This past week has probably been the hardest in our 5 months as parents. Up until this week it was all fun and games as far as I’m concerned. We’ve been pretty lucky thus far with our little man, he is a happy baby that doesn’t generally cry unless in need of one of three things – a feed, nappy change or sleep. So appeasing him has always been easy.
This was until his first two teeth started to cut through his gums and he caught a nasty flu from his nanny. If you’re a new mom or expectant mom let this be my little bit of advice – if your nanny shows up to work and says she has a sore throat or looks sick – send her straight home, do not even let her enter your house, else you will end up like us with a sick baby with fevers, a nasty cough and a scratchy throat.
There is a certain level of guilt I carry on myself for this (I suppose the first of many more moments of guilt I will feel in the rest of my motherhood), I feel somewhat responsible that I didn’t protect my son more fiercely, but then there is a voice in me saying – ‘he has to experience this eventually, it’s all part of life and building a stronger immune system.’
Meanwhile, amid that phlegmy cough and fever, Esa was also in discomfort with teething. One of the tell tale signs that you can see that your baby may be teething is biting on everything, especially textured surfaces and fabrics – this tends to soothe the discomfort and ‘itchiness’ of the teeth pushing through. Our saving grace was also a teething powder called ‘Ashton & Parsons’, it costs a mere R27 and is an instant pacifier when Esa was having a teething meltdown.
When your baby is going through a tough time like this, while they need all their medicinal soothers, they also need loads of love, hugs, kisses and unending patience. I felt this went a long way. Stay calm and just love your baby, it helps loads too.
After a week of self medicating Esa, I followed my instincts and took him to a doctor who diagnosed him with flu. That’s when we learnt that contrary to popular belief, according to the doctor – teething causes teeth, nothing else – all those other symptoms of fever, cough etc was unrelated to teething and rather the symptoms of flu.
So mommies, don’t believe the hype, teething does not cause ear ache, or coughing or anything else.
In trying times like this past week, you may have moments when you want to cry too just out of pure sympathy for your child’s pain (I almost did!) and perhaps also out of exhaustion – but my advice would be to stay calm, make sure you always have Panado/Calpol in your home (this is for pain and fever) as well as ‘Ashton & Parson’s teething powder’. You don’t want to be caught off guard late at night when all the pharmacies/shops are closed and you are left with a cranky screaming baby.
This past week has certainly made us better parents, reminded me to always trust my motherly instincts and not fret too much about our baby getting sick – its part of growing up and getting stronger.
Happy Health Fabulous
Photography: Hemisha Bhana