So, I’ve been doing a lot of ‘digging around’ for some research into teething. Yep there is some, but conclusive, nope!
So why, have I been ‘digging around’ looking a ‘teething’ as a topic.? Well, it seems to me that lots of us like to blame anything and everything on teething. It seems that if a child isn’t sleeping, or they’re cranky, have sore bums, etc, etc that the answer is teething, and well you see, I don’t think I ‘buy’ it. Sorry……
Now, you must understand, before you read on, this is purely my two penneth, what I have gleaned through reading some (not all) but some research on the matter. I’m happy for you to disagree, like I said, this is just me opinion. But really, can teething be blamed for anything and everything?
You see to me, it doesn’t ‘ring true’ I was never convinced that my children suffered that much at the hands of ‘teething’. Yes, they did ‘drool’ yes sometimes their cheeks were red, yes, VERY OFTEN they were ‘cranky’ and two out of three of my children had particularly bad nappy rash. BUT really, at the hands of teething? I’m really not convinced today and I never was back then. I could point the same argument towards ‘colic’ too but that’s for a different blog.
So, here are the ‘said’ symptoms of teething:
- Colds and ear infections
- Biting Objects
- Sleep Problems
- Inflamed gums
- Red Cheeks
- Feeding problems
- Nappy Rash
- Pulling Ears
- Loose Stools
Quite some list there eh? Now I’m not saying that the gums never get sore or inflamed. I’m not saying either way in-fact. You see if you look at the research, it does work both ways. There is no evidence to say that these symptoms are the causes of teething, BUT there’s equally no evidence to say they’re not. So exactly what am I trying to say then? Well. to me the following makes much more sense.
Normal Physiological Processes
- Normal salivary gland development occurs at two to three months of age. When the salivary glands begin functioning baby begins to dribble, hence mothers may misinterpret as a sign of teething.
- Night awakening when baby develop a sense of *object permanence and call out to their parents is another normal developmental event mothers can assume is a symptom of teething.
Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way).
- At approximately six months of age, when the teeth are about to show, maternal antibodies upon which babies depend begins to decrease while they build up their own antibodies. This could contribute to them picking up infections.
- Baby starts to crawl at this age, pick unclean objects up from floor and into their mouths to help itch the gums. This can introduce pathogens and may lead to gastrointestinal disturbances associated increase in n body temperature.
Normal Infant Development
Could it also be considered that this period called teething ties in nicely with normal infant development?
Does this not sound more logical? Or do we consider the anecdotal evidence being the ‘signs’ of teething above that most mother’s report? Or could it be that we just have these beliefs passed down from generation to generation giving us the anecdotal evidence?
Don’t take my word for it though. Draw your own conclusions, I’m just putting it out there. After all I’m no expert dentist, pediatrician, GP, doctor, midwife, health visitor, (I wish) I’m just a Birth and Beyond Practitioner and mother of three children. This is purely my take on the info and research that’s about.
AND most importantly, what do I always say? “You’re the mother, you know your baby best.” So for that reason I will be producing another FREEBIE CHEAT SHEET full of hints and tips for teething. (Coming Soon)
What do you think? I’d love to know.