The onset of baby teething towards that first tooth is a big step in your little one’s life, but it comes along with a fair amount of discomfort, too.
Sometimes, the eruption of teeth can cause occasional fussiness and irritability.
But teething isn’t the only reason for a fussy baby, so you’ll want to sort out whether your child is grumpy due to teething symptoms — or something else.
How Do You Know When Your Baby is Teething?
Every baby is different, so no two children will exhibit the same signs of teething.
Before we jump into the symptoms, let’s talk about babies and teething in general so you have all the background on this exciting new stage in your baby’s life.
What is Teething?
Your baby was born with teeth situated below the gumline — 20 of them! These are called “primary teeth” and they’re the first ones on the developmental scene.
When they start to grow upward and move through the gums, or “erupt,” that process is called “teething.”
In Which Month Do Babies Start Teething?
Every child is different, but most babies begin to teethe between four and seven months of age.
Getting those first teeth is an important milestone to let you know your baby is on the right track, developmentally.
While four to seven months is a guideline, every baby is different, so don’t panic if you don’t see that first tooth by month seven.
However, if you still haven’t noticed any teeth by 18 months, it’s time to see a pediatric dentist to make sure everything is on track.
Signs a Baby is Teething
Although some babies breeze through the baby teething experience with hardly any symptoms, others can have one or more of the following:
- Swollen or tender gums
- A visible tooth below the gum
- Fussiness or irritability
- Trouble sleeping
- Gnawing or biting on everything
- A change in eating patterns
- Face rubbing
- Ear grabbing
- A slight temperature (under 101F)
If your baby has other symptoms, like rashes, cough, a higher fever, or diarrhea and vomiting — call your doctor. These are not the signs of a fussy teething baby.
Is Your Baby Teething? Ways to Help Relieve Your Baby’s Teething Pain
If you’ve got a fussy, teething baby then you’ll want as much baby teething information as you can get your hands on.
Fortunately, there are many ways to soothe your child’s teething pain — although we recommend natural remedies to over-the-counter help.
Some over-the-counter medications have had warnings issued due to mislabeling and ingredients found to be unsafe for baby.
One homeopathic product, Hyland’s Teething Tablets, were recalled due to the presence of alkaloids of belladonna in the formula.
Belladonna, or deadly nightshade, is an unsafe substance used as a sedative, an ointment for joint pain, and various other uses.
Two other widely used baby teething formulas, Anbesol and Orajel, contain benzocaine, a substance the FDA says can cause a blood disorder that can be serious — and even fatal.
While there are some drugstore remedies currently available that are regarded as safe, we think it’s best to be conservative and try and manage baby teething pain a more natural way.
So, don’t fret — there are many fantastic ways to soothe your baby’s pain naturally. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
1. Massage the Gums
Who doesn’t love a massage? Babies who are teething can get relief if you apply gentle pressure to their sore gums with a clean finger.
If your baby’s back teeth are coming in, consider a gum massager that can reach all the way to the back of his mouth to hit those hard-to-reach sore spots, like the ZoLi Chubby Gummy Gum Massager.
2. Apply Something Cold
Using something cold can help numb the pain of growing teeth. You can keep a range of spoons in your fridge (not freezer — frozen metal can stick to baby’s gums!) and offer them as needed for baby to gnaw on.
An ice cube in a muslin bag can do wonders for baby’s gums, too.
If your little one is ready for solid foods, offer foods that have been nicely chilled. This will not only make his gums feel good, but fill his tummy as well.
A great way to contain the mess while giving baby some cold foods is to use a clever mesh bag in pacifier form that you can fill with chilled fruit, like the Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder.
Some teethers have built-in cooling such as the MAM Mini Cooler Teether. Just pop it in the freezer and take out when your little one is feeling uncomfortable!
3. Offer the Breast
If you’re breastfeeding, offering the breast can comfort a baby in pain. While some reject the breast during teething because sucking aggravates their pain, others crave the closeness.
If your baby is using your nipples as a teething toy, however, it’s best to do a quick gum massage before feeding to reduce the chances of biting and gnawing.
4. Wear a Teether
Teething babies love to gnaw, even if they’re being held. This means any jewelry you may wear is fair game for baby’s mouth.
To keep your little one safe — and soothe her gums in the process — consider wearing baby teething jewelry.
You can wear a soft, silicone necklace in fun and fashionable colors to keep baby calm at home or on-the-go. The necklace is made of safe, organic, food-grade organic silicone and can be frozen or cooled for extra relief.
Succinic acid has analgesic properties to help with pain relief, although it’s difficult to know whether this is effective for baby teething.
5. Try an Oldie but Goodie
Teething rings and teething toys have been around for decades, and they still work great.
You can find old standbys, like Sophie La Girafe, or choose from any of the colorful rings and shapes at your local baby store.
If you like sustainable, natural teethers, choose one made of wood. Wood doesn’t attract dirt and dust like silicone and it’s safe for baby.
Wood teethers can come with a rattle component or other shapes and rings to keep baby’s mind off her pain.
Celebrate the Milestone with a Calmer, Happier Teething Baby
That first tooth is a big deal!
Help your little one — and yourself — enjoy the milestone more by using one or more of these baby teething remedies to help soothe your baby’s fussy moments.
Teething pain can come and go, so your baby won’t be fussy forever.
In the meantime, give him lots of love and comfort with one — or more — of these simple, natural solutions to the pain and discomfort of teething.
Is your baby teething? If so, what age have they started?
Share with us in the comments below!