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One Year Molars
by Rebecca Garland

Just when you thought you were through with the worst of teething, the molars start to move. There is a toss up for many babies as to which teething process is worst – the molars or the incisors. As the molars come first, for most parents, this is a time of sleepless nights, powerful teething medicines and patience as you wait for the slow arrival of your baby’s four largest teeth to date.

Signs of Arrival
The first sign of a new round of teeth is usually a bit of extra juice. Your baby will start drooling a bit as his mouth prepares for the new arrivals. This might not be the first sign you see, however, if your child is especially sensitive to the teething process.

Molars are very large and you can image the discomfort a baby must feel as they move up through the gums. In many babies you can actually track their progress through the gums with a bulge under the gum line or even a bit of visible white through the pink.

As these large teeth begin their journey, babies who tend to teethe badly might start waking up at night.

Even though molars might be weeks away from erupting, they are uncomfortable enough down in the gums to keep your baby awake when she should be rolling over and going back to sleep. For many parents, this means you’re suddenly up at night rocking and feeding a baby who used to sleep through. Most frustrating for these parents is the uncertainty as to why everyone is enjoying the late night snuggles for days or weeks on end – those pesky teeth can take forever to actually show up.

Surviving the Process
By the time you’re child is cutting his first set of molars, you’ll be an old hand at teething. The molars are usually teeth numbers nine through twelve, but this varies on occasion if incisors come through first. Don’t be fooled by the name, either. The first set of molars is called the one year molars because almost all children get these molars sometime relatively close to their first birthday. This might be a bit before, or as late as six or eight months after he turns one.

When you begin to suspect your child is starting to show discomfort and signs of teething, keep an eye out for more signs to verify your concern. If in doubt, you can also take your child to the doctor to rule out any other discomfort such as an ear infection or sore throat. The most common teething signs are:

  • Drooling
  • Pulling or digging in his mouth
  • Biting and chewing
  • Pulling or rubbing at the jaw or ear
  • Night waking
  • Slight fever (less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Diarrhea
  • Reluctance eating solids
  • Reluctance sucking at cups or bottles

When the nights begin to grow rough and the days grow rougher thanks to a cranky toddler and poor sleep the night before, dig back into your arsenal of survival tactics to make it through:

  • Take turns being up at night.
  • Use teething medicine and/or pain reliever with your doctor’s permission.
  • Offer your child cold things to gnaw on such as frozen pancakes, waffles, washcloths or bagels.
  • Rub the swollen area of the gums to offer counter pressure
  • Move bedtime earlier to accommodate the night waking
  • Try co-sleeping to comfort your baby and get yourself more shut-eye
  • Nap when your baby is napping
  • Offer fun distractions to keep baby’s mind off the hurt
  • Incline his mattress to help reduce pressure when sleeping.

 

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