Forty-degree temperatures, late-night screaming and ear infections are all part of life with a teething baby - and it’s not for the faint-hearted.
The Baby Equipment Transporter (formerly known as our car) was packed, seven-month-old Sammy was in good spirits, and we set off on a long drive to our friend’s party.
Almost an hour down the road, happy smiley Sammy was replaced by grumpy Sammy. His cheeks were reddening. His bib was drenched. He was looking the worse for wear. It got so bad we decided to turn the car around and head home. Parties are no fun with a crook kid in tow.
It later turned out that Sammy wasn’t sick – he’d simply started teething.
So where the hell are they?
Over the next few weeks, Sam became increasingly irritable. His cheeks were often flushed and he woke randomly through the night. But we could not see or feel teeth. I figured he was just in a stormy period and we should wait it out.
The symptoms got worse and worse, yet the teeth stayed hidden. There were runny noses, random awakenings with pain-related squeals, and mild fevers. A trip to the doctor confirmed the unexpected: “It’s probably teething – the poor little fella’s in pain,” – and helped make a pain-management plan.
When it was really bad, we used ibuprofen before bottle-feeding, paracetamol for midnight screaming and fevers, Bonjela* before meals, and cold teething rings all the bloody time. I became an expert at shooting an oral syringe of medicine into the mouth of a screaming baby.
The symptoms continued but still no teeth! Then one day, finally, I dropped Sammy-No-Teeth off at day care in the morning and picked up Sammy-Toothy-Smile in the afternoon.
Daddy-Sammy bonding time
We breathed a sigh of relief as Sammy returned to his normal sleep routine. But it was short lived. He quickly made a mockery of the tricks we’d learnt on the first two teeth, when Sammy later cut four teeth at once.
The symptoms were now more severe – he suffered from forty-degree temperatures, dehydration, blocked sinuses, and ear infections. No-one wants to dunk their furnace baby into a cold bath at 3am, but that happened a few times – it was Daddy-Sammy bonding time. Chew toys were useless at this stage, something Sammy pointed out by throwing them at the dog. (At least someone enjoyed them).
To survive this onslaught, we developed games
A game with the forehead thermometer to make taking his temperature easier. (Let’s just say every stuffed toy in the house has had its temperature taken).
A game with water cups and oral syringes to make rehydration easier. I can now get water into Sammy’s mouth from a distance of three metres – further when squeezing water out of the teat of a milk bottle.
A game with the saline spray to make sinus cleaning easier. There was a fair bit of ‘Daddy’s turn, now Sammy’s turn’, when I’d spray my own nose and laugh at how funny it felt, then laugh after spraying Sammy’s nose.
6 down (or up), 14 to go
For us, the worst part of teething was before the teeth cut through, so recognising symptoms early helped deal with teething more quickly. We’ve seen our GP a lot, mainly just to ensure the symptoms are teething-related and not virus/infection-related. Our GP’s great, and genuinely doesn’t mind the frequent contacts – she says she prefers it that way.
We’re six teeth in and have 14 to go! It is tough to manage and very disruptive. But at least there are plenty of extra cuddles to be had as your little bub looks to you for comfort.
* Make sure you check first with a doctor before using Bonjela.