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.


A rough beginning but a happy ending – the conclusion

2014-12-17T20:37:36+00:00December 17th, 2014|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Lauren was born in August and the days were warm and still. I felt relatively well and especially grateful to not be pregnant anymore in this hot weather. Lauren was breastfeeding around the clock and my older boys were busy with outside activities.

The nipple pain started on day two. Lauren always had a shallow latch but I kept working with her to take more breast tissue, enough that her top and bottom lips would curl over. I tried the positioning technique I learned from Dr. Newman – pulling her belly button in close and keeping her head aligned with her little body. It seemed like a natural way to hold her; she seemed comfortable and swallowed easily. Her latch remained shallow although I tried everything – pumping before feeding, holding the breast to make it the size of her mouth and waiting for the wide open mouth before putting her to breast. Nothing helped.

The nipple pain continued and they were bloody and cracked by day 3. Each time I fed Lauren I tried to get more breast tissue into her mouth and deepen her latch, but she would always slip down, causing pain with each feeding. Making matters worse, Lauren was not emptying the breast well with her shallow latch and she would often become frustrated, crying inconsolably. Oh the early days with a newborn – it is a tough time mommies!

Near the middle of day 3 I tried breast compressions as Dr. Newman had taught in his seminar. The technique is simple and easy to master. Place the hand on the breast the baby is nursing on and gently squeeze or push down on the ducts which are located above the areola. More milk is pushed down into the baby’s mouth than by suckling alone. This helps baby get full and mom’s body gets the signal to produce more milk. A win-win situation.

Day 4 and 5 we turned a corner and things got easier. I was using breast compression at every feeding; Lauren was growing bigger and stronger. As her mouth grew she was able to take more breast tissue into her mouth and my nipple pain subsided. She was still fussy in the evening, but soon she outgrew that too.

My early days with Lauren reminded me that each baby is different. Although I had breastfed before, Lauren hadn’t. It took us almost a week to learn this new skill. I was grateful to have a toolbox of interventions to try, since nothing seemed to work in the beginning. I also had the experience of successfully breastfeeding my other kids; I believed I would eventually be successful with Lauren too. Sometimes things just get better with time and experience. When the photo at the top of this post was taken, Lauren was 7 weeks and already traveling with me to talk about Milkies. She is showing a hunger cue I got to know well – sucking on her fist.

I also give credit to Dr. Newman. He has worked with thousands of mom and baby pairs and gives practical, easy-to-follow advice that worked very well for Lauren and I and so many others.

Here is the link to his website again.