Soothing Strategies for Teething

2019-05-20T12:37:58+00:00May 20th, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Our babies are born with all their teeth just waiting to pop through their little pink gums – although pearly whites usually don’t peak through until about 6 months of age. You might notice the first signs of teething as small bumps on the bottom jaw in the center front. These bumps are the teeth trying to break through the tough gum tissue – which can take a few days to weeks. Your baby will continue to get new teeth until all 20 have come in, usually by age 3.


With 20 teeth breaking through those little pink gums, teething can cause some serious discomfort. If your baby is in the age range and showing any of these signs, teething may be to blame:

  • Fussiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling more than usual

Your baby may have sore or tender gums when teeth begin to break through the gums. Some babies like to have their gums rubbed with a clean finger, a cool spoon, or a moist washcloth. A clean teether for your child to chew on may also help. Look for teethers made of solid rubber, and avoid liquid-filled teething rings or plastic objects that could break.

I made my own teether at home using a washcloth. You can too, just wet the washcloth, tie it into a knot and freeze it. The hard knot will give your baby a solid surface to chew and the cool temperature will reduce inflammation and pain.

New recommendations from the FDA urges us to stick with teethers for pain relief and avoid products that numb the gums for kids younger than 2. In a statement from the FDA, “We are also warning that benzocaine oral drug products should only be used in adults and children 2 years and older if they contain certain warnings on the drug label,” the FDA said in a May 2018 statement. “These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefits for treating oral pain, including sore gums in infants due to teething.” Benzocaine is an over-the-counter anesthetic, which the FDA notes are usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase. Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is greatly reduced.

Many parents like to use amber teething jewelry for babies to mouth and chew. Check frequently for fraying or weakness in the string and throw away any items that are at risk from breaks. The small pieces of amber can be a choking hazard.

Teething is a time when babies (continue to) put everything in their mouth. Help them sooth by having appropriate items handy for them. The items will be dropped frequently, so dishwasher safe is a plus. Some babies eschew all items and prefer to chew on their fist, this is convenient because it won’t be left behind or forgotten but your baby can develop a rash on his hand from the saliva. Try to wash his hand frequently and offer other items if you see a rash develop.


Fussy or Food Allergy?

2018-06-20T03:32:32+00:00June 20th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Variety is the spice of life and that goes for breastfed babies too. Your milk changes as your baby grows, if either of you is sick and takes on the flavors of the foods you eat. The changing flavor of your milk can help your baby accept different tastes later and reduce your chances of having a picky eater later on. So sharing your foods with your baby through your milk is a good thing right? Maybe, but there is more to the story.

Besides the flavors, other parts of the food you eat become part of your milk. Proteins, sugars and fats are absorbed by your small intestine and enter your bloodstream to be used by your milk producing cells, or lactocytes. In rare cases, your baby may be sensitive or allergic to the parts of your food that transfer into your milk.

Most babies, except the lucky few, have fussy times. Your baby may have periods of time when he seems inconsolable – if your diet hasn’t changed and the fussiness doesn’t follow meals it’s probably not related to your diet. Instead, think growth spurt, teething or who knows? If you notice any other signs of allergy like: rash, hives, eczema, sore bottom, dry skin; wheezing or asthma; congestion or cold-like symptoms; red, itchy eyes; ear infections; irritability, fussiness, colic; intestinal upsets, vomiting, constipation and/or diarrhea, or green stools with mucus or blood, an allergic reaction may be the cause.

If your baby shows any of these symptoms and you have eliminated other potential allergens, your diet may hold the answer.The most likely food suspects are cow’s milk products, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, and peanuts.If you have a family history of allergic reaction to a certain food, it might be a problem for your baby too.

Symptoms can appear 4-24 hours after exposure to the new food. The symptoms can last for 2-4 hours then subside, except if your baby is allergic to a food you eat frequently. In that case the symptoms can persist. For example, if your baby is sensitive to dairy and you have creamer in your coffee, cheese on your salad and ice cream for dessert, your baby will be getting a steady diet of cow milk proteins and show allergy symptoms all the time.

To confirm your baby is sensitive to something you are eating, cut it from your diet for 2-3 weeks to see if your baby stops showing signs of a reaction. If the reaction symptoms stop, you may want to continue avoiding the food while breastfeeding. The 2-3 week time period matters since many foods, like cow’s milk protein, can stay in your body for 1½ – 2 weeks, and another 1½ – 2 weeks in your baby. Some moms find it helpful to keep a food journal to track symptoms and be sure to cut one food at a time to correctly identify the offender. Usually, you will notice improvement in 5-7 days although your baby may take weeks to completely get rid of all the allergy symptoms, especially if the food is one you eat frequently.

If you are eating the problem food frequently, your baby may seem to feel worse for about a week before symptoms begin to improve. You may begin to eat small amounts of the troublesome food when your baby is 9-12 months old or 6 months after you stopped exposure. If baby is only a little sensitive to a particular food, you may be able to cut back, instead of eliminating the food altogether. The exception is if your baby had breathing problems or bloody stool after exposure, talk to your pediatrician before reintroducing the problem food.

Sensitivities and allergies are rare, but they do occur. Watch for the symptoms and take the steps to identify and eliminate the offending food to help your baby, and your family, be healthy, happy and more comfortable.

Comforting a fussy baby or toddler

2016-06-23T22:56:27+00:00June 23rd, 2016|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |

As an (Emergency Room) ER nurse and a mom of 3, I care for my own sick babies and many others. I also teach parents how to comfort and support their baby through short illnesses. My children are 10, 9 and 3 – I would consider them generally healthy. But there were many nights my usually happy babies and children would fuss through the night, and my efforts to comfort them were met with more crying (from both of us).

I want to share with you the most effective interventions we use in the ER for helping the fussy baby or exhausted toddler relax and rest – allowing you to do the same. This information is straight from our patient discharge instructions and guides the nurse-parent teaching we do in my hospital.

1. Check all clothing for pinching or scratchy points, sick children (and adults) are more sensitive to irritants. Take all clothes off and look for any red, irritated areas on the skin. If your baby is having diarrhea or teething*, frequent diaper changes are important. Diarrhea is more acidic than normal stool and can cause a red, painful rash. Treat the rash with an ointment like A&D or nipple balm, like Milkies Nipple Nurture Balm (click here to learn more –, which helps heal and creates a barrier on baby’s skin.

* Teething can cause excessive saliva production leading to drooling and diarrhea. Diarrhea occurs when your baby swallows the extra saliva and then passes it in the stool.

2. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These medicines are pain relievers and fever reducers, if your child is fussy or uncomfortable give the proper dose as long as they don’t have an allergy to the medicine. Make sure you have eliminated all other possible causes of fussiness before medicating. Is your baby cold, hot, needs to burp, hungry or wants to be held? Consider all these possibilities first but don’t be afraid to medicate your baby after talking with your pediatrician.

3. If your baby has a fever, strip clothes off down to the diaper to not contribute to a higher temperature. A light sheet is fine to cover him. A fever is the immune system trying to fight off the pathogen; talk to your doctor about the right time to medicate your feverish baby or child. When in doubt, give a fever reducing medication.

4. Continue breastfeeding. Your child may not have an appetite, but continue to offer the breast. If your breasts feel full, use your breast pump to relieve the pressure and keep your milk supply strong.

As a parent you know when your child isn’t feeling well. If your baby is vomiting/has diarrhea or fever, see your doctor. Your child may need more treatment than you can provide at home.

Minor illnesses are part of a normal childhood, with a little comfort and support from you, your child will be back to their smiling self in no time!