Top 10 Things About Baby Teeth

Bubba boy has cut a few teeth lately! This means that his mouth has become a leaky faucet and that mama has learned some new things. Like that bibs match nothing and do very little and look silly and annoy baby’s neck. So, good they exist. Below are more things this really good boy mom has learned about baby teeth.

1. Babies like biting once they get teeth, and baby teeth are sharp! (Makes me glad my baby doesn’t suck on my boob for food. He does, however, currently enjoy biting my chin. Tiny zombie. Ye-ouch!)

2. Teething should not cause a fever! If baby has a fever while teeth are erupting you should check for other causes, like cold, flu, or ear infection.

3. Counter pressure helps. Actually pressing on baby’s gums where the tooth is erupting temporarily relieves baby’s pain.

4. Baby teeth typically show up around 6 months, but they can come early or late. Bubba got his first two pearly whites at 4.5 months.

5. Teething causes massive amounts of laundry, because drool. (Duh)

6. It’s common for baby to develop a little cough while teething. Excess saliva (drool) can leak down baby’s throat, causing irritation.

7. Excess saliva production while teething  also worsens acid reflux symptoms. Barf everywhere.

8. Baby teeth must be brushed!!! Babies can get cavities and tooth decay! Which may seem like common sense, but it’s a fact I didn’t know. Excellent boy mom over here.

9. Topical, over-the-counter teething gels are not recommended for use in babies. Gels of this sort typically contain lidocaine, which can speed up baby’s heart!!! Not excellent.

10. Babies younger than 6 months can have Tylenol every 4 hours to manage pain. For babies 6 months and older, you can alternate Tylenol and Motrin every two hours ( I was told). But always talk to your pediatrician about specifics for your babe.

BONUS: Teething is miserable but short lived. This too shall pass. And once they’re in, baby teeth are adorable!

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Ahh, Sleep: Part 3

To sleep train our puppy boy, Husband and I decided on the extinction method, which sounds like a cruel torture tactic inflicted on prisoners before they confess their sins and pay a visit to the guillotine. In reality, the extinction method is simply explained: place baby in crib and leave the room and don’t go back in until a pre-determined time, even if baby cries. So, pretty much a cruel torture tactic, says my heart. My much more rational head shushes my heart, telling it to calm down the melodrama, because baby is fed, warm, dry, and safe, and any crying he does during sleep training is in protest of the change in how he gets to sleep.

So, we begin.

At 6:30pm I give the bubs a bath, and we splash and play like the loving friends we are. Bubba does that hilarious thing where he clenches all his muscles and straightens his legs and arms at his sides, which is my signal to tickle his belly, and he screeches in delight, and I laugh and Eskimo kiss his nose and feel guilty over what is about to happen. I get that babe out of the tub and dry his pink skin. I massage lotion into his baby chub and sweetly sing “Baby Beluga,” and he gives me gummy grins as he sleepily coos along. Bubba yawns.  I sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as I dress that adorable boy in jammies, but I do not zip him into his swaddle sack, as, on advice of a sleep expert, we have decided to do away with all “sleep associations” at once. I feed the baby his bottle, and gently rock him as he drowsily lays his head on my chest. As I move towards the crib my heart leaps and I silently apologize as I place the baby in his crib, awake. I pat his belly, tell Bubba night night and that I love him, and I watch confusion register on that sweet cherub face. As I leave the room I immediately lose all will to sleep train because the boy begins to cry.

Husband hugs me, and I bury my face into his shoulder and try not to sob. We head downstairs where I try not to stare at the baby monitor while Husband distracts me with stories from his workday and makes me a grilled cheese. I smile weakly and nod when it’s story-appropriate, but I’m not actually listening, because I’m breaking my first self-imposed rule and watching the baby cry and flail his tiny arms on the video monitor. I was secretly hoping Bubba would be a champion self-soother in disguise, and the physical pain in my body becomes too much as we hit the 20-minutes-of-crying mark with no end in sight, and I choke on the lump in my throat and begin to cry.  Husband steers me to the couch and hands me earplugs and earbuds, and I block the sound of my crying baby out, and I sit and watch Netflix on my phone.

Miraculously, after 8 more minutes, Bubs settles down and smacks his adorable lips, as he has done so many times in my lap, and I love him so much that I miss him, and I eat my grilled cheese and hope that he is as ready to sleep as he looks.  I watch the monitor, enthralled, while the puppy’s entire body begins to relax, and I feel my own tension beginning to release, until Bubba’s startle reflex triggers and his little arms flail again, and he is at once wide awake and upset. I cry buckets of tears and nearly choke on my grilled cheese. I pass the monitor to Husband and try to focus on Netflix. When puppy repeats this settle-then-startle pattern two more times, I throw my hands up, angry at the sleep expert who insisted we remove baby’s swaddle, and I retreat to my bathroom and step into the shower. It has been one hour.

After about 20 minutes, Husband comes in to tell me that Bubs startled himself two more times but has now fallen asleep. I sob softly at the relief that fills me, and my body feels weary and heavy and then elated. The baby is asleep! On his own! He fussed for 35 more minutes than he does when I bounce him, but he’s sleeping!

Husband comes back in to tell me the baby has startled awake again. Anger pings from my head to my toes like a pinball, and I let out a roar from the depths of my soul, hoping that the stupid “sleep expert” feels the intensity of my rage from across town, and I think about the scathing Yelp review I plan to leave. I calmly ask Husband to sneak into Bubba’s room and zip him into his swaddle sack. He does, and baby is asleep within ten minutes. Stupid, stupid sleep expert. It’s been one hour & 40 minutes of crying, fussing, settling, startling, and crying again, and mama is so tired.

This time I don’t dare trust that the baby will remain asleep, so I crawl into bed with my laptop and a book of Sudoku puzzles. I wake up 4 hours later to Bubba crying & I nudge Husband awake. The baby just slept 4 hours!! That’s the longest he has slept since birth!! And we slept too!! Husband and I are giddy, and I pump some breastmilk as Daddy heads in to feed the baby his bottle. I watch the monitor while Husband puts the baby back in his crib, and I brace for more crying, but to my astonishment, Bubs smacks his lips and turns his head and dreamily drifts off to sleep. I cry with pride and love and almighty relief, and when Husband comes back into the room he chuckles and holds my face in his hands and kisses my tears. Husband jokes that I’m going to need to be hospitalized for dehydration from all the crying. I laugh and squeeze him and settle in to get some rest.

I wake up and it’s morning. I look over at Husband playing video games on the iPad. He shakes his head and grins, pointing to the monitor. That puppy boy is still asleep!!! I seize the monitor and zoom in, watching closely for signs of breath. Husband laughs and tells me he did the same thing when he woke up. Not two seconds later the baby stirs. I sit up straight and wait the appropriate 10 minutes to allow the boy some alone time in his crib, then I run into his room and cheerily greet him. Bubba blinks sleep from his eyes and gives me a gummy grin that dimples his cheeks. He clenches his muscles and straightens his legs and arms at his sides, and I tickle his belly, and we both laugh. I scoop that baby boy up into my arms and kiss him all over, and I thank him for trusting and loving me, and he grabs a fistful of my hair and screeches in my ear with delight.

It took one hour and 40 minutes on night 1 of sleep training for baby to fall & stay asleep. I never did write the sleep expert a bad Yelp review, but I firmly believe that my baby would have had a much easier time getting to sleep had we put him in his swaddle sack as usual. We continued sleep training that next day, with swaddle sack, and it took another 2 naps before Bubs took to independent sleeping completely. That’s it – one night and two naps. Though the extinction method sounds like a torture tactic, it caused my boy no more than 3 hours of crying and fussing in total, as opposed to the 45 minutes of crying and fussing he was experiencing every single nap and bedtime as I bounced all 16 pounds of him to sleep. Now when we do our bedtime routine, Bubba bucks in my arms when he’s ready to be put in his crib. I kiss his forehead and try not to laugh, then I set him down in his crib and pat his belly and tell him I love him, then Bubs smacks his little lips and turns on his side and goes to sleep. He is my favorite little boy in the world, and sleep training is the best parenting decision we’ve made so far, and I am now a happily well-rested, really good boy mom.

Ahh, Sleep: Part 2

Originally, I was super against sleep training (ST). As an emotional pregnant lady, I read some articles about sleep training causing long term psychological damage leading to a child’s inability to bond with any caretaker. Reading articles made me an expert, obviously, and I began to tell Husband (and anyone else who would listen) about the dangers of leaving baby to cry and cry, refusing to go to baby or give him what he needs, and, frankly, being a little selfish just because you’re tired. Obviously, we would not be sleep training our babe, and don’t I look pretty on my high horse.

Sleep deprivation has slowly eroded my fierce anti-sleep-training stance. I began to research a bit more. I read articles that pointed out the fallacies in the original articles I had read. I read articles from actual scientific journals on the importance of getting good sleep. I began to understand that sleep training put another way is sleep learning, and learning a new way to sleep is something that baby may protest by crying. I read an article that put sleep training into perspective for me with one line: “just as we can’t start daycare for a baby, we can’t learn to sleep for a baby either.” Duh. I began to eat a little crow and accept that sitting on a high horse made me a bit of an ass. And mostly, I began to watch my child.

Baby boy was becoming increasingly harder to put down for naps and bedtime. The 10 minutes of bouncing it took to get Bubs to sleep was becoming 20, 30, 45 minutes. No longer was Bubba content to drift to sleep with polite little movements; he had begun to buck in my arms, as if he wanted to be put down, requiring me to tighten my grip and really jostle him, just shy of causing whiplash, to get him to settle. The 4-6 nighttime wakings we had been experiencing were increasing in number and sleep was shortening in duration. Besides one good 2-3 hour stretch of sleep every evening, Bubs was waking nearly every hour during the night. And the most blantant indicator: Bubba was crying in protest of sleep, even in my arms. He was ready for more independent sleep.

So, we made a plan. We decided Husband would take a long weekend from work, and we would begin sleep training on Wednesday. So, naturally, Tuesday night went great:

 

6:30-7:20pm:

Sing bedtime song. Put adorable baby in swaddle sack and bounce vigorously for 45 minutes. Baby protests but eventually falls asleep. Sit on bed next to cosleeper and rest arms. Offer baby a dreamfeed and take a mental snapshot of that beautiful boy all snug as he gulps from his bottle. Once he has finished, gently place baby in bed. Settle in to get needed rest during what is typically baby’s longest stretch of sleep.

8:15pm:

Check clock on phone. What the crap, baby hasn’t even been down an hour! Scoop baby up and feed. Once asleep, carefully transfer baby back to bed. Lay head down and close eyes.

9:05pm:

You’re joking. Scoop boy up, feed him. Once asleep, gently place baby in bed. Lay down and close eyes.

10:10pm:

Again, feed and set back in bed. Lay down.

11pm:

What is happening??? Feed baby, try to put him back in bed, stop when he starts to cry again. Feed him some more. Hold heavy-with-exhaustion head up with hand as baby finishes his bottle and smacks his lips. Make extra sure baby is asleep. Slowly and carefully place baby back in bed. Lay self back down.

12am:

Feel sleep being ripped away as the room lights up with humongous flashes of white lightning that wake the baby. Burst into sleep deprived tears and curse the universe’s obvious will to sabotage sleep. Scoop baby up as thunderous roars shake the windows and make the house feel like it’s going to fall down. Pop bottle into baby’s mouth. Try not to jump 10 feet when lightning strikes the field behind the house and thunder belches from the sky. Imagine lightning hitting the house and cry more from both an unhealthy exhaustion and a new and healthy fear of Mother Nature. Once baby is back to sleep try not to let tears drop onto his face.

12:20am:

Silently curse all of existence as baby wakes up again. Announce to Husband his turn is starting early. Jam earplugs in.

12:40am:

Get up and find thumb tacks. Gather all the available blankets in the house. Tack blankets up over windows for makeshift blackout curtains because of damn lightning. Lay head down.

2 am:

Hold flashlight for Husband while he pedals baby’s legs to relieve gas. Lay down.

2:15am:

Hold flashlight for Husband while he changes poopy diaper that may have been the sleep stealing culprit of the first half of the night. Lay down. Get back up because baby is not sleeping and Husband is annoyed. Bounce baby.

3:15am:

Pass baby off to Husband and lay down. Try to sleep while Husband bounces baby.

4am:

Wake up because Husband woke baby as he tried to make the lap-to-cosleeper transfer. Bounce baby. Sit with baby in lap. Attempt lap-to-cosleeper transfer and wake baby. Bounce baby. Sit with baby in lap. Cradle baby in arm and gently shift body weight until laying horizontally with baby asleep in crook of arm. Have Husband prop pillows around body and head. Fall asleep

5:45am:

Feed baby. Repeat body weight shift trick. Prop pillows.

6:30am:

Feed baby. Repeat body weight shift trick. Prop pillows.

7:30am:

Baby wakes for the day. Husband gets ready for work. Transfer the mother loving crib to the mother loving baby’s room because ST is happening TONIGHT. Pray to the almighty and beg for postponement of any storms. Tack up blankets as makeshift black out curtains in baby’s room just in case.

After Tuesday night, we’re gonna need a bigger boat.