by Dr. Randy
First colic, now teething. When will it stop? Some parents may wonder when they will finally see a full-time happy, contented baby. Other parents have no experience at all with fussiness. Some fussy baby symptoms reflect the individual child’s temperament. All children have their own styles of behavior, and these styles have been categorized. The behavior characteristics of babies that parents find most difficult are a high level of intensity of expression, difficulty adjusting to a new situation, and negative reactions. Easy babies tend to be mild in their emotional expression, adjust easily to change, and react positively to most stimuli.
Stress will intensify a child’s difficult temperament reactions, and teething is a major stressor for some babies. Teething has the ability to intensify digestive disturbances, immune system reactions, and, of course, nervous system reactivity. Teething can be accompanied by diarrhea, cold symptoms, fevers, and lots of fussiness.
Babies at about four months will typically begin drooling and putting their fists into their mouths to chew on them. These expressions may be interpreted as teething by parents, and babies may experience discomfort as teeth move through the gums, but usually baby’s teeth do not begin showing at the gum line until six months or later. Some children will not get any teeth until well past their first birthday.
The purpose of teeth is to bite and chew food, though your baby may have other ideas. If your baby decides to use mom’s nipple as a teething toy, take a firm tone and instruct her to stop. If you take away the nipple when she bites, she will soon get the idea that the breast is still just for sucking. The best teething device is a frozen banana. Peel a banana, slice it lengthwise, and cut it into pieces that your baby can hold. The combination of the cold on her gums, the sweetness, and the chewy texture holds her interest and soothes the discomfort.
Another helpful device to have at home for teething and just for feeding purposes is a mesh bag feeder. This device is called the Baby Safe Feeder, essentially a ring with a small mesh bag attached that holds frozen fruit (mango, peach, grapes, etc.) and a handle for baby that screws onto the ring all BPA-free). You can find these online by searching for Baby Safe Feeder.
I do not recommend plastic teething rings, or other plastic chew toys because of the chemicals that leach from the plastics. There is no need for teething gels, painkillers, or combination homeopathic tablets with teething.
Usually a dose of homeopathic Chamomilla will help soothe your baby during fussy periods. The Chinese herbal formula Quiet Calm (Chinese Modular Solutions) is also effective in calming a baby upset by teething, and can be ordered by your medical provider.