fussing all day. I thought it could be a mental leap (more about them to follow in another post) but in the weeks following, it became clear that it was her first little toothy pegs coming through. At 25 weeks, she is now the proud owner of two front teeth. Here's what I've learned from the harrowing experience:
1. You'll go through bibs and tops like the newborn phase - Cassie constantly dribbles. It's like a waterfall coming from her mouth and soaks through bibs and tops… at the time if writing, it's midday and we're already on our second top, which will need to be changed before her next nap.
2. Teething turns babies into little grouchy menaces - understandably so, it must really hurt and be quite scary, they haven't experienced pain like this before and don't know what it is. Even so, this doesn't make it particularly fun. Lots of distractions in the day and various over the counter medicines have helped her - we use anbesol gel and Calpol when things get really sore.
3. Babies will chomp on anything - all of a sudden, we've had to watch what is in reach. If we're not careful, she'll even quickly shove one of our fingers in her mouth! Gum massage soothes her, this baby will bite anything put infront of her!
4. Not all teethers are created equal - in preparation for this delightful phase, we purchased a number of teethers. Turns out, Cassie is very discerning. She likes the small ones with hands grips, thank you very much. Any others just get licked and tossed aside.
5. Teething messes with sleep. Big time - we're now very used to nightly crib parties, and take each night as it comes, but the last few weeks have been rough. She's woken up crying and irritated, refused naps unless being cuddled (how awful, I have to sit down and watch TV….I don't know how I'm coping) and has needed lots of calming, especially at night. This too shall pass, as they say.
It's a bitter sweet time. I love her gummy smile and it feels strange that it's going to be a toothy one soon! In the meantime, I'm going to soak up the cuddles and stock up on chocolate to get me through her fussy days.