Teething or Sick?

Baby Sadie’s first tooth is emerging! We weren’t sure when it would come since she was born 8 weeks premature. At 6 months, we thought she was teething and it ended up being a stomach bug. Now she is almost 9 months and I know it’s the real thing because I can see and feel the tooth!

If you’re unsure whether your baby is teething or sick, here are some other differences I noticed between the two:

Poop
Stomach bug: Sadie had diarrhea after almost every meal and it was basically liquid.
Teething: Sadie poops a little more frequently (like once a day instead of every other day) and it is a little softer but not liquid-y.

Disposition
Stomach bug: Sadie was consistently a little more tired and ornery but she was able to take long naps.
Teething: Sadie goes through periods of being happy to becoming a pure terror (where you can tell she is in pain and always wants something to bite). This is also made worse towards the end of the day because her naps are usually shorter so she is tired.

Eating
Stomach bug: Getting Sadie to take milk was a struggle (but I knew it was important to keep her hydrated because she had diarrhea). I could get her to take about 4 ounces each feeding and then she would turn away, lean back, and sometimes start crying.
Teething: Sadie takes a lot of milk (sometimes even more than she drinks normally) and then tries to bite the bottle and basically anything else around her.

Temperature
Stomach bug: Sadie’s temperature would spike to 99-100 degrees everyday. The highest temperature I recorded was 100.7 degrees.
Teething: Sadie seems warmer sometimes but the highest temperature I have recorded is 99.3 degrees.

If you suspect your little one has a stomach bug, some good things to try are frequent, smaller feedings and, if they are eating solids, bland foods (like rice cereal and bananas) and yogurt which is a natural probiotic.

Look at how ferocious she is!
Look at how ferocious she is!

If you think your little one is teething, a little extra TLC during this time can go a long way. Lots of distractions and entertainment during play time are good. I’ve found the gel teethers you can put in the fridge are popular as well as Sophie, the giraffe. I also try not to walk away as much since her developing separation anxiety seems to be made worse by the pain. As for sleeping, try to keep putting your baby down like normal but if they are really struggling it’s ok to rock them to sleep.

In both cases, I advise using your judgement to give whatever pain medication or fever reducer your doctor recommends when it seems like your little one needs the help.

We did not have Wally when Sadie got her stomach bug and didn’t consider getting a dog until she was better. Now that Sadie’s teething, Wally does get a little worried when she gets really upset; once she’s calmed down, I reward him with some love if he’s waited quietly for me.

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