Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Story Without Teeth - So Far

Poor John. As we creep up on 6 months, he's been working on cutting his bottom two teeth for about six weeks or more. It seems as if it goes in three-day cycles of cheek rashes, even more excessive drooling than usual, crankiness and swollen gums.

But then, just as quickly and without warning, those symptoms go away, and we have our happy, laughing baby back. And while I'm happy to get him back (and have a fighting chance of a dry shirt), I do wish that those teeth would finally make an appearance - for everyone's sake.

But the drool? Oh, the drool. It seems as if the child has been drooling since month three, nonstop. Just the other night, I looked in on him while he was sleeping to see an ever-widening ring of drool spreading out from his noggin - a drool halo, if you will.  And we go through lots of bibs during the day in a futile attempt at keeping his clothes and our clothes dry.

According to WebMD, teething can begin any time between three months and 12 months of age. The lower front teeth come in first, followed by the upper front teeth a couple months later.

When John is having a particularly rough time of it, we do a lot of tried-and-true things - rubbing his gums with our fingers, offering him teethers (his current favorite is actually a giraffe named Sophie that is apparently quite ubiquitous in Europe), distraction, mesh teethers with cold fruit, and if all else fails - a dose of Tylenol.  One of the biggest things we happened upon as helpful is having his "teeth" brushed. In anticipation of teeth, I had purchased baby toothpaste and a toothbrush that fits over my finger. One afternoon, in a fit of desperation, I slipped the brush on and started rubbing. For the first time that day, I got a smile, and the whining ceased. It works so well that I even included it as a "must pack" item on a recent three day weekend, lest John go through a teething bout while we were away from home!

What about you? Any good teething tips? What soothed teething pain for your little ones? I'm up for suggestions! Does it get easier?

Bethany Erickson is the wife of Texas Health Resources web editor Tom Erickson and Mom to 5-month-old John.

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