Do you have a teether in your family? Anyone under the age of 3 perhaps?
Is your normally smiling, happy, cuddly baby/child noticeably more irritated these days? Does she/he experience any or all of the following symptoms: drooling, gum swelling, red cheeks, ear pulling, putting fingers in mouth, elevated body temperature, skin rash, tummy upset, sharp cries of pain, decreased appetite, loose stools, inability to sleep for long periods of a time, biting, swatting or pushing others away, and flailing?
Check, check, check!! Welcome to our world.
We made it to the last week of the school year before Miss G (our 3rd daughter), who is now almost 11 months, was struck with a serious bout of teething. It was so incredibly timed that it perfectly coincided with our long-awaited camping trip last weekend.
After setting up our six-person tent in the dark, not five minutes went by as we lay in our newly aired-out sleep sacks, when a large rumble from the interior of the tent was heard. In fact, it came from the little belly of Miss G. She was in serious trouble. And after two very smelly diaper changes in quick succession, we were well on our way to experiencing the full force of her pain. Her piercing cries were heard in sharp contrast to the quiet crackles of the campfires and calling loons…sounds more typical of a summer night spent camping by the lake and woods.
As she had had a few smaller bouts the week before, I brought all the ammunition I could to make sure our little lady was going to sleep peacefully. The first night we tried an infant pain reliever. Not much help. The next morning we went for a more homeopathic approach with Camillia Sinensis. This did bring some temporary relief but was not long lasting and I found it difficult to get her to take the vial when she was writhing in pain. Finally, the next evening when the teething monsters came out, I brought out my tried and true pediatric teething drops from a Chinese herbal medicine supplier. It was prepared with a sweetened base so Miss G didn’t have to contend with bitter tasting herbs. Followed by a proper nurse. Instant success.
Her pain relief lasted though the night and all I had to do was nurse her back to sleep once in the night. I myself woke up an additional two times when I heard the resident raccoon come by and sniff out our site.
I’m not sure why I sometimes question the effectiveness and efficiency of my chosen profession. Perhaps we all do this at times. Maybe it is healthy to second guess at times, so as to really make sure you are not biased to your own preferences or tendencies. Or maybe it’s just because pharmaceutical and even other natural drugs are that much more convincing with their gorilla marketing that even a herbalist questions her number one method of pain relief for teething infants!
In any case, the good news is that there are a range of remedies that you can choose from to get you through this seemingly endless phase in your child’s development when you’re right in the middle of it.
Here are some additional soothing options for teethers:
-a frozen terry cloth or toy such as a Ringley
-a mango pit to chew on (this advice was generously given to me by a friendly neighbour with Guyanese roots who mentioned that this is what they do in Guyana…what a brilliant idea!)
-cold water popsicles or fruit sweetened popsicles (Miss G can confirm that this is helpful and she would like more offered in future)
-frozen fruit such as strawberries (this is also a helpful treat for non-teethers)
-massaging your child’s gums with clean fingers (watch out for biters though!)
-a nontoxic rubber toy (the popular S. the Giraffe comes to mind…a friend of mine has noted that in Germany, only the new batches of S. the Giraffe are approved for use so you may want to investigate this further)
Happy trails, happy summer.