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Teething 101
by Rebecca Garland

For the new parent, teething seems to be one of the scariest aspects as you look ahead into the coming year. You hear horror stories about teething and co-workers take off work to stay home with teething babies. Is teething really that bad? The experienced parents can easily tell you that it certainly can be.

Teething Reactions
There are different reactions from different babies when it comes time to cut teeth. Some babies seem unconcerned as they drool all over themselves and the carpet while teeth pop up overnight. Other children sleep poorly, develop diarrhea, drool for months and finally – just when you’re about to lose your mind, a tooth appears. The way your child cuts teeth seems to be genetic. That means you can’t really do anything about how he reacts, you can just handle the symptoms.

Symptoms of Teething Babies

Drool – the biggest sign of a new tooth is drool. Don’t be fooled into thinking that drool means a tooth is imminent. The drool to accompany a new tooth can start weeks, even a month, before the tooth is even visible down in the gum.

Bad Sleep – Your

child might start waking more often and become harder to put to sleep. For some confused parents, their child starts sleeping badly before a tooth is visible in the gums, so there is often concern of a cold or ear infection rather than teething.

Chewing – The tooth moving through your child’s gums hurts. At the very least it’s an irritation your child isn’t particularly enjoying. You’ll see her start digging in her mouth with her fingers, chewing on a fist and gnawing on objects. This might not be an obvious sign, however, as most young babies enjoy tasting their world as part of their exploring and are constantly putting things in their mouth anyway.

Whining and crying – young babies and toddlers have few choices when it comes to expressing themselves. These little ones will let you know how miserable they are by whining all day, acting clingy and acting as though they are tired – which might very well be the case since the teething is keeping everyone up at night.

Fever – A very low grade fever, usually around 100 degrees, is referred to as a teething fever by many parents. This fever seems to accompany the teething process and usually shows up right as the tooth is cutting through the gums. It goes away soon after.

Diarrhea – All of that drool and other conditions of the teething baby, such as refusing food or milk, contributes to a few days of diarrhea right as the tooth is breaking through. The diarrhea might also cause a scorching case of diaper rash.

Teething Solutions
As much as possible, try to get through the teething process without giving your child any type of medicine. The process takes days, if not weeks, and you don’t want to be dosing your child with Tylenol night after night. Frozen washcloths, frozen waffles or pancakes and other items your baby might enjoy chewing on with her sore gums will help soothe the pain. Topical gels or teething tablets might help to soothe your baby as well. All in all, your little one will need your comfort during this uncomfortable time, and when your baby is in pain, it’s easy to put aside other concerns to hold her and help her through it.

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