Teething: Signs, Symptoms and Remedies

Imagine what it feels like to have tiny teeth forming inside your mouth and literally bursting from your gums! Sounds painful, right? When do children typically start teething? What are the common symptoms? And what are some natural ways you can help tame the pain?

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Teething: Signs, Symptoms, and Remedies


Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Imagine what it must feel like to have teeth forming inside your mouth and literally bursting out of your gums. That’s only one of the many things babies deal with in the first few months of their lives. How can parents help their kids through the painful process of teething, and what’s really going on inside those tiny mouths? I’m Dr. Tara Zandvliet, and this is Parent Savers, Episode 48, talking all about teething.

Johner Riehl: Welcome to the Parent Savers broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I’m Johner Riehl, and as your host I’m here to have conversations about subjects that parents of young kids care about. On Parent Savers, we engage with experts in the field, as well as parent panelists in studio who are just like you. But we do have room for you to participate as well; so give us a tweet, call our hotline, leave a comment on our Facebook page, vote in a poll, send us an e-mail, and do whatever it takes to help get your questions answered so that you can be a part of the show as well. In addition to listening, make sure to visit the Parent Savers website, too, for more information about our topics. While you’re there, sign up for our free newsletter. And don’t forget our Parent Savers Club, where you can download the archived episodes, get exclusive content and more. So make sure to go to www.newmommymedia.com for more information on all that. So before we get into the show, let’s all talk a little about ourselves and how old our kids are: I am a new-again parent. My son, Zyler, is a one and a half years old. I also have two older boys, a four year old and a six-year-old, Quinner and Whitaker-and I have a couple of other parents in the studio with us as well.

Ursula McDonald: Hi, I’m Ursula McDonald. I’m thirty-five, and I have two boys, Desmond and Callan-and they’re four years old and two years old.

Amy Askin: And I’m Amy Askin, and I am the mother of three little girls; Olivia, age eight; Serene, age three; and a newborn, Elysiana.

Johner Riehl: And Elysiana’s with us. And, Dr. Zandvliet, how about you?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: I have a just-turned eight-year-old, Joshua and nine and a half year old named Annika.

Johner Riehl: Nice.


Johner Riehl: Before we get started, let’s do some news headlines: looking at parenting topics that have been in the new recently that have been noteworthy and worth discussion. Today, we’ve got on article called “Top 5 Weird Celebrity Parenting Tips.” And it’s five tips from celebrities which kind of range from a little bit off beat to-actually I think there’s a couple that are pretty good, I’m not sure why they’re considered weird. So let’s talk about it. First one is from Alicia Silverstone, and there’s a video of her online pre-chewing her baby’s food. And I think they’re eating a bowl of cereal, and she eats it for about thirty seconds and then gives it to him. She feeds him like a bird, she doesn’t even like spoon it, she kind of goes over and gives it to him. But that one’s…interesting. I think that’s kind of what inspired this list. Another one’s January Jones-she eats placenta pills. After she gave birth to her son in September, she says she kept up her energy because she had pills made from her own afterbirth. Christina Applegate suggests everyone buy a nosefrida; and that’s a way to clean snot out of your kid’s nose, but uses your mouth suction in order to do it. It’s not one of those with the bulbs, it has mouth for suction, but she highly recommends it. But one of the warnings for a nosefrida is-don’t ever hook it up to a machine. Like maybe people were using a vacuum or whatever? [Laughter] Kourtney Kardashian-Her tip was that wood is good. So she thinks that the plastic toys could be toxic, so she buys only wooden toys. That might be one that there’s something to it, a little bit. And then Katherine Heigl uses white noise instead of quiet when the baby wants to go to sleep. She doesn’t want it quiet, she wants noise in the background. What do you guys think of that list?

Amy Askin: I also saw Kourtney-and Kim was- [Laughs] as I’m breastfeeding I’m laughing because I put it on everything. Because I was told by a lactation specialist at one point, “Oh, breast milk is absolutely liquid gold, it fixes everything, it’s like coconut oil.”

Ursula McDonald: Right.

Amy Askin: And I’ve found this to be true. But when the Kardashians find this out, and Kim is putting it on her leg and squeezing Kourtney’s breast on her leg, [Laughter] I’m like “OK, now that the Kardashians know, it’s not cool anymore.” I’m totally uncool if I use breast milk for the whole thing.

Johner Riehl: But her tip was good! I mean, there’s so many weird things about plastic things.

Ursula McDonald: I use wooden toys!

Amy Askin: Yeah, Melissa and Doug is where it’s at. Man, they have the coolest stuff.

Johner Riehl: Yeah. What do you think about pre-chewing food, or placenta pills doctors make?

Ursula McDonald: Oh, that’s a little weird.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: This is how they do it in primitive people

Johner Riehl: Cultures?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: They don’t have a blender, they don’t have the Magic Bullet, they don’t have anything to make their baby food; they don’t come in jars, they don’t have refrigerators. So they chew their kid’s food. So, it’s not as weird as you’d think. Personally, I would rather use a Magic Bullet. But I just think it’s odd in civilized society, when we have a Magic Bullet and a blender, to be doing that. Because I think that society’s that do that they do it because they don’t have the stuff we have.

Johner Riehl: They might even have, like a tool-or a spoon-like a little hollowed-out piece of wood, too. Instead of-

Amy Askin: The other thing, too-and Dr. Z can attest to this-I’m learning about baby-led weaning, and that’s a newer thing: I did superfood with my first two, and now baby-led weaning is saying, you know “Give them a carrot stick” or whatever. And they learn how to gum things and whatever. And, get over this: my girlfriend is doing it, this is her second-new again you know-her son is eight months old and doesn’t have any teeth, but his teeth are breaking one or two months sooner than his older brothers did. And we think its like-you know, it’s like the nature/nurture thing-you’re like, “I wonder if it’s nurture.” Like he’s growing teeth because Darwinian Theory says he needs them, you know? “You need those to chew a carrot!” [Laughter]

Johner Riehl: That could be a good transition as we get into the full episode, talk about teething, what it is, and what we’re talking about. So, that’s a fun article, check it out on the website, and if you guys hear any crazy tips from celebrity parents or other parents, let us know, because they’re fun to talk about.


Johner Riehl: Alright, it’s time to “bite in” to today’s topic. Sorry about that. [Laughter] Today’s topic is teething, and it’s something we’ve gone through, personally, with all three of our kids. But we kind of forget just how hard it is on them, and sometimes that might be what’s happening in their mouths that might cause them to be extra fussy. And I know we’ve tried a few different things, so today we’ll talk about some remedies, kind of what’s going on and more with our expert, Dr. Tara Zandvliet. So thanks so much for joining us.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: You’re welcome.

Johner Riehl: So, let’s start with I guess a basic question: when do babies usually start getting their teeth?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: I tell you, this is the number one question about teeth that everybody asks me, and the answer is any time before eighteen months. Because…

Johner Riehl: What are some of the youngest you’ve heard?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Some of the youngest, they are born with teeth.

Johner Riehl: Really?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: You can be born with teeth.

Johner Riehl: I have never heard that.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: There are two different kinds of neonatal teeth. One is the ones that are still wiggly-they really have no roots-they have to be pulled. Because they can choke on them, they can swallow them. Those are sort of, they’re not real baby teeth. Others, if they’re solid in the mouth and they have roots, they just erupted before they were born-and it’s not that rare, so babies usually can be born with the bottom two. And another early kind of time would be two or three months-is pretty standard-and the most common time is about six months.

Johner Riehl: So, mostly, like when a baby’s born, are there like-I don’t even know if this is the right word-tooth buds there that they’re starting to form or-

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: You know what? If you see an x-ray of a baby-a newborn’s face-it is absolutely frightening. They have every single tooth.

Johner Riehl: Really?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Every baby tooth, already formed, with root and everything. And it looks like, when you see this x-ray of a newborn’s face full-on, it looks like this toothy monster coming at you. I mean they’ve got every single tooth all formed.

Johner Riehl: All the teeth are there?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: All formed. They’re not all calcified, but they all formed, and they just have to come down when it’s appropriate.

Johner Riehl: Well, I didn’t realize that they were there.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It’s freaky.

Johner Riehl: I thought that maybe they were just kind of growing as they-what is calcified? What does that mean?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Calcifying is when it gets hard. So often that happens somewhat right before they come up, sometimes a little after they come up. But basically, it’s a little bit later. But the teeth start forming at about four months, five months gestation.

Johner Riehl: Wow.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: And then they’re all pretty much fully done by the time they’re born, and then they just have to make their way up.

Johner Riehl: So, when we talk about teething, though. We’re talking about the teeth erupting?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It sounds violent, doesn’t it?

Johner Riehl: That’s quite a descriptive word. So when teeth come in-I know for our kids- a lot of times it’s the bottom two and then the top two or they kind of have four on top, four on bottom for a little bit, and then the molars. Is that common? Is that the way the teeth come in?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: That the standard way, yeah. The two bottoms-the central incisors-the two top central incisors, then the bottom lateral incisors, and then the top laterals; and then the first molar come in before the cuspids do. That’s why you get these kids where they’re missing fang teeth. That’s the standard; the majority of kids come in that way. I will give you a personal story. My daughter did not come in that way: we called her “Vampire Baby.” She got her bottom two, and you could barely see them. And once they came through the gums, they stopped. They didn’t come up as full bottom teeth, they were just tiny white crests-and then her top lateral incisors came in. And I’m telling you, we have about a month’s worth of pictures where she is “Vampire Girl.” And she was bald, too, so we had these sunhats on and she’d smile big-she was a big smiler-and she had vampire teeth. And clearly, they weren’t the vampire, because they weren’t the canines-like the canine teeth.

Johner Riehl: But it looked like it.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, definitely. But we have kids that will get all four bottoms at once, all four tops at once-or four together. Some kids have all eight all at once, pretty much-and within weeks they’ve got all eight of their baby teeth. All at once-boom. They tend to be later. They tend to be later. The early ones, the ones that will do it at like two, three months old, they tend to just get the bottoms-and then three months later they do the tops. But, yeah, there are some weird patterns.

Johner Riehl: So what are the symptoms? And I mean, obviously, teeth are emerging, but I guess what are the side effects or the symptoms that might happen with teething.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Well the biggest one is a little bit of pain-and some people will say, “Oh, it’s so painful.” It actually is more pressure. I mean picture this: you’ve got these teeth coming up from under the gums, it’s causing pressure from below, so no wonder they want to bite things. If you put pressure from above, it evens out the pressure, it doesn’t hurt. The pressure doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t bother them as much. So you have pain, you have pressure, they start drooling like crazy. I mean lakes of drool.

Johner Riehl: Why? Where does the drool come from?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: You know I’m not exactly sure. I really looked for the answer to that, and I could not find it. I went to dentists, I went to the ADA, I could not find it.

Ursula McDonald: I have a hunch.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yes.

Ursula McDonald: I read somewhere that baby drool had some sort component in it that-

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Analgesic?

Ursula McDonald: That, well-and that it helped kill bacteria. So I’m thinking if they’re putting things that they’re picking up from wherever and putting it into their mouth, they need to have all that saliva to help protect them from-I don’t know, maybe to wash it out and to maybe give them that little bit of defense from germs. So, I don’t know.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: I love that, that’s the story now. I’m going to use it. The other big symptom that people will talk about is runny nose-and that’s usually if it’s the upper teeth, because we share a nerve with the nose-and they’ll rub their nose a lot because it’s itchy. Bottom teeth, it’ll be ear pain, because we share a nerve again with that ear. And they’ll pull on their ears, and people will come in saying, “Oh, my kid’s got an ear infection,” and I’m like, “Nope, he’s teething.” Um, little fevers. Oh, and irritable-gosh, there just irritable! Imagine itching all the time, we’d be irritable too. And mot sleeping through the night, not wanting to eat-they’s just not hungry-and then now it’s everything.

Johner Riehl: There are just so many things, though. So, when you have a kid-a baby- that age, I think it’s….on one hand I think you sometimes hear from your parents or grandparents, “Oh, they’re teething!” So that’s what it is that you’re pointing to it. But sometimes, there’s so many symptoms that it’s easy to identify, that “Oh, it’s because of the teething that this is happening.” How long do these symptoms last for? Is it once the teeth are out that its-ah, it’s sweet relief-is it no more of these things happening?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It is, for a while, yeah. But start to finish, these kids are teething for basically three years. Until they’re three years old, they’re getting some sort of a tooth. Now there will be little ebbs and flows-they’ll teethe and they’re horrible for three days, four days, five days, a week and then you’ll get a couple of week break. But you know it can vary. I had two very different teethers, as my two children, and my son got them early at three months old, he popped two bottom teeth. My daughter didn’t even really start until she was eleven months old. She got them all at once, eight of them at once. Almost, not quite-but very, very concentrated. So, it can be-

Amy Askin: That’s kind of how my kids were and I kind of like that better. I know it sounds crazy, but the onslaught all at once and then just bluh-mouthful. But they were very late and it all happened within a month and a half, two months.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Exactly, all within a month and half, yeah.

Ursula McDonald: Lucky you.

Amy Askin: I know, I felt very lucky-after the things I’ve heard.

Johner Riehl: It’s one of the most frustrating things, I think, about being a parent when you ask, well how long is this going to last? Or when is it? “Well, certainly every kid is different.” It’s the truth, right?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It is very much the truth, and I was lucky enough to have two children who were very different in their development and so I got to experience it firsthand.

Johner Riehl: Yeah.

Ursula McDonald: Well what about the molars? My two year old-I just realized he was waking up again in the middle of the night-and so I had been looking for the molars for a long time and then I finally looked back there and I saw half of the bottom ones starting to peek through. So, I thought it was going to happen sooner. He’s about two and a half, so is that about right? And what should I be expecting on this new round of teething?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: The molars come in later. So the molars generally come in right around eighteen months to two years old, and then the second molars come in between two and two and a half. And then again, could be anywhere from six months on either side of that. So if he’s getting his first molars and he’s two-

Ursula McDonald: It’s his second molars.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Second molars, two-ish? Two and half-ish? Perfect timing. Perfect timing. And it’s really just helping him rub, because it gets pretty far back there. I like the carrot stick idea at that point. Number one, it’s vegetables, which I love-teach them that, “Vegetables are good, honey. Here, they’ll help your teeth.” And then you can give them anything cold, cold to drink-

Amy Askin: I was going to say cucumbers are always a winner.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Cucumbers!

Ursula McDonald: My first loved the cold and the frozen fruit and the frozen washcloth and all of that. This one, he did not like any ice when he was little. It was almost like-

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: He’s sensitive and tactile

Ursula McDonald: Yes, he’s very sensitive, and very tactile. So he just did not like that feeling of cold. But then the other day he was like “Oh, look! I can chew ice!” So maybe I’ll start-he was chewing ice before I put two and two together-

Amy Askin: And the Gogurt Frozen Yogurt tubes.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, slushies, that sort of thing.

Ursula McDonald: Ok, cool. So do you think if I do some of those things for him during the day it may relieve some of that pressure at night?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It may. It may. It may help out, yeah. I mean, sometimes you have to resort to Tylenol or something, but yeah if you can do that right before bed even..

Johner Riehl: Yeah, Tylenol definitely helped us out through some of the nights.

Amy Askin: And I was gonna ask: you know, some of the-now we heard that on the news they’re talking about how-is it benzocaine? And I have always heard Anbesol….

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Oh, no, no, no. And I have always-May of 2011 the FDA said “not a good deal.” And part of it is- because teething goes on for so long, and the benzocaine only lasts for ten minutes, people were re-applying this Orajel and things over and over and over all day. And the kids got a very bad, very dangerous condition where their red blood cells cannot carry oxygen-and they got all blue and some died. So Orajel is great to use when the teeth are actually breaking the surface of the gums, when they’re actually poking through, because that’s when it actually hurt hurts-and it just numbs it up temporarily while the teeth make that final boost through the gums. Other than that, they’re not used when you can’t actually see or feel the teeth starting to actually poke through. Don’t use it.

Ursula McDonald: So what about those Highlands Tablets, and all these homeopathic remedies?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Good stuff! I think we’re going to talk about that in the second half.
Johner Riehl: Exactly! Let’s talk about in the second half. We’ll take a quick break here, and when we come back we’ll talk about some more remedies and things like that.


Johner Riehl: Welcome back to Parent Savers! We’re talking to Dr. Tara Zandvliet about teething, and in the first segment we talked a lot of what teething is, and what causes it, and really thinking about how painful it is, and what’s going on with the teeth coming through. And we touched a little bit on some remedies, but let’s talk a little bit more about how to deal with teething and how to help your kids feel better, and ultimately how to help you feel better that they’re feeling better. So, what are some treatments that you recommend?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Well, I always like categorizing. I think that previously you knew that, too. So for me there’s the biting strategies, the topical application strategies, and then the-take it by mouth-what I call the systemic strategies. So the teething stuff, the things that they can bite on.

Johner Riehl: Biting strategies, let’s start there.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: The biting strategies. Um, cold-anything cold, anything hard. We’ll tie it into that previous thing with the wood toys? Wood toys are awesome.

Johner Riehl: In the freezer, maybe.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: In the freezer! Exactly! The wet washcloth in the freezer: wonderful. Any cloth toy you have, anything that can put pressure on the gums-that put pressure from above-that can counteract the pressure of the teeth coming from below. So, you can use a finger, which is always available, as long as it’s clean. People love amber beads: they can chew on them, and amber beads have a natural..

Ursula McDonald: That’s-I’m sorry to interrupt-but that surprises me. Because my son had a teething necklace but I heard they were not supposed to chew on it.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: They can…they can.

Johner Riehl: I don’t know anything about this. Hold on-there’s a necklace that you’re supposed to wear-that you’re not supposed to chew on with teething?

Ursula McDonald: Yes, Baltic amber. It’s called Baltic-it’s very specific amber. They’re kind of hard to find- because local store are kind of iffy if they want to sell them or not-but you can definitely find them online. And they’re beautiful-I don’t’ know if you want to talk a little bit more about the properties of it-

Johner Riehl: They have some property that radiates and helps the teeth?

Ursula McDonald: Well, I heard that when it wears on your skin- because amber’s actually a resin, it’s not a stone-it’s petrified tree sap. And this particular type of amber when it’s worn on the skin, the oils from your skin heat up the oils in the amber and it goes through your skin and gives like-kind of the effect of Tylenol-kind of anti-inflammatory kind of thing going on there.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yes, analgesic.
Ursula McDonald: Yes, I can’t say that word. Thank you.

Johner Riehl: Then you were saying that you heard not to eat-to chew that?

Ursula McDonald: Well, when you go on these websites, and I’m a researcher-so I went to dozens of them before I ordered, and I don’t know if they just said it-as like a disclaimer so they don’t get sued-or what have you. But they said, “This is not for them to actually chew on. It’s just to wear on their skin.” So, you can put it around their ankle if you’re scared of them chewing on it or choking on it-and they have these breakaway clasps, so a lot of times they don’t even realize that they have it on. It just feels like your ears or something, it’s just part of you. So you put them on before they’re really aware of it. What I read is that they really weren’t supposed to chew on it, so I-

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: I think it depends on the porousness of the amber. So how much the chewing and saliva or whatever will let whatever property of the tree sap essentially come back out? You don’t want them getting poisoned by whatever tree it was caused by. So, I think it depends on the type: how pure it is, how porous it is. So if the product says don’t chew on it, don’t chew on it.

Johner Riehl: But there are types you can chew on?

Amy Askin: My concern is that it would break off and they would swallow it.

Ursula McDonald: That’s my concern, too.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: That’s the other thing: it’s a choking hazard if they’re too small. They have big amber bead necklaces-and they’re much too big to really choke on-so those might be the ones that are of a harder quality sap or maybe made in a different way. But I think it all depends on what type it is, yeah.

Ursula McDonald: Well, and the ones that I saw definitely had some safety features built into them. They were on a nice string-like I don’t know if it was silk or whatever-and then they were knotted between each bead, so that they would…they were designed to break if they needed to. So if they were caught on something, or caught on the crib or whatever, it would break and you wouldn’t lose all the beads, you would just lose the one bead where it broke. And the ones that I saw were pretty small: I wouldn’t imagine that they’d choke on it, they might swallow it?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Well, they can inhale it. That’s the problem: they can inhale it. So the topical stuff. We already kind of touched on the Orajel/benzocaine, which are only useful when their teeth are actually poking through the skin-that’s when it’s the most painful and it’s going to work the best. Otherwise it just nu,bs up their mouth for ten minutes and what’s the point? It’s constantly happening. So the other ones that are really good and don’t really have the side effects: Clove oil is really good. You just take a little, you rub it on-one of the nice things is you’re giving pressure with your finger, so it helps there. Clove oil is sort of a little bit of a numbing medicine, so that’s nice. You don’t want to use a huge amount, because if they swallow too much-they’ll throw up- because it’s a little irritating. Fennel is another one, fennel works the same way-and very calming as well.

Johner Riehl: You would just take the fennel and just rub it on there?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yep, you would just take a little fennel oil or-yeah-and you just kind of rub it on their gums, and it works very similarly. Also, the smell of it is very calming. Real, true licorice does also the same thing, and is very calming for them. Now, we’re not talking about in a candy, [Laughter] we’re not even talking about the candy made from pure licorice-we’re talking about the actual licorice stick that they get-they can even chew on. You can rub it on their gums. Again, you don’t want to use too much of any of this stuff because they’ll just throw it up. Another really neat one is pure vanilla-so, vanilla extract?

Johner Riehl: Yeah.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: There’s a couple of ways that this works. One is the vanilla scent-anyone who does aromatherapy knows it will calm you down in a heartbeat. So they can fall asleep better, they are happier, they’re calmer. You’re rubbing it on again-so you’re giving that pressure, and the vanilla extract has alcohol in it which feels cool-and so it has a little cooling effect. I don’t recommend even though grandma did it-bourbon or vodka.

Amy Askin: I was going to say, what happened to Southern Comfort, because my grandmother did that if you had a cough or you were teething, she gave you a shot of Southern Comfort and everything felt better. [Laughter]

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yep, well there’s two ways that works: well again-it’s the same thing.

Amy Askin: She’s a Southern Baptist.

Johner Riehl: Yeah.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It’s the same thing as vanilla, you’re rubbing the gums-they love that-it’s go the alcohol, which feels cool. The problem is you can get you kid drunk, and unfortunately it doesn’t take that much-and they did have a kid die of alcohol poisoning, so….
Johner Riehl: Because they were rubbing alcohol on their gums?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yes and then the child of course-it was an older child-ended up drinking.

Johner Riehl: God.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It was the dad. It was the dad. So the child actually got the shot glass.

Johner Riehl: So we’re not recommending that.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: No, we’re not recommending that. I mean, I think if you’re going to use something pure vanilla. Because the vanilla actually has that third effect; this is the calming effect.

Johner Riehl: Right. Ok.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Mmmhmm. In terms of systemic-that’s how docs talk- but in terms of your whole body and what may help-anything that calms them down. So the teething tablets work this way. Most of the teething tablets, or homeopathic remedies or herbal remedies; teething liquids, whatever will have chamomile in it or pulsatilla-and those two are calming agents. And you know the easiest one is an ounce of chamomile tea-no sweetener-it works lovely, especially right before bed. They go right to sleep, it works fabulous.

Johner Riehl: Can you mix that in with the milk, maybe?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: You certainly can, they love it.
Amy Askin: How much, did you say a tablespoon?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: No, about an ounce.

Amy Askin: An ounce? OK.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, I would never do more than about an ounce or two a day. So, the one big thing you’ll see all over the American Academy of Pediatrics information-do not give your children, well in Mexico it’s dedo manzanita. Manzanita, I’m telling you, it’s the cure for everything, for colicos-for colic-and they’ve got a list of things this works for, because it calms them down. It stops spasms, so it works well for your tummy spasms, diarrhea, and things like that. It stops spasms and it calms them down. But the problem is, people would give them eight ounces, ten ounces a day-and their salt falls and they lose weight because they’re not getting milk. So that’s why if you see these big warnings: “NO CHAMOMILE!” It’s nothing about the chamomile itself; it’s about giving them way too much. So if you limit it to one or two ounces a day, you’re fine. Make those ounces count, but they’re great. Either that or the pure extracts: the chamomile, the pulsatilla, the combinations-herbal combinations-work really well, especially for nighttime.

Johner Riehl: Amy, you’d asked about-what was it-the tablets before?

Amy Askin: Yeah, and you alluded to those; the teething tablets. I didn’t find them to work at all.

Ursula McDonald: Oh, I lived with those things.

Amy Askin: Everybody says that, so it must be me.

Johner Riehl: Maybe we’re not using them right, because they didn’t work for us either.

Ursula McDonald: It could depend on the kid!

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: It’s different kids and how they’re teeth come in.

Johner Riehl: OK, OK, yeah.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: How they’re teeth come in. You know, if they come in at nighttime and they’re very irritable, those tablets are going to work well. If they’re coming in fast and furious, like yours may have, and it’s really more the gums bothering them, than the topical, ice-chewing things are going to work better.

Amy Askin: And that’s what I found worked better for us.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: I think they just like the rubbing, I mean they love the rubbing.

Johner Riehl: It seems like rubbing really helps. It seems like anything that calms them down, whether or not it’s there-then it seems like frozen things for them to bite are kind of like the good tips. And then, we’re talking about vanilla and natural things. Are there any other natural things that you know of, or that you two know of, that might be some good things? Or did we cover all of them?

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: I think that we pretty much covered most of them, yeah.

Amy Askin: I keep saying those Gogurts, man. As soon as I could go to that, they were all about it.

Johner Riehl: So they’re just frozen?

Amy Askin: I just freeze them. I know I call them Gogurts, but they’re-I get them organic, Trader Joe’s

Johner Riehl: Like in the pouch?

Amy Askin: Yeah, like in the little pouch thing.

Ursula McDonald: Like the Otter Pops things.

Amy Askin: Ya, like the Otter Pops.

Johner Riehl: And you freeze them?

Amy Askin: Ya, and I just freeze them, because that’s ice cream in our house.

Johner Riehl: Yeah. Exactly; that’s a good overall tip.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: You can make ice cubes-you could make ice cubes out of chamomile tea, you can make ice cubes out of water with a little flavoring, whatever you like.

Ursula McDonald: Oh, yeah!

Johner Riehl: Especially if you have those little mesh bags that helps a lot, too. Put them in there.

Dr. Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, yeah.

Johner Riehl: Alright, well thank you so much, Dr. Zandvliet. Thank you so much, Ursula and Amy as well. Great conversation about teething. And for our listeners, if they want more information about today’s show or to join the conversation, the can go to our Facebook page. Make sure to go to the Parent Savers website to our “Episode Guide,” and we’ll have a link to Dr. Zandvliet’s website as well as a few other teething resources. We’re actually going to continue the conversation for Parent Savers Club member after we wrap up for some bonus content, so stick around for that if your one of our Parent Savers Club members. We’re going to talk a little bit more about why teeth come in the way that they do.


Johner Riehl: Here is a listener question from Kimberly, she writes: “My son seems to be really sensitive to loud sounds lately. He covers his ears and starts to cry whenever noises elevate. I don’t know what to do; my son was born with sepsis, has severe antibiotic treatments, transfusions, meningitis. He was treated and healthy but was later diagnosed with ADHD. I’ve only recently noticed the sensitivity to noise. His doctors seems to think it’s behavioral, but the pain in his eyes makes me think differently. What can I do?”

Amy Glow: Hi there, Kimberly. It’s Amy Glow from Tadpole Therapy answering your question. With your son’s complex medical history, you did the right thing by asking the doctor to evaluate your son’s hearing. I’m going to assume you’ve developed a good relationship with your doctor, and that he or she did a thorough evaluation to diagnose that your son’s sensitivity to noise has a behavioral root. I’m not a doctor, so it’s not my place to dispute their diagnosis, but I can give you a suggestion about how to move on from here. Your question to me is “what can I do?” Now I feel that that’s a question that should be aimed right back at your doctor. Go back and ask them to recommend a treatment plan for you-that’s what’s missing here! There are therapies available to work on behavior. The pain that you see in your son’s eyes may be a very real response to loud noises. I’d say it’s not a typical response, but he’s acting in a way that you don’t feel is right. Go back to the doctor and get recommendations to find the right professional. The right person can help your son tolerate loud noises in a way that doesn’t overwhelm him so much. While you’re waiting to see the doctor-or the specialist if you’ve gotten that far along-give yourself permission to be a mom and problem solve at home. You’ve followed your motherly instincts so far; continue to do that. If you feel like your son needs your help and you need to buy headphones to dampen the loud noises, do it. If you want to work with him on your own and gently introduce noise to him so he gets used to it gradually, go ahead. You won’t know what is the right or wrong thing to do until you get guidance from an expert: you’re just trying to survive here, and that’s fine. Be a mom. If you feel like your son would be better served by a different doctor, get a second opinion and then move forward. He’s going to need a team-and that team can be as small as you, a doctor, and a behavioral specialist. But he’s going to need a team to help him with his behavior or to look for other causes. You’ve done a great job so far, Kimberly, on using your motherly instincts to look for answers. Keep looking for them: your son is going to benefit from it.


Johner Riehl: That wraps up today’s episode. We’d love to hear from you guys, so if you have any questions for our expert, or about any topics; call our hotline, give us a tweet, comment on Facebook, and get in touch with us. We love having you guys participate in the show: it gives us some great topics and a great question to ask our expert. Next week we’ll continue our discussion of topics that new dads and new moms care about, and the topic is going to be Babywearing, which is a really big kind of emerging-I don’t want to say trend but it’s happening so much more these days. Everywhere you go, people are wearing babies, it’s almost weird if people aren’t wearing babies. You know, we have a baby in the studio right now being worn, [Laughter] as a matter of fact. All right. Thanks so much for listening everybody to Parent Savers, we’ll see you next week. This is Parent Savers: empowering new parents.

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