Monday, November 24, 2008

The Trouble with Teething

In a healthy baby's life, few things must be more traumatic than teething. Learning to use one's limbs to roll over, sit up, crawl, stand and walk is challenging but not painful. Developing fine motor skills and starting to talk are the same. Discovering food is an adventure for the child and a challenge for the parents, but teething, now that is difficult.

Some people believe that very painful or traumatic memories are blocked out by our subconscious. This may explain why people who are in life-threatening accidents or have near-death experiences don't always remember exactly what happened. Babies, however, must not understand what's going on when teething pain starts. I imagine (since I can't remember) it must be irritating and uncomfortable, to say the least. It's no wonder teething babies are fussy, have trouble sleeping, and can get fevers, diarrhea and rashes. Poor things.

How can parents ease the pain and discomfort for their little ones? We can give them cold and hard things to chew on, baby paracetamol for fever, and lots of distractions and cuddles. But for my little one, Bonjela is what works best. 

Many mothers swear by it, and I never bothered trying any other kind of teething gel once I had the little blue tube. Unavailable locally, it is easily found in the toothpaste section of any pharmacy in nearby Hong Kong, thankfully. It doesn't cost much, and one tube goes a very long way. It was a godsend when Little A and I had hand, foot and mouth disease, and every time he starts chewing madly on his fingers, drooling nonstop and getting irritable at bedtime, one swipe of a tiny bit of gel on his gums calms him down. It's actually quite funny the way he stops crying in mid-sob once he feels it in his mouth.

All women have emergency medicine kits on hand once they become mothers. And even if they don't have teething infants, a tube of Bonjela should remain in the medicine cabinet of every household, as it works on any form of mouth ulcer from those caused by braces to dentures and simple mouth sores. I have nothing but good things to say about it. 

As for my little one? His 8 front teeth came out right before his first birthday, but the back ones have yet to come through. Lately I've been seeing the signs that they may start erupting soon. The little blue tube is ready and waiting. 

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