Babies & Teething

Babies & Teething

I think it’s pretty safe to say that for many parents, the bit where the babies get the teeth is absolute rubbish.  Some babies have no problems at all, others are have a really hard time of it, making life pretty awful for them and their family. 

Having just gone through this experience myself (again) I thought it may be helpful to write about it – I have had one child who got through the process with minimal fuss, and my most recent one on the extreme opposite end of the scale.  Which was no fun for him (or us).

So what can be done to help babies who have hard time popping their chompers through?   Unfortunately there is no one size fits all here.  If you ask a variety of parents, you will most likely find that everyone has a different remedy or solution that worked well for them that may or may not work for you.  This article is just to give you ideas of what is available from a Naturopathic / natural remedy perspective – so that you can try and see what works.  In some cases, none of it may work and if that’s the case, I feel your pain and my sympathies to you.

Firstly, and most importantly, the number one thing to do is to rule out anything else!  Is it possible they have a sore throat or ears?  Could they have a cold or bug?  Are they going through a growth spurt and need feeding more regularly?  When in doubt, see your GP.  Identifying a tangible cause will make life a lot easier!

If you’re ruled everything out and now you’re thinking it is teething then there are many remedies for you to choose from.  Take your pick – and good luck.

1. Homeopathics
Homeopathics are a wonderful tool to have in your home medical kit for babies.  They are safe and can be very effective – however the key thing is to make sure you pick a remedy that actually matches your child’s full symptom.  Yes you could try your luck with a homeopathic teething mix from the chemist or health food store – as they have a combination of remedies that are most commonly used for teething babies.  However, you may find that the mix doesn’t contain the right one.  Again, from experience – my child was a typical “Pulsatilla” child, and this remedy is not in any of the teething mixes.  So I had to grab the individual one to use.

Common homeopathics prescribed for teething include:

Chamomilla: Common sign for this is one cheek is hot/red and the other pale.  Other symptoms include inflamed gums, excessive dribbling, chewing and gnawing at fingers, anger, irritability and not knowing what they want for comfort.  They are worse at night and only calm down when being rocked or carried.  Stool can be very loose and greenish in colour.

Belladonna: The common symptoms for a belladonna remedy is fever, flushed face, screaming in pain, biting of hands, crying the entire time, sudden onset.  As I have mentioned above, if your baby is like this – please do be sure to rule out anything else.  Some babies do get this way from teething with no other underlying illness - which is where this remedy may help.

Pulsatilla:  This is the weepy and clingy baby who will not let the parent out of their site and craves attention.  Better for being in the fresh air/outside and may be accompanied by congestion.

Calc carb:  When the teething is slow and distressing.  This remedy supports growth and calcium metabolism, and babies who require this remedy are usually slow to learn to crawl or walk, tend to be chubby and often sweat during sleep.  They can be stubborn and prone to tantrums.

Silica:  Also used for slow teething, where the teeth won’t break through or come to the gum line then recede.  Better for warmth/being wrapped up, worse for drafts and open air.

Sulphur:  Teething is accompanied by red rash or irritation on the chin or nappy area, with an irritable or anxious temperament.  Better for fresh air.

Other remedies that may be beneficial during the whole process of teeth busting through include calc phos, ferr phos, mag phos and silica as these can support the body longer term rather than just being a short term/acute remedy.  These along with calc carb are also beneficial to have on hand for when your baby grows up and starts getting their adult teeth. (1)

As you can see with these remedies, it’s not just a case of“sore teeth there you go”, homeopathy looks at a whole picture including the physical symptoms, the emotional/mood aspects and what makes it better or worse.  For a brief intro into homeopathy and how prescribing works, please see http://blog.owenhomoeopathics.com.au/about-homoeopathy/.  In my clinic, I use and prescribe Owen Homeopathic pillules as individual remedies, and I also make up custom blends in liquid form.  If this is a topic that interests you, I can also have available copies of the book “Homeopathy for the Home Prescriber” which is a great little resource for you to use at home.

I will make mention of the homeopathic pre-made remedies which may be helpful:  Weleda Baby Teething Powder, Scheussler KIDZ Minerals Strong Bones & Teeth, Brauer’s Baby & Child Teething Relief, and Brauer’s Baby & Child Teething Gel.   You should be able to find these at your local pharmacy or health food store, or I can order them in for you.

2. Herbal Remedies:
Chamomile is a lovely herb that can be used during teething, as it has relaxing properties that may help to calm your baby down.  You can make a tea, allow it to cool then add it to your baby’s water or milk bottle (if they are taking either), or use something like KiwiHerb Kid’s Calm which is a chamomile liquid formula.  

3.  Nutritional Considerations
If we consider that some teething issues stem from inflammation, then it may be worth looking at whether there any dietary aspects that are exacerbating the symptoms – particularly if there is a history of colic and reflux, or a family history of nutritional intolerances or allergies.   In these instances it may be worth considering a 500 Item Hair Test for both the baby and the mother (if breastfeeding) to pick up any incompatibilities and adjust the diet according to the program.  Otherwise, general good diet practices such as ensuring that you and your family’s diet is high in nutrient dense, antioxidant rich foods is a great place to start!  If you need help with this, then book in for a Naturopathic appointment today so we can work together to get the dietary factors sorted.

4.  Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic may be beneficial if there is another underlying spinal imbalance that is causing your baby grief or upset, which you may not have picked up. I highly recommend Nervana Chiropractic in Kalamunda, as they are fantastic with families and have a lot of experience working with babies and children. 

5.  Flower Essences
This one is for both the parents and the child – because the whole teething process can be quite frustrating and upsetting for the parents too!  Flower Essences are very gentle and can help with emotional highs and lows.   You can come in for a consultation and card reading, where I will make up a custom blend for you – and I find that the flowers chosen usually will relate to both the parent and the child.  They can be added to the bath, the bottle (water or milk) or turned into a room spray for use in the home.  Book a Flower Essence Consultation now.

Of course there are the other usual remedies such as cold teething rings, wet flannels, amber ankle bracelets, other teething toys – but I am sure that if you are reading this, chances are you’ve already tried all the standard recommended remedies and treatments and know them well.

Good luck - and may the force be with you.

 Image: Daniel Cheung www.unsplash.com

Image: Daniel Cheung www.unsplash.com

References:

1.         Owen J. Homeopathy for the Home Prescriber2003.

New Service - Flower Essence Therapy

Online & At Home Exercise Tips