[UPDATED] The Teething Chronicles: Part 2

Houston, we have a tooth! Just a day after we celebrated RJ’s half-birthday, his first little peg, as my grandfather calls it, made its appearance. It was 6am and I felt it with my finger at first, and got really excited. My excitement woke up The Man, who in turn also got very excited through his half opened eyes. Now, several days later, every time we see the little tiny glimmer in his mouth or happen to feel it when he nibbles our noses and fingertips, we both squeal with joy, and maybe a little pain. Let’s face it, the tip of a new tooth is sharp as shit and baby thinks it’s funny when we wince in pain.

It’s amazing how something that we have had no part in making can make us both so giddy with excitement, and fear. Obviously, it’s the idea that our little boy is growing up and this is a surefire sign that we’re moving into completely new territory. On one side, I think we use these heightened levels of excitement to curb our fear that our baby is slowly, but surely leaving that new baby stage. And this scares us because it means that soon, we won’t be able to carry him so easily, soon he’ll be more interested in solid foods than nursing, soon he’ll be walking and climbing, and talking. Teeth, more than our boy gaining weight or looking just a few centimeters taller, or even rolling around, is a clear signal that he’s growing up, right before our eyes. Yes, all of this from seeing the sight of that first itty bitty tooth. But they are, of course, a welcome reward after sleepless nights and endless chewing on just about everything.

My true fear, though,  comes in the form of the possibility of bitten nipples. Just the thought of that makes me cringe.My harmless baby Toothless, as we like to call him, is not so toothless anymore.

“Not so Toothless”

Harking back to Part 1 of this series, I told you all a little about the different remedies we had put to use to ease some of his frustrations and teething pain, and now, I suppose I can report back since we have something to show for it. I will dare to say that everything worked. Although we had some fussy nights, there were only a handful where I truly felt like we didn’t sleep much at all, other nights, he experienced heavy restlessness as soon as I got him down, and maybe we spent an extra hour or so trying to get him into a deep sleep. So overall, I think the amber necklace has really helped tremendously, compared to hearing of other moms’ teething experiences. A lot of his fussiness actually happens throughout the day. If he’s not distracted by a toy or us playing with him, I think the pain is a little more acute. When he’s awake and seems in pain (I can usually tell because he’s chewing vigorously on whatever is in front of him or sort of banging it on his chest), I’ll give him a few of the Hyland’s teething tablets. I like the Chamilia a lot and it was also effective in reducing his irritation, but as I mentioned, is slightly more expensive, so once we ran out I switched to the Hyland’s and have been pleased with its effects as well. I plan on stocking up on more Chamilia, though, because I can give those more frequently if his pain continues.

If I can recommend anything though, it’s the amber necklace. I get a lot of side eye  from older relatives who think I’m some sort of new age hippie and don’t believe it works, but trust me, it does. Now, to see if it works as the bigger teeth in the back of his mouth come in. I’ll report back, but in the meantime, get you one!

Now it’s only a matter of time before that first little bugger gets a friend, and RJ will really be able to really chew. We started giving him his first solids on his 6 month birthday, and I’m introducing new foods every couple of days. So far he’s had: avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, and carrots. (Tomorrow, we’ll try some zucchini). It’s been a mix of purees and steamed and he seems to not only enjoy it, but have fun eating it.

He’s constantly trying to grab at our utensils, too. Now every time I eat something (*cough* ice cream *cough*) I can only think that in a matter of months, he’ll be asking and grabbing for it. Clearly, I have a way of seeing into the future of my little guy.  Now, I see what all those chip bag memes are about.

So there you have it, one little tooth, and I can already see my son walking across the stage at graduation! Which reminds me, I have a 1st birthday to start planning!

Mama’s, what are some of the special milestones you’ve celebrated or welcomed with little nervousness with and from your little one? Any bitten nipple victims out there? How did you manage to keep your littles from doing it again?

[UPDATE]

Since posting, I realized there were a few things I wanted to include, but completely forgot to mention (I’ll continue to blame all of my mental misteps on “mommy brain” for…ever, pretty much).

I keep touting this amber necklace business, but never told you the why or how. How the hell do a few stones on a string help ease the pain? Great question, and here’s the answer:

First off, amber (Baltic Amber in the case of the teething necklace) is the resin of ancient trees, which is pretty cool in itself. Even if I didn’t believe this necklace worked, I’d still be happy to sport one for beauty purposes. Amber contains succinic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance, which is also found in our body, that has an analgesic effect. When the amber is heated by your body, it releases its oil onto your skin and is absorbed into your blood stream, thus acting as a natural pain reliever. I have encountered many a mama that swears by these necklaces, but as i mentioned above, a lot of people also doubt its effects. Do you, boo, and if you are open to trying new things, give it a shot. I was initially worried about it being a choking hazard, but if you start your baby wearing it early enough, they might not even notice it. RJ as started to notice his when he is awake, so when I notice that, I give him a toy or teether to play with, because it seems to be out of boredom. I also plan on looking into some more wearable teethers for both of us so he can grasp onto them when I’m wearing him.

Along with the amber and other homeopathic remedies for teething, we are also using a couple of other methods. One that I recently started since we noticed the first tooth was brushing his gums. It is recommended to start  brushing routine as soon as the first tooth appears. Now that he’s eating more solids, I don’t want those sugars getting stuck in his little tooth, and it’s also nice to be able to establish this kind of routine early on so he enjoys brushing his teeth down the line. Well, while brushing, I noticed that he seemed to enjoy the feeling of the soft brush on other parts of his gums and would continue to chew and move it around his mouth after I’d finished brushing. Of course, always supervise your baby with a toothbrush, but do feel free to let them explore items on their own. Another tool in my bo is the frozen teether. The particular one we have can be filled with ice cubes, but I prefer to fill with water and store in the freezer so it’s ready to go at a moments notice. RJ really loves the cold and it keeps him busy for quite some time until it starts to melt and get too wet for hi liking. I found this one at Babies R’ Us.

Sassy-Strawberry-Terry-Teether-with--pTRU1-13357358dtSassy Infant Strawberry Teether

Ok, and finally, let’s talk about these nipples. Man, oh, man, baby teeth are no joke. I had it in my mind that RJ wouldn’t be a biter, that he’d understand the concept of pain and not to be a perpetrator of it, and literally “bite the hand that feeds him”, but no, I was sadly wrong. The boy gets a kick out of it! At the first bit, I screamed and yelled “No!”, but after doing a bit of research and talking to other moms, I now understand that that’s why they might get a kick out of it/ could get frustrated by nursing. Instead, a better alternative is to take them off of the nipple and give them something to bite, like a teether. Some moms promote a silent treatment, but that doesn’t work for me. I find myself having conversations with him, begging him to understand and rationalize with him. I think another part of my reasoning behind this is that we have dogs and I want him early on, to learn to be gentle with other living things. Whether he understands it yet, or not is not my problem. Eventually he will, so why not prime him now. As of writing, my right nipple feels like it’s about to fall off. If you’ve ever had a nipple blister, the pain is similar, but unfortunately, there is no amount of olive oil, or infant sucking that can make this pain stop. I’m just holding out hope that as he sprouts more teeth, he’ll somehow realize that there are so many other fun things to bite that aren’t nipples.

This could very well be one of those problems that throws moms off of the breastfeeding wagon. I have no plans of stopping any time soon, so I will have to get over this hump, rub a little breast milk on ’em, and keep it pushing.

Any tips from other mamas of biters?

xo

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The Black Mama

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