The wannabe toddler at 9 months

On Tuesday, Joel will be 40 weeks old. That means he’ll have been living outside of me for as long as he was living inside of me – he was born on his due date, so exactly 40 weeks of pregnancy. Time seems to have flown by quicker now that he’s here than when I was pregnant, probably because I didn’t enjoy pregnancy and I’m much preferring having a baby to look after, even if it is hard work sometimes.

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Time also seems to have flown by faster than it did with Andrew at this age. I went back to work when Andrew was pretty much exactly 9 months old, so that would be the equivalent of now if I was going back to work this time. The thought of going back to work right now seems crazy – if I was I don’t think I would be ready, but that could also be because I’ve known from the start that I’m not going back (for a few years anyway), so I haven’t prepared myself as there is no need. I’m loving the often challenging but highly rewarding role that I’m currently in but not being paid for 😉

Looking back at the past month or so, Joel has come on leaps and bounds in his development – literally! He is now crawling at a rate of knots everywhere and anywhere, and also cruising if there is furniture in the places where he wants to go. He’s trying to climb on things and getting stuck under chairs when I turn my back for just a minute. He loves the bouncer in the doorway and jumps really quite high in it for a little chap.

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As for food, he’s shovelling fistfuls into his mouth like there’s no tomorrow, and has an appetite to rival that of his hungry big brother – both of them seem to take after Daddy in that they eat a lot for their size but must burn it off in all the activity they do. Joel’s lack of teeth don’t seem to be hindering his progress on the eating front; the first one on the bottom left is just beginning to poke out now. Andrew was the same at this age, with no teeth until nearly 10 months, eating what we eat with little trouble, it just took him longer until he had teeth to help him out with chewier foods.

The amount of time that Joel breastfeeds for each day has reduced quite dramatically recently, and he only really wants much milk first thing in the morning when nobody else is up (5am usually) and last thing before bed. He’ll have a bit here and there in the daytime, but nothing to write home about. The amount of formula supplementation that he is taking is now very little compared to what he was taking at the peak of milk intake just before he started eating solid foods. I’m happy about this and it won’t be long before he ditches the formula all together and I’ll let him continue to breastfeed for as long as he would like. Some days it feels like that won’t be much longer the way he’s going, but I think Andrew was similar at this age and he is still going now, albeit just 5 minutes or so before bed. Neither of them have been remotely interested in feeding when there is stuff going on and when we’re out and about since they were about 4 months old!

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As I look back on what life has been like since we became a family of four, I realise that the first few months were in fact easier than I feel things are now. Of course the sleep deprivation was worse, but it was actually easier to look after one energetic toddler and one sleepy baby who would stay still if you put him down and generally didn’t complain much at all. Now I’m looking after two energetic kids – a fully fledged toddler and a wannabe toddler who still hasn’t figured out the cause and effect thing: if you let go of what you’re holding on to whilst standing and turn around, you will fall down! This is hard work for me.

It’s probably also got harder because Andrew is now wearing pants and we’re having mixed success with some days being mostly dry and others being a complete wet disaster. One saving grace in all the running around after two of them is that Joel is now having a good afternoon nap which he never used to, so I do get about an hour on my own when they are both napping in the afternoon and I can rest.

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It’s all good though, and I think their activity and interest in everything around them can only be good things in the long run. I knew having 2 children with a 21 month age gap would be challenging, and in many ways it is, but overall I wouldn’t change our situation for the world. My boys are now interacting with each other and it’s so cute watching them discover how they can brother the other one – mostly this involves smiles, giggles and hugs, with the odd disagreement of course.

Next stop – a first birthday!

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Dentinox teething toothpaste and brush review

Recently Andrew seems to have been in pain when we’ve been brushing his teeth. I’m guessing it’s because he’s teething, because generally he’s been very good at letting us brush his teeth right from when his first ones came through. And in general he hasn’t seemed to suffer too much compared to other babies and toddlers we know when teething. It hasn’t really stopped him sleeping at night, nor put him off his food (that takes quite a lot to do!), and apart from the odd grizzly moment, slightly runnier nappies and chewing his hands, it hasn’t bothered him terribly. His first teeth didn’t come through until he was 10 months old, which is quite late, but since then he’s had something come through pretty much most of the time, bit by bit. Now he’s just got his canines and second molars to go, which I can imagine would be quite painful compared to others, because the canines are pointier and the molars are bigger.

It was just around the time that we were really struggling to get him to open his mouth without screaming so that we could get a toothbrush even near his teeth, that I was contacted by Dentinox, manufacturer of teething (and other baby) products, to ask if I would like to review any of their products. When I saw that there was a teething toothpaste and toothbrush and on offer, I thought that these would be perfect to try. I just didn’t know what else to do about brushing his teeth: I didn’t want to give up, but also didn’t want to put him off completely by making it such an ordeal for him every time we brushed his teeth. I’d even tried just letting him play with the toothbrush before and/or after the attempted brushings, all to no avail. So anything I could try was worth a go.

The teething toothpaste and toothbrush come together in a box just like the one on the right

What are the products like?

The toothbrush is a rubber tube, a bit like a long thimble, that goes over your finger, and you use your finger to do the brushing. I found this much easier than using a normal brush, because I could feel exactly where I was brushing, rather than trying to peer into the darkness of his mouth whilst trying to restrain him and keep his mouth open – not very easy with only two hands, one of which is holding a relatively long brush (even baby toothbrushes are quite long compared to the size of their mouth at that age).

It says to use circular movements when brushing. I have to say I’m not sure I’ve got the hang of that, because even though he’s a lot more willing to let us brush with this brush and paste, I still don’t feel like I have loads of time to concentrate on the precise action that I’m doing, before he starts to wriggle. I just try to brush as well as I can, because I think any brushing is better than no brushing!

The bristles are made of the same rubber as the tube bit, and feel a lot gentler when I rub them against my skin compared to even Andrew’s soft baby toothbrush that we were using before. The toothpaste is made with clove oil, which claims to ease teething pains; as a result, it smells lovely (to me!) and tastes very mild (I tried a little bit myself to see), not like the usual minty taste of toothpaste, even the very mild mint of baby toothpastes.

When did we use them?

We used the toothbrush and toothpaste every morning and every evening, just as we normally do. There are no particular instructions on the box about frequency of brushing, but I’m presuming it’s just the usual recommended frequency that you see in the parenting books and children’s oral health leaflets etc.

What age are they for?

The box says that the products are for age 0-2 years. As Andrew is 18 months, he still fits well and truly within this range. At the rate he’s going, most of his teeth should be through by 24 months, but the second molars could take up to nearly age 3 to erupt. I’m not sure whether there is a reason why it couldn’t be used over age 2 though – my guess is something to do with fluoride levels, as these presumably increase in pastes that are intended for older children and then adults even more. Our usual baby toothpaste also says suitable for 0-2 years, so I think it’s pretty standard. If he does have trouble with us brushing his teeth beyond 2 years, I’ll look into this further, though maybe just using the fingertip brush and paste for 3+ years would work.

Any things to watch out for?

The one (slight) downside that I can see is that you have to watch out for your finger being bitten! When I say  bitten, I mean ‘chewed on’ or ‘teethed on’ really. It hasn’t happened often, and when it has, it’s not that he’s deliberately bitten me like he’d bite some food, but more of a ‘oooh, this rubbery thing in my mouth feels good to chew on/ teethe on a bit like my teething toy’ kind of action. Now that I know of this possibility, I’ve been able to watch out for it in advance, which has helped.

How much do they cost?

The toothbrush and toothpaste have a RRP of £3.05, and you can buy them from most pharmacies (as the daughter of previous owners of an independent pharmacy, I’m not going to name the chains that you all know anyway!) I think that this is a good price for a 30ml tube of toothpaste as well as a brush. As you only need a pea-sized amount of paste each time, the tube will last a long time, and I presume the brush will wear out less quickly than an ordinary bristled toothbrush.

My overall opinion of the products…

We definitely noticed the difference between these products and his existing toothbrush and paste on the very first brushing session: there were no tears! This was quite a change from recent brushings, so overall I am very happy with the toothbrush and paste, and would recommend them for teething toddlers (and babies) who are having issues with teeth brushing.

I was also sent some Dentinox teething gel, but as Andrew generally hasn’t seemed too bothered by his teething apart from the brushing, I haven’t had chance to use it yet. If I do find that we need to try it, I’ll do a separate review later.

Disclaimer

I have received no financial reward for reviewing these products (other than receiving the products themselves free of charge), and all views are my own, based on what I experienced using the products.

Andrew smiling with his bottom central incisors showing - before he got his lateral incisors and still no canines, yet!