Teething and the doctor

Doctors take teething seriously, and have passed along advice for parents. Dr. Sears, a leading proponent of attachment parenting, writes in The Baby Book that he favors attending to Baby’s comfort as much as possible. He specifically recommends allowing babies to chew on frozen bagels or a cleaned, smooth chicken leg bone.

The American Academy of Pediatrics in Your Baby’s First Yearsuggests rubbing or massaging Baby’s gums with finger (parental note: expect to get chomped on!), as well as the use of teething rings. Don’t be afraid to rub firmly—you’ll feel Baby pushing up against your finger to “meet” your touch.

Also, if you’re not positive it’s teething (pulling at the ears can also be a sign of ear infection, for example), don’t feel embarrassed about calling your child’s pediatrician. Most adhere to a “better-safe-than-sorry” philosophy. Leach, of Your Baby & Child, writes, “If your baby seems ill when you think he is teething, consult your doctor: He is either ill and teething, or simply ill.”

Dr. Sears says that while teething babies do drool, a runny nose is not teething-related, nor is drainage from the eyes. And, again, a fever over 101 degrees is rarely caused by teething. Finally, Sears writes, “Babies don’t act progressively sicker with teething.”

My husband and I took our son to the pediatrician twice for what were pretty certain—but not positive–was “only teething.” The first time, she diagnosed teething, and we went home embarrassed. The second time, a few months later, he really was sick and she praised us for bringing him in.

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