We’ve been feeling the sting of teething quite sharply the past few weeks. Olly only has two, so far, and they were late bloomers. I started teething at 2 months old, according to my mother, and had my first at 3 months. Olly started showing teething symptoms at 3 months, but didn’t actually spring a tooth until he was 7 months old. We had one night a crying and no sleep, and the next morning, a tooth had broken through his gums. About a week afterwards, we had another sleepless night followed by a second bright, shiny tooth.
Those two teeth are now firmly cemented in place, but boy, was it a journey. For those of you who are new parents, like us, and don’t quite know what to expect when it comes to teething, hopefully our experience will help.
Some babies don’t seem too bothered by teeth coming in, or so I’m told. For Olly, it seems like a never-ending battle. We noticed his need to chew early on. This wasn’t just a typical need to put everything in his mouth for the purpose of exploring – this was a serious urge to bite down on anything he could get his hands on. He would bite and chew and cry for no apparent reason while biting and chewing. And then I noticed that his gums were red and swollen in certain spots. And then, one day, I saw a tiny white spot on his gums. It couldn’t be wiped off, but it was so small, I figured it had to be the corner of a tooth.
This white spot would stick around for a week or so and then – poof! – disappear into thin air. Friends told me this was common – apparently teeth like to play peekaboo! So, we resigned ourselves and settled in for a long trip, but figured we’d better find some teethers to help make things easier along the way.
Since Olly had started teething so early, finding teethers that he could actually use was tricky – he could grip object quite well but navigating them into his mouth was beyond his ability at three months old. Most teethers are aimed at 6 month olds and older, but I was determined to find something that would work for him. Comotomo to the rescue! Their teether was perfect – a circle that Olly could grip, and four chewable prongs, one of which was guaranteed to end up in his mouth regardless of how he held it!
(Yeah, my kid is the cutest)
The Munch Mitt was also a life saver, because it fit his hand like a glove, and putting his hand in his mouth was something he was quite skilled at.
While I was spending my time looking for actual teethers, Olly was making do with some items we already had at home. Like his toes.
We also had two rattles from Ikea, shaped like kitty cats. For some reason, he loved these things. For a long time, we couldn’t go anywhere without them. He’d ram one into his mouth and chew and suck on it for hours.
(“Can you say hi to Baba?” – Baba is my mother.)
So, we managed for the first little while with these three strategies. As he got older and better at using his hands, implementing teethers got easier. There are a few we could not live without:
This one can be frozen and is nice and numbing for achy gums.
Shaped like a pacifier, made of soft silicone with soothing textures. I love this one, because Olly can alternate between sucking and chewing as he pleases.
Alvin has been Olly’s go-to teether since we bought him. I had been wanting to buy Sophie the Giraffe but couldn’t bring myself to spend $29.99 on a teether (for heaven’s sake). I found Alvin at Mastermind Toys and was much happier with his $14.99 price tag.
Teething necklaces are always handy, especially when you’re out and about and don’t want to lose your favourite teether! I got mine from a booth at The Baby Show in Toronto, and unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the company.
Night time can be tricky. When Olly is tired but his gums are sore, he doesn’t want to hold on to a toy and chew. So that’s when we turn to Camilia. These drops may or may not actually be helpful (Homeopathy, anybody?) but we’ve seen Olly finally drift off to sleep after one or two doses of this stuff enough times to keep buying it.
For the nights when he has a tooth actually cutting through the gums, we give him some Baby Tylenol. Because sometimes babies need actual pain relief.