As we all know, every child teethes! Some babies pop out sporting a tooth, while most will have their first tooth appear around 5-6 months. By age 2, most toddlers will have a mouth full of 20 beautiful, new teeth. If you think about it, that is a lot of work for a baby’s mouth and gums. It’s also a lot of work for the parents of that growing child. Every parent I speak with has a different story. Some children aren’t at all fazed by the process while others are miserable for months.
My kids, now 5 and 3, were on the miserable end of the scale. They both started teething very early. My first child would cry and gnaw on everything from crib rails and fingers to washcloths. Although the teething process started early, she was late to have her first teeth appear and had only 2 teeth on her first birthday.
I remember so clearly how helpless I felt seeing my child in pain. I tried everything to help her: natural remedies, breastfeeding, medication, massage, and teething toy after teething toy. What I found was that she seemed to teethe best on items that I didn’t want in her mouth! Can you relate?
On my journey as a mother and in starting a teething toy company, I have learned many valuable things. Here are a few important lessons that I’d like to share.
1. Teething is a process.
Your child will need a variety of tools to help ease the pain. Sometimes they need hard surfaces to help the teeth move closer to the gumline. Sometimes they need cool surfaces to ease sore, swollen gums as the teeth surface. Follow your child’s lead.
2. Keep things simple!
Be aware of chemicals and possible toxins that are in items your baby is chewing on. The more natural the product is, the better it is for your baby. That being said, you always need to make sure the items you give your child are not choking hazards. One easy way to test if something is potentially dangerous is to perform the “toilet paper roll test”. If an object you’re considering giving your child falls easily through the centre of a toilet paper roll, your child could choke on it.
3. This too shall pass.
On those REALLY hard days, when you feel helpless and your child is rashy, drooly, and uncomfortable, remember, the teeth will come in eventually and the discomfort will ease. I have learned from my experience working at a children’s hospital that a child can feel their parent’s stress and anxiety. As much as possible, in those times of unrest, try to stay calm. Perhaps sing to your child. It can be a great way to distract you both and bring comfort to the situation.
Enjoy the journey,