Teething is something that all children will go through and the process can be frustrating if you don’t know what to do. Babies become fussy for all sorts of reason and as a new parent it’s not always clear what the problem. There were times when I felt like nothing would make my son happy and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what he wanted. Once I figured out what the problem was, all I wanted to do was help my teething baby. Knowing what to expect along the way and how to ease the discomfort will help both you and your child.
When Will Your Baby Start Teething
Teething timelines can vary quite a bit from child to child but typically that first tooth will arrive when your baby is around 5 or 6 months old. By their first birthday, most babies will have most or all of their incisors (those cute little front teeth). Over their second year of life, most babies will get the rest of their teeth.
Some babies will get their first tooth as early as 3 months or as late as 18 months. The process of teething can also start and stop before their tooth actually breaks through. Unless there seem to be other problems, the timing of your baby’s first tooth shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Signs Your Baby Is Teething
- Irritability – Babies will typically become fussy when they start teething. The feeling of a tooth growing in is much like the constant, dull ache of a headache and your baby only has one way to verbalize their discomfort.
- Trouble Sleeping – The discomfort may also make it more difficult for your baby to fall asleep or stay asleep. If your baby already has difficulty falling asleep on their own, teething will only make it worse.
- Rejecting Food – You may notice that your baby no longer wants to eat solid food while they are teething. Sucking on a bottle (or breast) won’t cause extra pain and can actually be soothing.
- Drooling – excessive drooling is often a sign that your baby’s teeth are starting to come in. It can also just be that your baby hasn’t yet developed the ability to swallow all of the saliva their mouth is producing, so this sign by itself probably doesn’t mean teething.
- Rubbing Their Face and Ears – A sign that your baby is uncomfortable and may be teething is if they start rubbing their face and ears while they fuss. Try to keep their nails trimmed so they’re not scratching up their face.
- Trying to bite or chew – When a baby is teething, they often start chewing on anything they can get their hands on. My son would chew on my shoulder when I held him.
- Swollen gums – As their teeth start to come in, your babies gums may get swollen and you may even start to see the teeth just below the surface.
How You Can Help
- Let them chew – Teething toys are great. There are a ton to choose from and chewing on them will help ease the discomfort that your baby is feeling. Here are a couple of my favorites because they are entertaining as well as soothing.
- There are also wearable options so your baby will be able to keep them nearby.
- Massage gums – You can use your finger to massage your baby’s gums, just make sure you wash your hands well before putting them in your baby’s mouth. The pressure on their gums helps relieve the discomfort from their new teeth pushing up from inside.
- Cold – You can put a wet washcloth in the freezer and give it to your baby to help with teething. Leave part of it dry so there is a place to hold on to it. There are also teething toys that are designed to be frozen, like the key shaped one shown above.
- Teething necklaces – There are a few different options for teething necklaces. There are necklaces that you can wear so your baby has something handy to chew on while you are holding them. There are a variety of designs but here is one example.
- There are also teething necklaces for your baby to wear. These are different from the ones you wear because your baby doesn’t actually chew on them. They are made out of Baltic Amber and releases oils when it comes in contact with your baby’s warm skin. The oil contains succinic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and calming affects. They come in a variety of colors but this is what they look like.
- Distraction – Sometimes all it takes to give your baby some relief is a simple distraction. Drawing your baby’s attention to something else, like a book or toy, can help them to ignore the aching in their mouth.
- Gels and Creams – There are a variety of topical creams and gels that you can use. Orajel and Punkin Butt are a couple popular options, but you should check with your pediatrician before you start using any type of medicated treatment for your baby.
- Pain relievers – As a last resort you can use a pain reliever designed for infants like Infants’ Tylenol or Infants’ Motrin. Again, you should talk to your pediatrician before starting this type of treatment.
Maintain Your Sanity
When your baby is uncomfortable it can take a toll on us as moms. Every baby is different so try to find a solution that works for you. Just like anything else you go through with your baby, you’ll get through the teething phase just fine once you find the right solution.
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