Scout was 13 weeks old on 6 April (she was also three months old on that day) and we welcomed the new month with saliva, crankiness and tears, lots and lots of tears!
My little, sweet and predictable baby changed overnight because of the dreaded phase that is set to last us much of the next year: teething.
I’d noticed that she’d been bringing her hands to her mouth for about two weeks but my friends and the internet dismissed it as her having discovered her mouth; I accepted the explanation and didn’t fret too much because everything else, including her sleeping pattern and behaviour, had not changed, so I didn’t have anything to worry about yet. And then Monday 6 April happened and I found myself trying to comfort my child who had gone red in the face while screaming like she had not done before. I was caught off guard and felt a little unprepared for the change that happened so suddenly. We gave her 1ml of Ponado syrup and she settled soon after; she slept well and Wes and I breathed a head-shaking, wide-eyed sigh of relief at having managed our first scream of discomfort.
The next days I was on the phone with my bestie and aunt and, upon their advice and that of my paediatrician, I went to the store and purchased some teething gel and a teething ring that I can place in the fridge; apparently the cold feel eases the itch. I also found a gum massager in the drawer at home and am eternally grateful to the person who gifted it to me at one of my baby showers. It was only day two but I was armed and prepared for the crisis, should it arise. And it did! Around bedtime she felt a little warmer than usual and, once again, my usually cuddle to settle and put her down was just not working, so we turned to the Ponado syrup and were able to settle her again.
But I decided after day two that I did not want to turn to medicine to soothe my baby and so we have had to come up with a new plan for our bedtime routine because, assessing it about a week later, it clearly wasn’t working anymore.
I started using the gum massager and teething ring during some of her play time and, unexpectedly, have had many laughs at her facial expressions and sounds of satisfaction while mouthing away. I guess it is a silver lining in all the change, that there are smiles amidst her drools of need.
Since, we have modified our bedtime routine. We still read to her during her bedtime feed and pray together as a family but I make sure that I am available to lay with her should she not go down after the night time feed. If she doesn’t fall asleep on her own after about 30 minutes Wesley then steps in and does the walk about to put her to sleep. So we have gone from having our baby sleep by 8:30pm to her going down for the first time after 9pm. As the weather cools we will start bathing her even earlier but that means changing her daytime routine as well and I’m just about managing what’s happening at night, so we will adjust things once we have a handle on our current situation.
Fast forward a few weeks (she is now seventeen weeks old) and we have sort of mastered her temperament now that she is teething; I say sort of because nothing prepares you for a day when she does not nap or for an altered nighttime experience because she is uncomfortable. But we have learnt to manage our expectations and accept that, at times, the routine will fly out of the window because her discomfort needs our patience and love. I have enjoyed watching her chew her fingers while chatting in a mixture of moans and screams. I also smiled and cringed that she’d started sucking her thumb; I sucked my thumb as a baby and got out of it okay but my poor brother went on to have braces as he’d pushed his teeth out of his mouth, only kicking the habit towards the end of primary school. I’m not rushing to stop her just yet and will accept any judgement at my complaints should it prove to be a problem at a later stage!
So what has helped us up until this point? Keeping to her sleep/wake routine as best as we can has been the trick to it all. We try two hours awake and then a nap during the day; thankfully she sleeps through the night and the teething has not disturbed that at this stage. The gum massager, Ponado and Teejel have been absolute life savers when we are desperate but, on the whole, we find that her hands have done a pretty good job at keeping her pacified. It has meant that we need to sanitise her hands and toys regularly as they all make their way to her mouth. I know that we are only at the beginning of her journey and that we are in for a ride as those tiny teeth work towards showing themselves in a few months’ time.
Have you enjoyed this post? Moms, please share parts of your journey with teething children in the comments section! I would love to read you experiences.
Until my next post,