PARENTS

The Newborn Diaries: Teething Time

28/03/2011 11:26 | Updated 22 May 2015

Baby Diana teethingI didn't think that anything could terrify me as much as those early sleepless nights with a screaming baby that I didn't know how to calm. But now an equally scary prospect is looming: Baby Diana is going to get her first tooth soon. And she's still on a breastmilk-only diet, so I'm really hoping she's not a biter.

The teething process began a few weeks ago; at least, that's when I noticed that baby D was intensely drooling and dribbling all over everything. It's also when she started putting anything and everything within reach into her mouth to suck on.

Of course, as is to be expected, she pretty much ignores all of the recommended teething toys/rings that have been purchased for her (with the exception of a "set of keys" toy which you refrigerate to help soothe the gums) and refuses to suck on anything but her fingers. And mine.

Oh, and of course, good ol' nip.

Other signs the teething process has begun? Baby Diana tends to have one rosy cheek on the side of her mouth that has the first signs of a tooth pushing against the gumline, and she also mainly communicates via gurgles and blowing raspberries these days. She's also much grizzlier than normal and sleeps about a fraction of what she used to, as in, not at all during the day. I'm hoping that since she's fairly content most of the time, the inevitable sore gums that come with teething aren't causing her too much agony.

Diana's increasingly grown-up dental behaviour has coincided with some other more mature traits: namely, the aggressive grabbing of fingers, hair and on occasion, other babies (at our last NCT group meetup, baby D spent the duration tugging (well, more like clenching for dear life) on a fellow baby's babygro. I'm thinking that's her way of saying "Let's be friends?").

All of this means that Diana is suddenly interested in stuff, which is very exciting. She'll stare out the car window, interact with toys, push her legs straight out when I hold her (as if to stand) and even actively engage with what's happening on TV (not that we're watching TV because I'm one of those mums that's only reading to her in French and playing Mozart for stimulation...)

This grabbiness may be occasionally painful (she's strong for an infant!) and leading to my rapid hair loss, but it's also a good sign, one which means she's getting ready for that all-important next stage: weaning onto solid foods. Experts recommend that babies begin the weaning process at six months, which is also the same time that breastfeeding can come to an end (meaning, the baby's derived the full benefits from it by that time). Although I find it very hard to believe that Diana will happily forsake the breast in favour of baby rice, but here's to hoping.

I've decided to see how Diana responds to a bit of food since she's only a month away from the half-year mark (how time flies!) If she takes to solids, that means I won't need to worry so much about the biting/breastfeeding conundrum that's creeping up on me. Not to mention how excited I am at the prospect of my baby eating real food!

And what better time to try out my little experiment than over the holidays? Now I just need the will power to leave behind some mashed potato for baby D to try.

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