Thus far, as a parent, I have never felt as helpless as when Dragonling started teething. All I could do was stand by and watch with feeble attempts at pain relief thrown in for good measure. I’ve never wanted to take away someone’s pain as much as during that time.
I think this may be how my husband felt when I was in labor and all he could do was be there for support, he couldn’t fix it and he couldn’t speed up the process.
I didn’t expect to be comparing the two situations 7 months down the road, but here I am. Teething and labor are a like in a few ways.
#1 – You don’t know when it’s going to start.
With teething, as with labor, no one knows exactly when it is going to start. Doctors and other informed persons can give you a general timeline, but even experts cannot give you an exact start time.
This can cause a lot of stress for some people. You know… the type A kind. The ones who like to schedule their life. Completely.
Labor is a little easier to pin down, 9 months is pretty standard, but even then there are exceptions to the norm and, unless, you’re being induced or having a scheduled c-section you don’t know when it’s going to happen.
Teething is not quite so predictable.
According to BabyCenter.com, most babies get their first tooth when they are between 4 and 7 months old. That’s a pretty big time span. They then go on to say that some babies are late bloomers and could have to wait until after a year old to pop their first tooth. Still others, although quite rare, are born with a tooth!
#2 – You don’t know how long it will last.
For some women, labor is a very short, fast endeavor and for some it can last a few days. Teething is similar in that sometimes the tooth comes in days and sometimes it can take much, much longer.
Dragonling has been teething, off and on, for about 4 months with nothing to show.
This means that for 4 months no one has slept more than 3 hours at a time, we’re all a little (or a lot) crabby, and Momma and Papa are running out of methods for pain management that works. Which brings us to number three.
#3 – Pain management isn’t as easy as it sounds.
When a woman is in labor there are many different options for pain management. Some prefer to go all natural (no drugs), some want to be signed up for an epidural the moment they find out they’re pregnant, and there is a whole spectrum between the two. Even after choosing the type of pain management you want, there is no guarantee it will work.
That’s pretty much how teething works too.
Some parents want all natural pain relief. Some are all for dosing their child with pain medicine so that they are as comfortable as possible. And then there are a whole lot of us trying to find a workable balance between the two.
Since Dragonling started teething so early we only had one medicine option, acetaminophen, which we used sparingly. Because our medical options were limited I went on a search for other methods we could employ at home. Some of the things we’ve tried include: teething toys, cold/frozen wash cloth, clove oil, teething gel (not Orajel), and teething tablets.
#4 – Everyone’s experience is different.
Try asking a room full of women what labor was like. None of them will give the exact same answer.
Then, try asking a room full of parents what teething was like for their children. Same problem.
Plus, not only will the answers be different they will vary by pregnancy and by child, respectively.
#5 – After it’s over you forget how bad it really was.
It’s pretty much common knowledge that women forget how bad labor was after they have children. (Yay hormones!) I mean, we’d have to forget or the human race would cease to exist, right?
I think the same must be true of teething because otherwise people would only have one child. I can’t completely attest to this point because we’re still in the throes of the worst, but it has to be true. (Please someone tell me it’s true…)