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.
Just as soon as you get them to start sleeping well, they start teething! Parents can’t win, am I right?
Sometimes, the eruption of teeth can cause symptoms such as occasional fussiness and irritability. It’s understandable, as none of us can even remember that first tooth making its way through the gumline—sounds like ouch to me!
When do babies start teething? As a parent, it is important to know when teething begins so that you can prepare. You will want to get the best care and lessen the discomfort your child may be feeling.
There is a certain amount of confusion surrounding teething because it often coincides with a time when your baby is vulnerable to other ailments. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what the signs of teething are and how they can be effectively treated.
But teething isn’t the only reason for a fussy baby, so you’ll want to sort out whether your little one is grumpy due to teething symptoms — or something else.
How Do You Know When Your Baby is Teething?
Our first baby had teeth starting to pop out at 4 months, while our second didn’t show until 7 months. Our third child had baby teething symptoms for two months before any teeth decided to make an appearance!
Teething can be an extremely distressing time for your little one. Every baby is different, so no two children will exhibit the same signs of teething. Therefore, it can be difficult to know how to make them feel better.
Thankfully, there are now plenty of resources to help you during this challenging stage of your baby’s development. These early growing pains may cause their gums to itch and make them drool more. It is helpful to know exactly what to do so that your baby does not have to suffer too much.
Before we jump into baby teething 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?
Teething is the process in which a baby’s first teeth start to peek through the gums; typically arriving in pairs. 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.” It can be a painful time for babies and a disconcerting time for parents. The best way to react to teething is by staying informed.
To get a little technical, the mandibular central incisors are the very first set of teeth that poke through, which usually occurs between 6-12 months of age. It is natural for your baby to get more upset than they usually might during this period.
This can save your baby a lot of pain. Luckily, there are several tips that’ll make the process far less traumatic for your little one, that we’ll discuss in this blog.
In Which Month Do Babies Start Teething?
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. (Don’t forget to write it down in your baby book!)
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. It should be pretty clear when the first tooth appears and your baby’s behavior will also be an indication of the beginning of the teething period.
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.
How long does teething last?
There’s no definite answer to this. Some babies are born with a couple of teeth and keep teething until around 1 year old, while others have to wait until their age 1 to show any signs of teething at all. Research has shown that girls tend to get their first teeth before boys.
Try to enjoy that brief period between the hectic early days and the teething days. There will be many sleepless nights because of teething even with the many remedies we are about to discuss.
Generally, though, it usually takes a couple of years for all 20 teeth to make an appearance. I know, I know. It’s going to be a tough period for you both, but you’ll get through it, mama!
Misdiagnosis of teething
There are many misconceptions associated with teething to be aware of. When a baby suffers a fever or diarrhea, it’s immediately linked to teething. However, while teething may cause a slightly raised temperature, an extreme fever could be the sign of something entirely different. If you notice your child develops any of these symptoms, be sure to speak to your GP.
Signs a Baby is Teething
If you believe your baby is at the teething stage, it’s best to stay on the lookout for any signs and symptoms which may indicate this stage of their growth.
Your baby may get irritable at the best of times, but if you notice they’re becoming irritable more regularly than usual, this could be a sign of teething. At this stage, the first teeth to poke through are molars, which tend to be the most painful.
Drooling/ skin rashes
Teething can stimulate a lot of drooling, so make sure you have a small towel handy to prevent them from slobbering over your grandma’s best dress!
Can teething cause a rash on their body? As a result of excessive drooling, it’s not uncommon for a rash to develop around the mouth, chin, and neck which is a result of the bacteria caused in saliva. A rash can be very uncomfortable for your baby and can look quite upsetting if you don’t understand why it has appeared.
If you notice any redness or irritation on the skin, aim to keep the area as clean and dry as possible, by wiping with a cloth. You may also decide to apply some cream that will help soothe the chafed skin. You may have to do this on a regular basis over a long period of time so it is important that you get a cream that does the job well.
Teething has also been associated with a minor cough, however, it shouldn’t persist. If your infant’s cough is prolonged over a week or so, be sure to make an appointment with your GP. It may be a sign your little one has a cold.
One of the most common symptoms of teething is biting and gnawing anything in sight, due to irritated gums. The pressure of clamping down on their gums can alleviate some of the pain as their teeth peek through.
It is quite funny to see your baby go on a biting rampage. They just want to lessen the growing pains as their teeth start to arrive. Teething has probably already begun if your baby starts to bite their cheek or hands or if they start to bite you.
If your infant starts to rub their cheek against things – don’t panic, they haven’t morphed into a cat! The pain in the gums can travel through the cheek and up into the ears, as the molars start to push through. So, it’s not uncommon that they’ll find relief rubbing these particular areas on anything in sight.
This can seem quite strange but it is a very common symptom that should subside as the first few teeth start to come through.
Sticking tongue out
It is also common to see your baby sticking their tongue out during teething. A protruding tongue is one of the cuter signs that teething has begun. Not all signs that teeth are coming through have to be as distressing as skin rashes and coughing.
If your baby is constantly sticking their tongue out this is not always a sign of teething. A protruding tongue can also be a sign of other issues to do with your baby’s mouth. If you think this is a problem you should consult your GP or a medical professional.
Some of the other symptoms to watch out for include:
- 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)
Do I need to call a doctor?
In most cases, you can take care of your baby’s teething at home as it’s just a natural process they need to go through as part of their growth. However, as mentioned above, you should be extra wary of a high fever, diarrhea or other signs of illness that don’t seem normal and contact the doctor if any of these symptoms occur.
You should also be wary of symptoms that overlap with other medical issues. A medical professional will be able to tell you whether these symptoms are part of the normal process of teething or an indication of something different.
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 of the most effective and inexpensive remedies can be administered without expert advice or over-the-counter assistance.
Some over-the-counter medications have had warnings issued due to mislabeling and ingredients found to be unsafe for the 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. It is always important to be aware of what baby products are in the news and what practices have fallen out of fashion.
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. Putting pressure on your baby’s gums for between 1-2 minutes every couple of hours may help relieve some of the pain. It is an easy and gentle way to make teething less painful for your baby.
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. Solving two problems in one is always a great thing for a busy parent.
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. Surprisingly, there are now many fashionable non-toxic pieces of teething jewelry. You can look stylish while your baby dribbles down your chest!
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.
Check it out here:
5. Try an Oldie but Goodie
Teething rings and teething toys have been around for decades, and they still work great. There’s a very good reason for it too.
They’re solid which puts the right amount of pressure on the gums and are made of silicone, so soft enough to bite. They’re also much better than liquid-filled products which could end up rupturing and causing your baby harm.
Teething rings are also preferable to your 3 month old chewing on their hands. When their teeth start to come they will begin to chew on anything they can get their teeth on. It is a natural behavior. Instead of discouraging your child you can allow them to chew on something safe like a teething ring.
You could even put the teething ring in the fridge for several hours, so it’s nice and cold when your baby starts to chew. However, it’s extremely important not to put it in the freezer as the sub-zero temperatures could harm your baby’s sensitive gums.
Also, keep in mind never to tie a teething ring around your baby’s neck so she can reach them whenever they want it – it has been known to cause choking.
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.
Check it out here:
There’s nothing a good cuddle can’t fix. When they’re in pain, all your little one wants is to know you’re there, so making sure they feel comforted and reassured should help alleviate some of their pain even for a short time and hopefully help them drop off to sleep.
If none of the above remedies seem to be working, you could always try an over-the-counter medication with the aim of relieving their symptoms. Giving babies Tylenol for teething might be your best point of action, but always as a professional’s opinion, as dosages will differ depending on each product.
8. Hard and soft foods
If your baby is at the stage where they’re able to eat solid foods, try and give them something to gnaw on. Great teething snacks for babies include carrots, celery or teething crackers for a 6 month old, as they’re sturdy but healthy too! Just keep a close eye though, as any form of solid food could pose a choking hazard.
Softer baby food teething remedies such as banana or cucumber that have been cooled in the fridge would also be a good shout, as they’re much less likely to cause choking.
9. Teething gel
Teething gel works as a local anesthetic to numb the painful area when teething occurs. Little Remedies Teething gel is one example, which can be used both day and night and relieves sore gums for babies from the age of 4 months plus.
Celebrate the Milestone with a Calmer, Happier Teething Baby
That first tooth is a big deal! You have to be alert to the most effective remedies as soon as that tooth starts to appear. Before you know it your baby will be chomping down on anything in sight!
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. By the time your baby has a full set you will be an expert on the many teething symptoms and remedies.
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!