Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Teething unhindered

There's nothing worse than seeing your little ones suffer, and teething is a time when there can be a lot of that happening, especially when the molars start to come through, as they are for my wee boy, Kaya, who has just turned one.
Yesterday he had a really uncomfortable time of it which culminated in him slapping his cheeks with both hands, clearly letting me know what was going on!
Instead of rushing for the pills and potions I bought him a length liquorice root, that is, liquorice in it's natural form.
Liquorice seems to work as it cools and numbs the gums.
Also when Kaya was about 4 months old, the time when teething begins for most babies, I was advised by my local healthfood shop to get him a piece of iris root. He seemed to like it. Chewing on the soft wood of the iris root has been known since ages to be soothing and helps the teeth break through naturally.

Here are some other ways to help your child through this natural process

Amber Teething necklaces

Natural Baltic Amber is used for relief from inflammation, fever and pain and is commonly used in European countries to relieve teething pain in infants. 

Whilst there are various types of Amber jewellery on the market, the only form suitable for a teething necklace is Baltic Amber. This amber can only be found close to the Baltic Sea and is the only one that contains Succinic Acid. Succinic Acid is the compound that relieves the pain and fever of teething. A natural analgesic, Baltic Amber will have a calming and soothing effect on a baby without resorting to over the counter drugs and remedies during teething. An amber teething necklace is not designed to be chewed on by a baby! When a baby is teething and the amber teething necklace is worn on the skin, the skin's warmth releases oils from the amber (a resin) which are absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream. Unlike teething gels, powders or pain relief syrups, the traditional beaded amber necklaces imported from the Baltic region are a less intrusive remedy for teething pain and side effects of teething, such as drooling, lack of appetite, upset tummies, ear ache, fevers and colds. Ambers anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties are also recognized by allopathic medicine. 

Massage your baby's gums

Teething pain is caused by the pressure of the new tooth pushing up through the gum. By putting gentle pressure on the gum, the pressure and pain caused by the new tooth can be alleviated. You can massage your baby's gums gently with your finger, which will not only relieve the pain, but will also improve circulation of blood in the gums which helps the new tooth to push through. You can try using a small amount of clove oil on you finger as you massage your baby's sore gums as this can have a numbing effect on the gums. Carefully limit the amount of clove oil you use, as to much can upset your baby's stomach.

Why not to use painkilling medicines and teething gels

I have never and will never use painkilling medicine and teething gels on my baby's gums for the following reasons.
Teething gels contain a range of chemicals that although in the short term can assist with teething discomfort it is thought that the actual relief comes from massaging the gums and not the gels themselves. Most gels contain a mixture of chemicals such as lignocaine, tannic acid, menthol, thymol and glycerol, and in some cases up to 40% ethanol!
If you are breastfeeding the teething gel can numb the tongue of your baby making it difficult to breastfeed.
In the case of fever associated with teething I have never resorted to medication which would lower the temperature, that includes any time either of my children have had high temperatures. This is because the unnatural lowering of the body's temperature goes against nature, the high temperature is there for a reason! I would like to add here that I have not been in a position where my children and ever had a raging temperature for a prolonged period of time.
When there has been some signs of fever like Kaya and his teething yesterday I simply breastfed him, if he allowed me,(it is unheard of for him to not want to be breastfed), if not, just holding him close, singing his favourite tune or his favourite past time at the minute is watching the birds out of the window. I've always got the liquorice root and iris root at hand

Hope this helps and most importantly, don't panic! Remember we went through it....and just like child birth it's one of the most natural processes, so hand's off and let nature do its job.