Natalie has been a drool machine since around the time she turned 2 months old. Veteran parents would say, "She'll probably be an early teether." Sigh, I'd think. Teething is one of the many unknown elements of parenthood that I have not been happily anticipating. I hear it's not too awesome.
So far, if teething is in fact what we're dealing with, and I think it is, I can confirm that it is not too awesome.
While I realize that teething is a process that occurs over the course of many months, I think we hit a major turning point on Friday when Natalie was screaming. Absolutely inconsolable, and screaming.
Because she's really never behaved like that for more than 5-10 minutes at a time on relatively rare occasions, I washed my hands, pulled down her lower lip and ran my finger along her bottom gums. They felt harder than they had before and they were whiter, hinting at something beneath the surface. Looks like we've got some central incisors eager to erupt. According to Baby 411, my go-to Baby Bible, these teeth are universally the first to come in and on average make their appearance at 7.8 months.
Now that I seemed to be identifying the problem, I hoped veteran parents would be able to pass on a magic cure for relieving Natalie's pain. Not surprisingly, like everything in the world of parenting, everyone has a different opinion and different experiences with what works for their children, and I didn't hear anything that Baby 411 hadn't suggested. So much for miracle cures!
After Natalie demonstrated that she could not be calmed down by nursing, chewing on any number of teething toys/rings, or any of the traditional soothing mechanisms that have always worked on our easy-going baby, we figured that this truly apparent teething pain warranted more serious intervention, and we gave her a dose of infant Tylenol (actually, generic acetaminophen, but same idea). It's the first time she's ever had medicine outside the hospital, and if you've never used it before it's the kind of liquid medicine you administer using a syringe (and the new dosing requirements provided by your pediatrician because the packaging will likely tell you to consult your doctor for infants under 2 years old). That did the trick.
Since Friday there has been one other time when she appeared to be in so much pain that we gave her another dose of acetaminophen that worked its magic.
Thankfully, in all this so far, Natalie's sleep schedule has not been majorly interrupted, aside from Friday when she hardly napped all day and Saturday when she napped less than usual. All in all, though, she's still sleeping ridiculously well at night and she appears to be back to a quasi-normal napping schedule. I expect at some point teething will majorly alter her sleep schedule as I hear that's fairly common, and I'll be pleasantly surprised if that doesn't happen. She is putting everything in her mouth, especially board books, which I figure is fulfilling her need to both explore and soothe.
Books are for eating.
And because everyone has a different opinion on what works for their baby's teething relief, I can't speak definitively yet but I can say that when Natalie isn't in intense needs-Tylenol-now pain, the ubiquitous Sophie the Giraffe teether and the Green Sprouts frozen teething rings seem to be helping her. I know some people are against the idea of frozen teething rings, but then I've also read doctors in reputable sources speaking highly of them, so I figure they can't kill her.
Although I remember having Baby Orajel when I was little, it has just recently fallen out of vogue because of the ingredient benzocaine and its connection to methemoglobinemia which you can read more about here.
Assuming this is all, in fact, teething, and I think it is, I figure we have a long road ahead. A mouthful, in fact.