Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teething & Advil

I’ve been noticeably, or perhaps not so noticeably absent, from my blog the past week and the truth is that I miss it. I miss sharing my experiences and expressing my emotions through words. I also miss reading about all the great adventures in motherhood that are happening all over the world. I’ve started using Google Reader (finally), so I have at least been able to peek in on my favourite blogs like Accustomed Chaos, Glamamom, Enjoying the Small Things and Ivy League Insecurities to name a few.

So where have I been?
I have two words…TEETHING BABY.

Last week was absolutely one of the worst weeks we’ve had in months. The boy doesn’t handle teething well and tends to have at least 3 week long cycles of crankiness & pain before a tooth cuts; he doesn’t like the Razbaby teether, ice cubes wrapped in wash cloths, teething rings or teething toys. We’ve tried homeopathic remedies such as Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Boiron Camilia Drops but they only seem to be effective for low-level pain. If I don’t get the homeopathic remedies into the boy when he is still relatively calm, they have literally no effect. I also recently realized that the Hylands are in a lactose (milk sugar) base, so they may irritate the boys eczema, but I believe eczema skin reactions are usually a result of the milk protein rather than the milk sugar.

So what does the boy like when he’s teething? TV and Advil.

YES, I give the boy drugs when his teeth hurt.
YES, I let the boy watch more TV than usual when he's teething.
YES, sometimes I feel guilty about drugging up my child.
YES, sometimes I give the boy Advil pre-emotively before bed if it has been a tough day and the past few nights have been bad.

Does that make me a bad Mother? Sometimes the thought sneaks into my head, but I do my best to banish it. I wouldn’t want to suffer through pain that would make me scream the way that he does and neither should he. Particularly when he fails to find relief from all of the other ‘teething treatments’ I’ve tried to date.

I was reading an article in my Today’s Parent Magazine the other day and I was ecstatic to read this article on Teething Symptoms and Solutions. Check out the third page of the article where it discusses ‘pain meds’ and indicates that not only is it ok to give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen, it is much safer than using oral gels which contain benzocaine and can impact blood circulation with too much use.

This article made me feel better about the fact that the boy was drugged for almost 3 days solid last week. It didn’t make up for the sleep lost to multiple night-time wakings and the cuddles that ensued all last week, but it did help me remember that I know my child better than anyone and if I think he’s in pain, I’m going to do whatever I can to make him feel better. Even if that means giving him a dose of Advil. As an aside, we use ibuprofen rather than acetaminophen because it helps with inflammation AND pain.

What are your tricks for a teething baby? 
Do you use pain meds for your child's teething pain? Why or why not?


  1. I've given my daughter acetaminophen in the past for teething pain, and I'd do it again. We're lucky that she has such obvious teething symptoms that I've never had to wonder if medicine was the right thing to do at the time. She would always whine, drool excessively, chew on everything and possibly run a low-grade fever in the days before a tooth broke. She was also unlucky because she broke teeth in groups, so as soon as one was out, another would follow.

    You know what is best for your child. If the dosing is within the limits set by doctor and manufacturer, then continue on.

  2. Thanks Erin - the boy has the crying, hands in the mouth and excessive drool almost every round of teething and this most recent round he had the diaper rash as well. Unfortuantely, his teeth come one at a time and often over a month apart, so it feels like he suffers so much for each individual tooth.

    And you make a good point, yes we are following the dosage limits and often give a slightly less than full dose, particular if the meds are needed during the day rather than at night when we want him to settle into a decent slumber. amber :)

  3. We've missed you too! Thanks for the shout.

    Teething is the pits, I'm sorry. My son has been teething FOREVER! I think it's fine to give pain reliever if you notice it helps. Other than that, sounds like you're doing the right thing being patient and lots of snuggling :)

  4. Sounds like you are a good Mama! we hope the teething is done soon and the two of you can get rest!

  5. you're definitely NOT a bad mama for using TV and Advil to make your baby feel better! there have been times where I've needed to alternate Tylenol and Motrin (well, now the generics since the recall) because he was in so much pain and it was too early for the next dose of either one.

    Teething has been a big deal in this house - some teeth Z does ok with, and others we've had crying so uncontrollable I've had to call in for backup - aka, have my parents come over to calm him down! it makes you feel so awful sometimes seeing them in pain.

    when he's teething, Z also likes to eat cold applesauce & yogurt, and he does chew on the frozen teething rings too, even though he is almost 2 he'll gnaw on them for a bit and they still help. Mostly it's just the medicine that provides relief though.

    hope your little guy feels better really soon!

  6. Reading this made me feel SOOO much better...thank you! I'm a first time mom and my daughter is 7 mos. old and teething hardcore. I've been hesitant to give her Advil, trying every other possible remedy first. She doesn't seem bothered by it during the day, but she's been waking up at night crying and then will be wide awake and happy for hours before going back to sleep. I wonder if she's wide awake b/c if she's playing it helps distract her from the pain?? Anyhow, reading your blog made me feel better about giving the meds. And P.S...she likes TV too...we were up at 1am last night with a Little Einsteins DVD on in the dark! Thanks! ~Jen~

  7. This made me feel better! I've gotten slack for giving him Advil. I try to stop but he can not tolerate the pain. For a
    Long time I gave him hylands and oral gel which he hated. I felt that was worse than Advil. Then a month ago I saw all the pain was caused by 4 teeth coming in at once.
    So the only relief he gets is 3 times a day of Advil. He sleeps ok through the night. Wakes up 4 am and yes I do
    Tv as well. I mean 2 or 1 tooth but 4?? Now looks
    Like a molar is coming through he has no breaks.

    I feel guilty all the time. But I believe what you said, I have severe back pain andbi wouldn't want to suffer!'

    So thank you!

  8. Oh the guilt. The nights I bring out the Tylenol or Advil I feel like I am doing something wrong. His chin is raw from drooling and he has a terrible cold. Why must we have this guilt association with drugs? I do not give it to him during the day, so one or two doses at night when he is in this state can't really be that bad. The pharmacist said all the homeopathic stuff doesn't work (after dropping quite a bit of money on it and giving it all a go) and the infant Tylenol or Advil are really the only way to give relief to our bubs. For my boy, I found that to be correct.


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