Things To Look Out For
Just before Christmas we ran a giveaway with lots of other small, local businesses providing beautiful products for mums and babies.
Amanda of Mama Jewels who runs a delightful shop in north Nottinghamshire selling teething jewellery and products, organised the event.
Having teamed up with Amanda for the giveaway we agreed to do a blog share.
I wrote an article for her website on ‘common misconceptions of breastfeeding’ and she wrote a teething blog, of which I have incorporated some of the information here.
Symptoms of teething
- A little cough (from the excess saliva)
- Chin/ face rash from the dribble
- Swollen, bulging gums
- A tooth visible or felt below the gum
- Trying to bite, chew, and suck on everything
- Refusal of food
- Ear pulling/ cheek rubbing
- Nappy rash and sore bottom
- Low grade fever
- Gum haematoma (blood blister)
Amanda’s teething blog also discusses ‘pharmaceutical remedies for teething babies’ and mentions that teething gels can be used from four months. This will vary dependent on the brand as Bonjela’s teething gels for example can only be given to babies over the age of six months.
Teething powders are also sited, which are an age old remedy to help alleviate some of your babies discomfort. My sister has just bought some for my niece and says they have provided some relief.
In terms of natural teething remedies the blog mentions:
Ice cubes / Lollies / Frozen / Cold / Chilled foods.
For a baby that you are weaning I would advocate more of the chilled foods, like cooled cucumber and pepper sticks, just because lollies can have lots of hidden sugars
Also mentioned in Amanda’s blog being sited for its soothing and calming properties but what’s great about chamomile is that it’s anti-inflammatory too. As midwives we use it a lot in making up cold perineal compresses to provide relief down below to stitches and swelling. Lots of homeopathic teething liquids also contain things like peppermint to leave a tingling feeling on gums, it’s good practice to try these on your own gums first to see what affect they have and always make sure they are licensed for use in the UK
Baltic Amber necklaces
These have received quite a lot of bad press due to their choking risk which is discussed, as well as the fact there is no solid proof regarding the benefits of their use
Teething toys / rings
Most are PVC and BPA free and use natural, latex free rubber. Again if these are chilled in the fridge before giving them to baby their coolness will provide relief to baby’s inflamed gums.
Something that I always say to mums on our Postnatal Plan course when discussing teething and various treatments is this;
“Firstly don’t forget the importance of lots of tender loving care and cuddles”
… which is a piece of advice I gave to my sister when Ada was a few weeks old, after phoning one day complaining that Ada had been on the boob a lot and for really long feeds, some being over an hour.
It could be that maybe she was feeling unwell and thus wanted to feed more. I used this analogy to help put more of a positive spin on the longer breastfeeds.
If a child was five years old, they’d be able to tell their mother if they were feeling unwell and most mums would subsequently be giving plenty of cuddles and showing lots of care and attention.
Unfortunately a baby is unable to communicate with you how they are feeling but if extra boob time is what she needs then give it to her as she may be a little under the weather. Low and behold my sister called the next day to say Ada had developed a cold.
This ties directly into the hormone transfer associated with breastfeeding.
Remember that oxytocin is responsible for the let down reflex in breastfeeding (put simply it helps to move the milk out through the breast). Oxytocin stimulates well-being, it induces anti-stress effects, decreases sensitivity to pain, decreases inflammation and stimulates processes related to growth and healing.
During breastfeeding it is released into the brain of both mother and infant where it induces a great variety of functional responses.
Therefore do not be surprised if your baby wants to breastfeed more when teething, though as mentioned in the introduction, your baby might latch on and them come immediately off the breast because suckling and the vacuum created for feeding can put increased pressure on the sore gums.
The same applies to bottle feeding which is why refusal of food/ rejection of feeds is a symptom of teething.
Seek advice from your health visitor or GP if your baby refuses milk/ food persistently and you are unable to get any fluids or food in them.
It is really frustrating particularly with breastfeeding when your baby is constantly on/off and getting upset/ angry but just remember to try and stay as relaxed as possible as they will sense your tension. It’s ok to put baby down if you aren’t having any joy and revisit the feed once baby has calmed down and you’re feeling more settled too.
Hopefully this has given a brief overview of the problems parents can encounter with a teething baby and some of the things you can do to help relieve symptoms.
Generally speaking the most distress tends to be with the first teeth that are cutting through, as the pain and discomfort is something baby has not yet experienced before. We cover teething in more depth during our Postnatal Plan course.
For more info on how our course can help you to find your feet as a new mum;