the ying & yang of teething

ying & yang

I will start off by saying that that teething SHOULD NOT cause any serious problems in a baby! A paediatrician from Montreal (a certain Dr Carl Cummings) has said that “the longer a symptom lasts, the less likely it is to be from teething” He goes on to say that “if a baby is fretful four or five nights instead of one or two, if diarrhoea continues for more than a day, or if a fever is higher than 38.5οC, you should be calling a doctor instead of blaming an incisor”.

So it seems that all symptoms which we might normally blame on “teething” might be indeed blamed on that pearly white popping out as long as the symptoms are mild and do not last longer than a day or two. Such are the delights of teething!

One should always remember that all the symptoms such as fever, restless nights, diarrhoea and irritability should be mild (other than the incessant drooling which seems to start months before a tooth appears and seems to last forever!).

There is hope for some moms though, as some babies don’t blink an eyelid when teething!  My youngest son was one such baby….at 8 months he smiled at me one morning and, to my amazement, he had cut his FOUR front teeth during the night (or so it seemed!) without a whimper! Maybe I had just never noticed them coming through???  With my eldest, I could see the tooth trying to make an appearance, but he, too, did not get a fever, had no sleepless nights or runny tummy. Just the inevitable drooling was evident!!

sudden appearance

However, I think that there are an awful lot of babies out there who do not take easily to cutting a tooth!! The key thing to remember is that teething is a perfectly normal event in a baby’s life and as such, any of the symptoms associated with teething should be mild, not severe – especially the fever and any diarrhoea – and they should only last a day or two (apart from the drooling which seems to go on forever!)

So, what can you do about it? Let’s tackle each symptom one by one!

1: Rash

If your baby develops a rash caused by all that saliva, all you can do really is to gently wash with warm water and pat it dry, followed by gentle application of a lanolin ointment.

2: Diarrhoea

This is generally mild and shouldn’t require any treatment. Just make sure your baby stays well hydrated (try to avoid milk, IF you can!) and if the runny tummy lasts more than 2-3 days a visit to the doctor may be in order. Baby might have picked up a bug from all the things he will be chewing on!!

3: Fever

This should be very low grade – no more than 38.5οC. If it is a little higher you could try to make baby cooler (use less blankets and clothing), and at the same time, it would be wise to ask the advice of your baby’s paediatrician, as teething should not cause a baby’s temperature to rise more than the 38.5οC mark.

4: Coughing or gagging

All that saliva going down baby’s throat can cause him to cough or gag. Pat him gently on the back and maybe give him a little water to drink and a comfort cuddle.

Basically, teething is really a ying & yang event. Some babies suffer, others don’t and at the end, one has a gleaming white toothed smile! From the cutting of the first tooth to the final appearance of number 20 is a long way to go so, to those moms with teething babies, hang on tight and be prepared to give lots of cuddles and lots of love and exhibit endless patience!!

Yours in photography


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