Signs of Teething and How You Can Comfort Your Baby
Signs of Teething
Ar irritable baby is nothing new, but trying to console your little one when you’re not sure how to help can feel overwhelming. What if you aren’t even sure what’s causing their discomfort? Teething is one of those recurring milestones that can be quite uncomfortable for your baby. Here we’ve put together a guide to the signs of teething, so you can be ready for when it starts and learn the best methods to get your tiny human back to smiling…and showing off their new pearly whites.
What is teething?
Teething is an ongoing process which begins when an infant’s first baby teeth appear. It can be painful for your baby as the teeth prepare to break through the gums. It’s rare that babies are born with teeth, so this will be a “first” milestone you’ll witness your baby go through. The bottom middle teeth are generally the first teeth to erupt.
Each baby’s timeline for teething will be different, and the order in which the teeth appear isn’t the same for every child either. The process of teething will continue off and on until your baby is close to 2 years of age. It’s essential to equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to help your baby through this normal, albeit uncomfortable, stage.
When do babies start teething?
Though it is most common for babies to begin teething around six months of age, anywhere from 3 -12 months for that first tooth to pop through is considered normal. The teeth will often appear in pairs. Don’t be alarmed if your child’s development falls out of this range, it is usually not a cause for worry. Often it is hereditary. However, if you are concerned or your babies has reached 18 months of age, seeing a dentist is suggested. Once the teething process begins, it will ebb and flow until around your child’s second birthday when they get their 2-year molars. The outline below gives an idea of when you’ll see some of your child’s teeth appear.
- Central Incisors – 6 -12 months
- Lateral Incisors – 9-16 months
- Canines – 16 – 23 months
- First Molars – 13 – 19 months
- Second Molars – 23 – 31 months
With all child development, it’s important to remember that your child is unique. Your child’s teeth will appear when they are ready!
Now that you have an idea of when babies start teething and how the process continues through toddlerhood, it’s important to be prepared with knowing the signs that it is happening and how to keep them comfortable when it does.
How do I know if my baby is teething?
It’s important to know if your baby is teething instead of going through another normal infant behavior (or even sickness). Teething is often misdiagnosed when parents notice their babies drooling or putting their hands in their mouth. This oral phase of infant development can mirror teething, so it’s important to take note of the (sometimes subtle) differences.
The following symptoms in combination will allow you to accurately diagnose your baby’s teething so that you can comfort them as best as possible:
- Biting – If your baby seems to be biting more on toys, their fingers, or your breast this can be a tell-tale sign that your child is teething.
- Excessive Drool – Baby drool is normal at lots of stages, so look for this in conjunction with other symptoms. A rash on your child’s face can also occur as a result of the increased saliva around their mouth.
- Interrupted Sleep – Your baby’s naps are suddenly shorter…or your usually good sleeper has begun waking up multiple times at night.
- Extra Fussy – Your baby is visibly more irritable, often at night in the distraction-free zone of her quiet room.
- Eating Less – Just as adults don’t want to eat when it triggers pain, neither do babies. Solid food that comes into contact with the teething area can sometimes cause more soreness. As long as your baby is eating a healthy amount of milk or formula, there is no need to worry that their solid food intake is decreased.
- Pulling on Ears – The pain of teething can sometimes be felt in the ear canal. Your baby may pull on their ear to try to make the discomfort go away. But this can also be a sign of an ear infection, so be sure to rule that out.
You might be wondering if fever or diarrhea are other symptoms you should be looking for. It’s likely you’ve had a well-meaning friend quickly jump to telling you your baby is teething when you mention they have a fever. According to WebMD, a slightly raised body temperature may be a sign of teething. But they caution that if it is anything over 100.4, it is very unlikely a result of teething. As for diarrhea, there has been no conclusive evidence linking diarrhea to teething. If your baby has anything above a low-grade fever or diarrhea, teething is most likely not the cause so be sure to consult your doctor.
Helping Your Teething Baby Feel Better
Now that you’ve found out exactly when to pinpoint the time your baby is teething, you’re ready to find out some practical ways to get your little one back to feeling their best. Chances are you’re ready to get your own sleeping patterns back on track, as well! A complete erasing of the discomforts of teething isn’t likely, but we at least have some tips to manage your baby’s sore gums until they are through a teething stage.
- Rubbing your baby’s gums using a clean finger or moistened gauze pad will help your baby feel better.
- Anything cool or chilled, such as a spoon or teething ring, will alleviate your baby’s soreness. It’s best to stay away from anything frozen, however, as this can actually cause more pain.
- Give your baby hard food they can gnaw on. Something like a large carrot can feel good for them to bite on. Be sure to keep a close watch on your baby when doing so.
Additionally, to prevent irritation to your baby’s skin, frequently dry away the drool with a cloth. This will help deter a rash from forming.
Some parents wonder if giving their child the proper dosage of a pain reliever is okay for teething. It is strongly cautioned against by the FDA and AAP. They also provide warnings about topical medications. This would be a perfect time to consult your child’s doctor for the best next steps.
Using the above tips will surely help your irritable teething baby. We know that all you want is for them to feel good and be happy!
Navigating the Teething Stages
Once you get through one stage of teething, it will often feel like more signs of teething are already showing back up. It can feel this way those first two years when your baby’s mouth has a lot of activity going on! Using the tips provided will help your baby (and you!) navigate the several stages of teething as comfortably as possible. Later on, when your child gets their first adult tooth and seems like they’re growing up way too fast, you just might be wishing for those teething days back.