Life is great until it happens: your career is looking good, your family is happy, all is peaceful on the home front and then, for no apparent reason, your child begins drooling excessively, crying for no visible reason, and waking up in the middle of the night – you have a teething toddler. It seems all too cruel: your child has been sleeping through the night peacefully and then WHAM – they start teething. Not only are you both sleep deprived now, but irritability has gone through the roof and whatever harmony was present in your home is now gone. What is worse is that the teething period can last up to two or three years. Great.
As a parent, it may seem like a joke. After all, you’ve already spent the first year getting up every couple of hours to breastfeed and since your mom-senses have kicked in you wake up at the sound of a fly buzzing at your neighbor’s house. Finally, FINALLY your child sleeps through the night, and just as you are getting comfortable Mother Nature says, “Lol, one sec.” Luckily for us, there are remedies for teething toddlers to help them (and us) get a full night’s rest and not wake up so grumpy. But before we go there, it is good to know what symptoms to look out for in your teething toddler.
Common Symptoms of Teething Toddlers
- Restlessness – That dull throb becomes more apparent at night when there is nothing to distract your child from the pain. So if they cry a little longer before dozing off, or wake up frequently throughout the night, this is why.
- Excess drool – That’s right! Your child will have drool to spare and it will be all over the place: on your clothes, on his clothes, on the toys, on your laptop even! Usually drooling is a sign of teeth coming in and can create other problems such as rashes on the face and neck, gagging and vomiting. While I haven’t seen this in all children, it is still a potential problem. I am blessed to say my daughter didn’t have this issue, but I have seen other children who have had trouble with gagging and vomiting. The excess drool can also lead to watery stools.
- Irritability – Your child may or may not be more irritable. Gone are the days where the toothless grins and belly laughs grace your happy household. While your child will still laugh and have fun, keep in mind that there may be periods where that dull throbbing pain is too much for them. One of the things you can do as a parent is find something to distract them such as engaging in a new activity or taking somewhere they have never been before. Most kiddies like to go exploring.
- Change in Appetite – A change in appetite is normal when your tummy is upset, especially if you are gagging and drooling non-stop. Do your best not to panic if your little one isn’t as excited at mealtimes as they used to be. If it really bothers you, make an appointment with your pediatrician and listen to their suggestions.
- The tendency to put various items in their mouths – As their little teeth begin pushing through their gums, they naturally aid it by chewing or sucking on a multitude of items; really whatever is within their reach! So be sure to keep anything potentially harmful up high or stored away where they can’t grab it. If you don’t want it in their mouth, keep it out of sight.
Even if your child is really suffering from those little molars pushing through the gums, there are many things you can do at home to help relieve your child from the pain.
Remedies for Teething
- Start massaging gums after meals as soon as baby is born;
- Cold washcloth;
- Cold teething rings (check often to make sure baby hasn’t bitten through it);
- Patience and love.
I especially think the last bullet-point is important for parents. If there has ever been a time in your life where you didn’t feel good or experienced a dull throb for months on end, then you have a pretty good idea of what your child is going through. Of course, all children are different and results may vary. Some children breeze through their teething period effortlessly while others experience more pain and irritability. And we all know that if baby isn’t happy, no one is happy.
One way you can set you and your baby up for success BEFORE they become a teething toddler is by massaging your child’s gums after meals as soon as the baby is born. It will be easier to get them into the habit of brushing their teeth later while getting them used to sensations on their gums. It also desensitizes their gums so that when their baby teeth start pushing through, it doesn’t feel so painful for them.
Wishing you long restful nights with your toddler!
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