My two and a half-year old has been putting everything in his mouth just lately. Everything! He hasn't done this since he was a little baby and I feel like I'm constantly telling him to take something out of his mouth. He's also been a bit funny with his food and on two evenings this week hasn't eaten his dinner (just a couple of mouthfuls). Anyone who knows my son, knows that's very unusual behaviour - he generally loves his food and has a voracious appetite.
A friend suggested he might be getting his two-year molars so yesterday I lay him on his back and had a good look at the back of his mouth. Sure enough, all four are visible and one has just broken through! Now it all makes sense about everything going in his mouth, his lack of appetite and also his messy nappies over the past couple of days. Who knows what we have in store whilst the other molars break through but at least we are on to the last of the baby teeth.
With a new baby and a first baby especially, you hear about teething and you read about the symptoms but you're never quite sure if particular behaviour in your baby is teething related or not. My husband and I would often say, "it must be teething" but our son didn't get his first tooth until he was almost 1! When they can't tell you what's wrong or if something is hurting, it's hard to know exactly what's going on.
The way a child reacts to teething and the discomfort that comes with it varies of course from one child to another. Some always have disturbed nights as a result, some have inconsolable crying fits, some just dribble loads and get red cheeks, some completely stop eating for a few days, some become grizzly and clingy....
It can be a trying couple of days for parents and children when a tooth comes through but all you can do is be sensitive to their needs and do what you can to ease the pain. If they seem to want to chew on something, give them something you're happy for them to chew on. For a baby it might be a special teething toy or ring. For a toddler you can use foods like hard bread or cool cucumber or carrot sticks. With eating meals, you can provide foods that are easy to eat and also soothing to sore gums, like yoghurt or cool fruit purees.
How does your child react when a tooth is coming through? If you've already been through the entire teething process, do you have any words of advice to share?