Why Teething Doesn't Cut it With Me
- By Emma Reed -
As a first-time Mum I had little knowledge on teething and as most of the leaflets I was handed by the Health Visitor were on breastfeeding and post-natal depression I had no clue as to when teething would begin, how long it would go on for or how quickly each tooth would appear so when, at six weeks old, he started to show signs I knew I needed to get some answers. He was displaying the 'typical' signs of dribbling and chewing and when the health visitor popped in for her scheduled appointment she confirmed that teething had most definitely begun. Her advice was to buy some Dentinox (which I had never heard of) to rub onto his gums. That was it, that was her only advice. There were no leaflets/booklets, no further information or tips and she didn't mention any other remedies which led me to believe that they would come through quite quickly and easily. How wrong I was!
His first two teeth didn’t break through the gum until he was 5 months old. He had been upset and niggly, very dribbly, chewed on his hand constantly and woke up often in the night- these nights were a killer. Once the teeth did arrive we were so relieved and our son quickly returned to his normal self. Unfortunately, babies have 20 baby teeth so our pain was nowhere near over!
Through each rumble then each eruption we experienced new symptoms, increased pain with certain teeth- canines were most definitely the worst- and more of his distress.
In January 2015 at the age of 13 months, he had 16 teeth. To put that into perspective most of his friends only had 7. We saw symptoms ranging from dribbling to pain, chewing and biting, sickness, diarrhoea, coughing, nappy rash, hiccups, earache and even eczema; it was a very tough time for my little man. I felt at a loss and as my exhaustion started tao take over I began to ask other parents for answers. I assumed that somebody somewhere would have the 'perfect' remedy. They told me of varying products on the market but not knowing what they were or what they looked like I was confused as to which to try first. I questioned family members about what they used to do, I tried hunting for a book on the development but each time I was left with very little.
I was so exhausted, so worried about my child and all of his symptoms that I visited a doctor. Her reaction was that I was a first-time parent who was over worrying and that infant paracetamol was the answer for teething problems. As for his sleeping, she just suggested I placed toys in his cot to play with when he woke…. No matter how many times I explained that he was waking and screaming in pain. There are no longer any prescription painkillers available, some doctors do not believe in teething at all and most certainly do not recommend natural remedies such as teething granules or amber. The only remedy I could be given was a steroid cream for his eczema.
During his teething days, I also had to visit a dentist after a large swelling appeared where one of his pre-molars was trying to cut; which I assumed was an infection. The dentist explained to me that it was, in fact, a cyst which was the result of the tooth rubbing on the gum from below and causing irritation. The only thing I could do was wait for it to pop so the tooth could appear. I had never heard of this and, as with everything around teething, I'd not had any information on the fact this could happen. After several days of pain, the cyst did actually pop that night and once the initial pain and bleeding stopped he was much happier.
By August 2015 he had still not had his final 4 teeth arrive yet he had shown signs since the start of the year- he had been in pain, dribbly, his eczema had become more severe and the sleepless nights were affecting all of us. I decided that after another failed trip to the doctors for answers that I would do my own research and find out all I could on this development. It turns out that because each child teethes differently there is still very little known and previous research has shown too many anomalies to be deemed as scientifically effective. There isn’t even an agreed conclusion as to how teeth are pushed up through a gum. We know that babies can be born with teeth and that they form inside the gums during the 8th week of pregnancy. The adult teeth form during the 20th week. The information I was finding was so interesting that I couldn’t believe there wasn't a book or leaflets available to inform parents.
I was giving my friend some teething advice one day over a cuppa and she joked that I should write the book! I laughed it off... but something there just stuck. Why not? Why not help other parents? If there had been a book when I needed it, I would have bought one. I sat down and began to write, scribbling in a notepad, using the internet, planning the chapters and so on. I contacted the largest teething companies who all gave their input, I spoke to other parents, I gained insight into how teething is perceived and I took all my experiences to research every area that I had wanted to know about. It shouldn’t be down to us as parents to spend our time testing and trying remedies, wasting time researching what is available via the internet and guessing what is wrong with our little ones. There are so many areas we already have to learn about and, from my own experience, by the time I worked out which product worked for which symptom he had already gone through the toughest time. A place to have all of that laid out for you was what was needed.
It certainly wasn’t all plain sailing but it became a labour of love. It is a topic which I still believe is very much overlooked in the baby world and as every single person goes through the teething process this seems ludicrous. I have read reports from health practitioners claiming that teething is a myth but after watching my child go through it all I can confidently say that I disagree with this, as I am sure many other parents will.
The book covers what teething is, what order the teeth appear, the function of each tooth, the history of teething, remedies on the market, the symptoms which appear with teething, old wives’ tales, remedies from around the world and oral care. I wanted to create a one-stop, easy to read guide for all parents, not just first-time ones.
I can now happily say that my son has all 20 of his teeth (the large molars came in 2016 so we had quite a wait!) and our teething worries are far behind us. I wouldn't wish our experience on anyone else but if I can help just a handful of worn-out parents and their distressed babies due to it, I will be very happy.
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