Ready or not, teething will happen! Savannah Walsh shares what to expect, tips for how to soothe a teething baby, and the teething products that have worked for her.
MyRegistry contributing writer Savannah Walsh is a Canadian blogger, a mom of five little ones, and the face behind That Caffeinated Mom, where she talks pregnancy, birth, and everyday mom life in her own relatable and very candid storytelling style.
Teething. Ugh teething. Teething babies. Teething toddlers. Teething preschoolers. Ugh to all of it.
Within the motherhood club, teething is its own silent language.
“I don’t think we can come tonight, Tommy is teething.”
“OH MY GOODNESS! I’m so sorry. Absolutely, take all the time you need. Thinking of you!”
Nothing else needs to be said. It’s like the silent code.
No two kids handle teething the same way, but believe me, all us moms ride the same struggle bus up and down teething avenue at least once in our parenting career.
But I’ll admit, I was once an outsider. I remember when I was six or seven months pregnant with my first baby and I attended a baby shower. I sat beside a young mom to a 6 month old, and I figured it was the perfect opportunity to ask her some questions. Before I had a chance, she started telling someone nearby that her son had just started teething, and I overheard the above conversation. She left shortly after, as her baby had started to fuss. She said she was praying he would have a real nap that day for the first time in a week, so she needed to go home to try to put him down.
I remember sitting there with… honestly? So much judgment and misunderstanding. I remember thinking how this woman was so dramatic and clearly just didn’t know how to handle her young babe. But karma has gotten me well.
Not only did my first baby get two teeth by eight weeks old, but I also got my first two wisdom teeth at the same time. And for those of you who need the reminder, it was awful. I couldn’t sleep properly because my mouth was throbbing, I didn’t want to eat anything because everything that touched my teeth bothered me, but yet I couldn't stop myself from constantly touching them with something. Anything, in fact—my tongue, my straw, my spoon. I was constantly rubbing things on my gums trying to find comfort. Okay babies, I hear you: This SUCKS.
Skylar (my first), I admit, was a much more gracious teether than I. Truth be told, we didn’t even realize she was teething until the two little buds were already in. But don’t let that fool you into thinking teething was easy with her. You see, early teethers in some ways are the worst. They are too young and uncoordinated to hold teething toys, and even with you holding and guiding the toys they can’t seem to get them in the right spot in their mouth to get relief. Not to mention, their “flinging flanging” (are you finishing the line too, Friends fans?) mouths are so small they can barely fit most teething toys into them! I remember at one point I got so frustrated I tried to get her to chew on an ice cube, thinking it would help (note: it’s a messy idea that doesn't work).
Our experience with teething has been not only different for each child, but also different for each age. A toddler who’s teething can present really differently from a small baby who’s teething. We’ve seen teething symptoms from simply rosy cheeks and drool all the way to not sleeping for two weeks, constant crying, not eating, and not wanting to be put down. Sometimes it’s really obvious it’s their teeth, and sometimes it’s not.
So you want to know what to expect? Let’s talk teething!
How will I know my baby is teething?
In younger babies some of the more common teething symptoms can be:
- Change in sleep pattern
- Increased drool
- Rosy cheeks
- Swollen gums
- Increased desire to nurse
In older babies additional symptoms can be:
- Chewing on, let’s face it, anything
- Not wanting things in or around their mouth
- Preferring cold or softer foods
Can my baby be teething without any symptoms?
Absolutely! Not all babies/children will be as affected by teething.
How long do teething symptoms last?
Totally depends on the baby! Some of my kids had no symptoms and there was just suddenly a tooth. Some of my kids seemed bothered for only a day or two with each tooth, and sometimes only select teeth. Others were bothered for weeks, even months, before the teeth came in—sometimes even after the teeth had come in!
What can I do to help my baby?
Honestly, that also really depends on the babe! Over the years and over the babies I’ve tried so many different teething products and tips and tricks. Some have worked, and some haven’t. Below I’ve listed my teething must-haves you can add to your baby registry, to hopefully save you some time and, more important, some sleep!
Sophie la Giraffe
For the last ten years or so, Sophie the Giraffe has been the playdate must-have. In addition to the fact that babies adore her, her long shape is easy for them to grab and hold.
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Oli & Carol
Oli & Carol is my new favourite teething brand! It is all-natural rubber, and the way it rubs on the gums both itches and soothes the discomfort. Not to mention the designs are the cutest.
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Loveys (fabric pieces usually attached to a little clip or tie) are one of the few things I’ve found that are great for really early teethers. They’re much easier for them to hold and maneuver while they’re learning better hand-eye coordination.
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Another fabulous option for early teethers. Since the mitt goes straight on their hand it’s easier for them to learn to chew on it.
Breast Milk Frozen Teether
This is a fabulous alternative to my ice cube idea (whoops) and another good one for early teethers. I made my own breast milk popsicles with my first two, and they were great but really hard to do. I’m so glad there’s an easy mould on the market now. I found this with my fourth, and it was a game changer.
With an older baby you can freeze produce and put it in these mesh feeders. A great teething option.
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I always give my babies a baby toothbrush to play with and gnaw on. Teething can be really itchy on the gums, and I find the bristles of the soft toothbrush can really help.
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Frozen Teething Ring
Frozen teething rings are a great essential to have in your freezer for a bad teething day! They are one of the easier teething toys to maneuver, making them a good option for younger teethers.
If your baby is really uncomfortable and none of the teething toys are working, you can consider an over-the-counter natural remedy or over-the-counter pain medicine.
*Always consult with your doctor before giving your baby any natural remedy or medicine.
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About the Writer
Canadian blogger Savannah Walsh is the mom of five little ones and the face behind That Caffeinated Mom, where she talks pregnancy, birth, postpartum struggles, and everyday mom life in her own relatable and very candid storytelling style. Savannah has created a space for moms from all walks of life to connect over motherhood by telling the real-life story of a regular mom, including the tough parts of motherhood we sometimes shy away from. When Savannah had her first baby, she knew very little about the mom world and quickly felt overwhelmed by the number of options available to her, from baby brands to parenting advice. Over the years, she’s tried just about every baby and kid product there is, along with developing her own parenting style and devising ways to stay sane while balancing a busy household. Savannah joins us every month on MyRegistry to share her stories, mom tips, and favorite baby products.
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