Medical Q&As

Grinding teeth - worms?

My 3 and a half year old girl has started to grind her teeth during her sleep. I am due our new baby any time now and was wondering was my little girl nervous or worried about being left out or is it a case of worms that my motherís generation is always talking about?

Your instincts may well be correct and your little girl may be feeling that things are a little different around the house as the expected day of delivery draws closer. However, I think it is very important that you donít view this matter in a negative or guilty frame of mind. Change always has an impact on peopleís feelings and in some respects three year olds may be much more in tune with such feelings than the adults that surround them. I would involve your little girl in the preparations for the forthcoming birth and also involve her in care of the baby after he or she arrives. Let her help you with cleaning and dressing the baby. Also make sure that both you and your partner spend special time with the child on her own, without the baby. Children sometimes feel a sense of displacement in terms of parental affection when a new baby arrives. It is not unusual for a sense of rivalry to develop and the new baby may be seen as a threat. I would regard such feelings in a small child as normal and the priority is to ensure that any level of insecurity is minimised. It is not possible for a new baby to arrive in a family without some ripples being created but my overriding message is that this is the essence of change and such reactions should not be regarded negatively. You also mention worms in your query. I doubt that worms have anything to do with this matter. You might like to read our feature on worms, which you can access through the following link: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=2738.