“She's not sick, she's teething.” Does it seem like every time baby pops a new tooth they are sick?! I'm starting to become a teething expert even though Johanna only has 5 teeth. It's pretty cool how I can recognize almost immediately that she is teething. It makes for good use of remedies really early to avoid a miserable week for her. It seems like we've been through so many weeks of teething. Seriously, babies should not have to go through this!
Here's some statistics for you! Each tooth takes about 3-4 days to come in. Once baby starts showing signs of teething, you'll likely feel a bump on their gums where the tooth or teeth are coming in at. Once you see the white tooth pop through, pain and symptoms should dissipate. Typically, babies begin teething around 6 months and have all of their teeth at 3 years. They first get the front bottom teeth, then the front top teeth (it is normal and a good thing for them to have a gap between the front top teeth) then the incisors and the rest around them. The back teeth typically don't start coming in until the toddler phase.
It can be really difficult to tell if your baby is teething or if they are sick. Before having Johanna, I had absolutely no idea that teething symptoms can resemble an ear infection or a cold. Imagine my dramatic personality freaking out when she started pulling at her ears! So, when baby gets really irritable, has a rough time sleeping and just seems generally uncomfortable, give them a teething ring and see what they do. If they start chomping down and it seems like they are relieved, then they are likely teething. You can also stick your finger in their mouth to feel around for those little bumps. In Johanna's case, she got her bottom 2 teeth at the same time and the top 2 teeth at the same time. Poor girl! I guess it was better to just get them out of the way!
Symptoms of a baby teething include irritability, trouble sleeping for long periods of time, runny nose, runny eyes, congestion, pulling at the ears, fever, excessive drooling, chewing on any and everything and diaper rash. Sounds pretty miserable right? So, you agree that babies should not have to go through this! It's quite sad and really there are limited things you can do for them. Sometimes you just have to snuggle them closely, let them sleep in your arms and wait out those 3 to 4 days.
I remember Johanna was teething on a work week and sending her to daycare in that shape was difficult. Luckily, distraction is a great remedy for her! Some other remedies include giving baby a teething ring or teething mitt (read about it under Johanna's favorite baby items), giving baby a frozen washcloth or frozen waffles, rubbing baby's ears and jaw line, rubbing lavender mixed with coconut oil on their chest (helps with the runny nose), a lukewarm bath, tylenol for pain (I usually only give this as a last resort), feedings sitting up, crunchy teething bars and any kind of motion such a stroller ride or car ride to help baby get some rest.
The American Pediatric Association advises using tylenol as a last resort and never using numbing gels. I don't want to scare any new Mama's (I'm raising my hand as one of the scared Mama's) but the benzocaine in numbing gels can cause the throat to also become numb increasing the risk of choking. It can also cause the reducing of oxygen to baby's bloodstream. So the APA advises trying the other remedies. Tylenol as a last resort is recommended because well medicine is just not a great first option for a baby. However, if baby has a temperature of 100.4, tylenol should be used to reduce it.
I hope this helps you Mama's trying to figure out the dreaded teething days for your baby. The human body can be miraculous but it can also be quite complicated and difficult to understand. I like to know these things like specific symptoms and remedies just so I can relieve Johanna of any discomfort she has. She can't talk to me but Google can! Good luck Mama's!