She Says… Teeth

Teeth. Can’t live sleep with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

Remember when I was all “oh, teething was not as bad as I expected it to be…“? Well, I take it back. This 2nd tooth is a whole different beast. I (naively) thought that the 1st one was going to be the worst, since it’s an entirely new sensation. And (silly me) I thought maybe we were in the clear since the first one passed with only a slight disturbance. Apparently I was wrong.

Owen is such a good natured little chap that he generally deals with pain/illness/discomfort very well, smiling and playing through the pain. But this chronic gum busting is taking its toll. Last night at 4:30am I heard tearful sobs (something I haven’t heard in a long time in the middle of the night). I listened for a minute to see what kind of cry it was, and it was most definitely the “something is actually wrong Ineedyoumama” cry. I kept the lights off as I lifted him from his crib and rocked him sleepily. He stopped crying immediately and I felt his tiny cheek resting against mine grow heavier and heavier as he fell asleep on my shoulder. He wasn’t wet or poopy, he wasn’t feverish, his room was comfortable… I knew the culprit had to be that blasted second tooth pushing its way through his gums.

It has broken the surface, so we’re past the razor tooth and weird poop stage, which I thought was the hard part. But this one seems to be giving him a really hard time as it keeps pushing out. Yesterday he kept scratching at his two (adorable) teeth with his tiny little fingernails, making a half-yelling, half-fussing noise that’s like a frustrated “aaaaaaaaargh!” sound. Poor kid. How awful to have your mouth ache all day long.

I don’t like giving a lot of medicine, but ibuprofen seems to help a TON. I can tell because the scream-whining stops for a few hours and starts back up again when the meds are about to wear off. I hate to do it around the clock, so I usually alternate with Tylenol, but Tylenol doesn’t seem to touch the pain. I even tried those herbal teething tablets. Nothin’. So Ibuprofen it is, at least until the pain becomes bearable for him.

After rocking Owen for a few minutes, I put him back in his crib and the sad little wail started again. The medicine was downstairs, and I didn’t want to wake him up by carrying him through the house (he stays in the nursery at all costs at night; I don’t want him thinking it’s super fun to get up in the middle of the night). So I put him back in his crib and ran downstairs to get the meds. By the time I got back upstairs, he was quiet.

Hallelujah! All he needed was a little rocking and he fell back asleep. Right? RIGHT?! So I jumped back into bed and fell asleep. 20 minutes later I heard that wail again. Poor thing. This time I was armed with medicine, so I picked him up out of his crib, gave him a dose, and rocked him some more.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Rock, fall asleep, back in the crib. Sad little cry emerges.

At this point it was already 5:30am, and usually I let him get up anytime after 6:00am, so I took him back into my bed (Benjamin is traveling again) for at least a little more quiet time before we started our day. Unfortunately there was no sweet, cuddly sleeping like the last time I did this. This time it was all hair pulling and fingers up my nose and kicking his little legs in the air until the covers fell off the bed. Oy. What a morning.

I’m thinking part of the problem (in addition to the razor-sharp saw cutting its way through his gums) is that he was hungry. He has been refusing most of his bottles and almost all of his food for the last few days. I assume it’s all teething related. I did a quick Google yesterday and came up with thousands of posts about babies around this age going through a period of refusing food/bottles because of teething and an increasing desire to be more independent (wanting to feed themselves, so fighting when you feed them with a spoon or hold the bottle for them). With Owen it seems to be mostly that his mouth is just so uncomfortable, all he wants to do is bite on teething toys. Sigh.

He’s not going to starve, is he? I just keep offering the same foods and the same bottles as normal, and if he wants them, great, and if not, I’m trying to just be ok with it and not make a big deal of it. But it bugs me that he’s not eating (and, ahem, wasting the expensive formula!!!).

Have you had experience with similar food/bottle strikes? Were they teething related? Anything I can do that might help his poor, sore gums?


16 responses to “She Says… Teeth

  1. Yes, they might not eat as much during teething. Try to let him have teething food like Baby Mum mums and my baby’s favorite: breadsticks. Make ’em or buy them, but it helps with the urge to gnaw.

    I do Tylenol during the day and Motrin at night. I have on occasion had to give a second dose of Motrin in the wee hours of the morning, but it generally lasts all night.

    My baby is a putz about this, but you can put frozen peas in the mesh feeder and that helps (unless he’s like mine and just THROWS it across the room).

    He’s not going to starve, he’ll eat enough and when his mouth feels better, you’ll have a few bottomless pit days, but it all evens out.

    Teething is for the birds!

  2. Paisley had diarrhea, lack of appetite, sleepiness, and terribly runny nose with her bottom 2 teeth and now the symptoms started up again 2 days ago… So I’m feeling your (well, his) pain. Hope those teeth come in quickly and let poor Owen go back to being his adorable self!

  3. @Kara, Darn allergies! I can’t think of dairy-free, wheat-free things to give him to bite on, aside from fruit. Fruit is fine, but I’d love to just give him a bagel to bite on or something. I’m at the tail end of the allergy experiment and don’t want to introduce any new foods/ingredients yet until the eczema is 100% gone and then do it one by one. Such a process!

    @Amber, YES! Owen had all of those things as well. Good to know I’m not alone in this. Every baby has to get teeth at some point 🙂

  4. Hey Kate! Not sure if you remember me emailing you a few weeks ago and asking if Owen refused his bottle at all. Chloe went about two weeks with very little formula. She ate her solids easily but NO bottle. We kept expecting teeth to pop out but nothing has yet. I remember with Lilly that she similar things and it would take a few weeks for the teeth to pop out so I hoping Chloe’s emerge soon. She seems happier in any case so I am grateful for that. Many docs will tell you that teething can’t cause any of this but as a mom who has lived through I say that’s crap. Lilly was miserable with each tooth, all the way up to her 2 year molars. Some kids have very little discomfort and some have a lot. I’m sorry you had such a rough night, especially when you are alone … that’s tough. Lilly was 7 1/2 months when all the fun started to I am expected the ride to begin again with Chloe any day now.

  5. Elizabeth McCracken

    Hi Kate, You can try putting Orajel on his gums. It numbs the gums a bit and that way you don’t have to give him as much ibuprofen. There are also 6 hundred million teether toys and ideas out there. Good luck. Teeth are no fun.

  6. Elizabeth McCracken

    Oh also- regarding food to bite on… frozen celery sticks.

  7. the mesh feeder helped me a lot, I put cold cantelope and watermelon in it, my son loved it! Also the motrin helped, I think because of the anti-inflamitory part of it

  8. Kate – I’m pretty sure the baby Mum mums are wheat free (they are just rice rusks) and I got them at Target. My baby is a HUGE fan. Also, you can just give them plain rice cakes too, but it does make a mess. I don’t know, my baby has chewing down pretty well, so if Owen doesn’t yet, maybe just stick to the Mum Mums (yes, it is the stupidest name for a product ever).

  9. The Laundry Lady

    A friend recommended frozen raspberries to me. Since they turn to mush when they defrost you can give them right out of the freezer (with supervision.) They are messy, but my daughter loved them. (Unfortunately they later gave her a diaper rash but she seems to be over that now).

  10. My son is still working on his first tooth – tylenol (not Tylenol, but the stuff that’s made by the same company that makes LittleNoses) works well for him at night, and during the day, I give him carrots that I’ve cut into strips for him. Even though he gnaws and gnaws, they never seem to make a mess. I scrub them well and buy organic for him, so I’m not too worried about the very, very tiny bit of raw food he’s getting.

  11. Teething sucks. My son is 20 months old and only has his two year molars to come through yet, and he definitely goes off food when there’s a tooth (or four) pushing through. I’d also recommend the mesh feeder with something cold in it, and also a teething gel, which you can test on yourself to see how effective it might be. (We use Curash Teething Gel, but it might only be available in Australia.)
    I’ve also recently bought a Baltic amber necklace after a ton of women from my Baby Center birth group swore by them for teething. I honestly don’t know personally if it works yet because he hasn’t been teething, but they seem to be growing in popularity, at least down here. (The one I have is knotted between each bead so they won’t fly off if it happens to break, and I wrap it around his ankle at night.)

  12. @amers14, Yes, I thought of you as soon as he started refusing bottles! That was so comforting, to know what it was without having to ask 🙂

    @Elizabeth McCracken, Thank you! I hadn’t even thought of Orajel yet (rookie!). I’ll check it out. Celery sticks are a great idea.

    @Nicole, Yes, someone else suggested the mesh feeder as well. We used to use it all the time, but haven’t in awhile. Tonight I did some frozen peaches in there and he was SO happy, sucking away. Great suggestion!

    @Kara, Baby Mum Mums have traces of milk 😦 so they are out for right now. There is a half-empty box waiting to be eaten in our cabinet once we start adding milky things back into Owen’s diet. In fact, almost everything processed for babies has either milk or wheat, so I’m sticking to fruits and veggies and rice cereal for now.

    @The Laundry Lady, Yum! Great idea! He hasn’t had those yet, but you’re totally right about them turning to mush once they thaw. Prrrrrrfect.

    @Courtney, Carrots are another good one. Thanks!

    @Liss, I’ve heard about those amber teething necklaces. I must say, I’m skeptical… but I’ve been known to be wrong before! I’ll do some research. Thank you for the suggestions.

  13. What about a frozen banana to gnaw on?

  14. I’ve heard positive things about Baltic amber teething necklaces. I bought one to try once my LO is born and teething. You put it under their clothes and it is supposed to release succinic acid, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. You can wrap it around an ankle under PJs at night so he doesn’t get it in his mouth. Like i said, never tried it but I’ve heard people swear by them (they’re like $20…so not a big loss if it sucks).

  15. I have a baltic amber necklace for the wee man – a friend swears by them so I figured I’d give it a try! The jury’s still out on whether it helps.

  16. We’re going thru the same thing with my 8 month old. we’ll have a few good days and I’ll think we’re in the clear and then she is back to her fussy teething self again. Ibuprofen works the best I think! I have tried teething rings, popsicles, cold milk in her bottle (which actually she’ll take bc it is more soothing I think), and I think it’s something we just need to tolerate. My lil girl makes the same “argh” noise as Owen and it’s so sad!! hang in there!

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