By Liz Emis, mama to Jack
Ear pulling? Yes. Coughing? Yes. Slight fever? Check.
So you think your little one is sick.
But, if he or she is more than four months old, you might just be dealing with teething. In our house, Jack is dealing with his ninth and tenth teeth right now. And in our case, teeth don’t get easier to cut over time!
Here’s a good way to diagnose teeth vs. a cold, symptoms to watch for, and a few products I’ve found really help.
Once your newborn approaches four months old, he or she is ripe for cutting teeth.
Jack started exhibiting signs around this time, but it was six or eight more weeks before his bottom two popped through.
Yes, it can take that long. Things to look for:
1. Constant drool: if your little one drools on everything, heads up. This is one of the beginning steps in the human body’s digestive system, and it’s just a sign that things are cooking.
2. Rash: does her face or diaper area look red? Not all pediatricians subscribe to this theory, but as the drooling begins, the saliva becomes more acidic. Sometimes this leads to diaper rash and/or a pink rash on their faces.
3. Coughing: that saliva is needing to leave their mouth one way or another. And as much as you watch it drip out on teething rings and frozen washcloths, just as much drains down their throats, producing a cough. Not to worry, this is normal.
4. Fever: feeling a bit warm? And nothing above 102 degrees rectal? That is just their bodies adjusting to the inflammation of their gums. Many doctors don’t like to associate fever with teething, but many nurses and seasoned mamas certainly do!
5. Runny or stuffy nose: this one I figured out just a couple weeks ago. Unlike with his first eight teeth, this time, Jack’s nose got runny in addition to his cough. And everything, yes everything, was going in the back of his mouth to be chewed. We think he’s cutting molars, some of the most dreaded teeth because they have a large surface area that takes longer to fully poke through the gum line. If your baby’s nose is stuffy or runny and it’s mostly clear, there’s likely no cold, it’s just teeth.
So, how long could this last?
Generally, teeth come in pairs, so once you see signs, it could be two to four weeks before both pop through. Then, just wait for the signs to begin again for the next set.
Now, how do you help?
Naps are harder, nursing, bottle feeding and real food meals are difficult too. So how can you help baby ease his pain?
Nothing has helped me more than Hyland’s Teething Tablets. They are homeopathic, and are the number one infant oral pain reliever in America. Plus, Hyland’s has a 24-hour hotline with pharmacists ready to answer any questions. Their website also gives a detailed ingredient list and an explanation of what each ingredient does for each teething symptom.
We give Jack two or three tablets (that dissolve instantly) before each nap and before bedtime. Since a well rested baby is a happy baby, these tablets have been a lifesaver. You can pick these up at Walmart and at any drugstore.
As for the runny nose and cough Jack’s got as part of this teething round, running a humidifier with some eucalyptus in it and putting Vicks on his feet and on the backs of his ears for naps works wonders.
Hope this helps as your baby begins one of his first steps into the adult world of big boy teeth!!
About Liz: Liz Emis has spent more than 12 years in the communication industry. Beginning on the East Coast as a reporter for outlets like The Boston Globe, Orlando Sentinel and The Baltimore Sun, she moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2004 to write for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Three years later, she transitioned to public relations, branding and marketing, working on both the agency and client sides. In 2010, she added product development to her résumé, spending more than three years at Tyson Foods, Inc. in Springdale, Ark. Liz welcomed her first child, Jackson Gaines Emis, to the world in October 2013, and now uses her communication and organization skills as a stay-at-home mother to her eight-month-old son. As a domestic engineer, Liz has added financial analyst, counselor, chef, project manager, teacher, diagnostician, comedian, housecleaner and efficiency expert to her skill set. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.