Sunday, 17 May 2015

The 'T' Word..

Pre baby I knew nothing on the subject of teething. Absolutely nothing.
 I'd often read status's on Facebook, people telling of their little loves cutting teeth
and to be honest I hadn't the faintest idea what they were talking about, cutting teeth was a phrase so incredibly foreign to me.
Seven months into parenthood and i've come to the conclusion that teething is yet another one of those unspoken things that we keep hush hush, only to be discussed with fellow members of the Mum Club. If discussed to childless women in too much detail, right down to the nitty gritty, people wouldn't willingly reproduce any more.
OK, that's maybe a little melodramatic, but you get my point.
Teething is horrendous.

It seems to strike when all is going swimmingly, when you're finally getting the hang of the weird and wonderful world of parenthood. You've established a good routine, your baby is no longer a complete stranger, you know them inside out and recognise all their little signals- hungry, overtired, overstimulated, restless, bored etc etc etc
When out of nowhere you're suddenly mothering the spawn of Satan. 
That handy wee routine you had going is out the window, you're back to seeing every hour on the clock and experiencing random bouts of manic wailing while poor Sophie La Giraffe is being ruthlessly decapitated.
It suddenly makes so much sense why they're so accurately named 'dribble bibs'- How can such a tiny human produce so much salivia?! Everything in your baby's eye line becomes chewable, the tv remote, their comforter, your knuckles! The teething nappies that the 'experts' claim are myth, are in fact real and those little scarlet cheeks are so hot you could probably cook your eggs off them. (But isn't there something outrageously cute about them?!)

Teething in my opinion, is horrific for all involved.There is nothing worse than witnessing your little one in pain, especially when they can't vocally communicate what the problem is,
which is why it's a good idea to stock the cupboards with remedies for when teething strikes.
 Little E has had her fair share of horrendous nights due to teething (the days tend to be more manageable as she can be easily distracted with toys/sights and sounds around her) We've tried and tested lots of different products over the last few months and to be honest, we haven't found a Holy Grail product, nothing has eliminated the pain completely - it's just been a matter of perseverance, a positive mind frame (keep reminding yourself that it won't last forever...tomorrow will be a better day) and shower them with lots of cuddles and TLC.
Although we haven't found a miracle product, yet,  there have been plenty that have definitely helped, which i've discussed below.

Dentinox teething gel: Dentinox was the very first teething remedy we came across in Boots and decided to give it a go, it's gel based, sugar free and suitable to use from birth. It has a minty unoffensive taste and works by numbing the pain of the gums as well as eliminating potential infection. t's easy to administer, just a dab on the gums with a clean, damp finger.
Pros: Temporarily numbs the pain, can be repeated after 20 minutes, a pleasant, sugar free taste. Inexpensive and widely available.( A friend told me she's spotted it in a pound shop!)
Cons: Not a long lasting pain relief, it tends to slide off the gums quite easily. Doesn't tend to be as effective at night when teething pain seems to intensify.
Similar products: Baby Bonjela, Calgel, Nelson's Teetha gel, Boots own brand.

Anbesol Liquid: When Eva first starting showing signs of teething Anbesol was recommended to me the most by other mums, I honestly don't know why we didn't pick it up sooner. After a hunt around my local Boots I discovered it was kept behind the counter and the lovely customer advisor told me that their head pharmacist swears by the stuff and uses it on her own babies. Anbesol contains a local anesthetic and numbs the affected area and can be used by all ages for many different problems for example: Ulcers, denture irritation, toothache.  It is a great deal stronger than your average teething gel and being a liquid I find it absorbs into the gums giving it more staying power.
Pros: A stronger alternative when baby is having a particularly bad teething day. I've tried it on my own gums and was taken back by how well it actually numbs the area.
Cons: Slightly more costly than gels/granules  (Anbesol is priced at £5.59) however, a little goes a long way. It has a  stronger, more unpleasant taste - not for everybody- Stuart despises the stuff and personally won't use it on Eva- saying it's too strong, where as I prefer to use it on bad days and find it effective! Each to their own, eh?

Teething Granules: Like many teething remedies, teething granules can be a bit of a Marmite product. Being homeopathic there is speculation on whether they do anything at all to aid the pain of teething. As there is absolutely no scientific proof that they do anything at all, it takes a bit of trial and error to see how your baby responds to them, but generally speaking we've always had a good experience  and tend to reach for the granules first when teething strikes, simply as they're a more natural alternative. Teething powders/granules come in boxes of individual sachets and can be poured straight into baby's mouth or rubbed around the gums with a clean, damp finger.

We prefer to use Nelson's Teetha but have also used Ashton and Parsons as well as Boots own in the past and to be completely honest I wouldn't say there's a great deal of difference between them, 'Teetha' just seems to be more available in our local supermarkets and chemists so that's why we pick it up!
Pros: A more natural alternative and side effective free. As they come in small sachets they are perfect for carrying in the side pocket of a changing bag.
Cons: Do they really work?, no one knows!
Similar products: Ashton & Parsons Infants Powders, Boots Teething Pain Relief.

Infant Nurofen/Calpol: Ol' trusty Calpol. We've all been subjected to the sickly, sweet taste of Calpol at some stage in our lives, haven't we? and even though generations have passed, Calpol still seems to be the go-to solution in the medicine cupboard - It's been modernised slightly - they've finally ditched the little white plastic spoon  (which always seemed to crack) and been replaced with a syringe device that left me highly confused the first time I went to use it, I shamefully had to read the instructions.. #mummyfail.
I reserve Calpol for more severe bouts of teething as it contains paracetamol but find it extremely effective, particularly at night time when the pain seems to flare up. We recently swapped Calpol for Infant Nurofen after a recommendation from another mummy and I have to say I prefer it. Nurofen is Ibruofen based (where as Calpol is Paracetamol based) What's the difference you ask? I had no idea until I read up on the Calpol website

'As a painkiller, paracetamol is thought to block the production of certain substances in your body when you are ill or hurt to make your body block the pain signals to your brain'

'Ibuprofen is a different sort of drug from paracetamol. When someone is unwell their body may produce certain chemicals which cause inflammation and pain. Ibuprofen can block the production of those chemicals to help reduce pain and is also an anti-inflammatory drug.'

I swear i'm not being sponsored by Calpol, I'm just an paranoid mummy who likes to do her research... promise!.

Pros: Not only aids with teething pain,but lowers temperature/earache/post immunisation fever - a must-have in the medicine cupboard. Has a pleasant Strawberry flavour. Can be used from two months old and is available in sachet form - fantastic for the baby bag- no more hauling about a sticky glass bottle!
Cons: After the first dose it is recommended to leave between 4-6 hours before the next, a long ol' day if those gums are particularly inflamed!
Similar Products: Boots Paracetamol 3 months plus/ Boots Ibuprofen 3 months plus.

Sometimes you just don't want to give your baby medicines, for whatever reason and there is plenty of other teething aids to rely on.

Sophie La Giraffe: A major cult product but really does help those little gums. She is made from natural rubber,  the perfect shape for baby to hold on to and has lots of different grooves for baby to get his/her mouth around. Also lets not glaze over the fact that Sophie is  ridiculously cute.

Teething Rings: Are great for popping in the fridge or freezer (check instructions first though!) to soothe and stimulate those sore little gums. There are so many different brands to use from but  I find Nuby to be a reliable brand- their products are brightly coloured and are BPA free.

Tommee Tippee Gummy Teether: It took Eva ages to get used to this little contraption but she's coming around to the idea of it! Stuart simply places it into her mouth (and holds it) while Eva chomps down on the hard ridged rubber - A couple of minutes with it and it takes the edge off the pain. It's like a little mouthguard!

Toothbrush: I read somewhere to lightly massage your baby's gums with the head of a (new, clean) baby toothbrush to stimulate and soothe gums. We purchased a Baby Oral kit from Mothercare during my pregnancy which came with 3 different bits: a gum massager, a 'finger' toothbrush and a larger toddler brush. It's came in quite handy but you can always use a clean, damp finger and massage the gums yourself.

Food: Recently i've been buying carrot battons and melon slices for Eva to chew on.. I keep them in the fridge so they're nice and chilled and she loves gnawing away on them, even if she doesn't eat them it really soothes the gums and acts as a great distraction from the pain. If your baby is too young to be dabbling with finger foods unaided I highly reccomend the Nuby Nibber net. Stuart came home with this handy contraption from Tescos when we first started introducing finger foods but were over paranoid of her choking.

You simply place a piece of food in the net and screw the little lid around. The food is locked in there and baby can work away sucking the food through the net.. You could place chilled fruit such as strawberries, mango, melon.. etc! However, have baby wipes at the ready and expect mess. Lots of mess.

These are just a few of my personal favourites and are all my own opinions, I haven't been approached or paid by any brands to feature any products, it's just been a great deal of trial and error over the last few months.

Is there anything in particular that you use for teething??
I can't get my head around Amber necklaces/anklets.. has anyone tried one?


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