Although every mom knows that at some point their little one will start teething, it’s still surprisingly stressful when it happens. Most infants begin teething at around 4 to 7 months of age, and my triplets just started sprouting their first teeth a couple of weeks ago. Although it was a cause for celebration, I wasn’t prepared for all the drooling, crying and sleep problems that came along with it. In this article, I cover the signs of teething and how to deal with the issues that might arise.
Tooth Development In Infants
Some babies develop their first tooth from around 3 months, however others take over 12 months for their first tooth to appear. In fact, your little one’s teeth began to develop in the womb, with buds forming inside the gums. Usually, the two middle bottom teeth are the first to appear, followed by the top middle top ones. After that, those in the back and sides appear. Sometimes teeth appear individually and sometimes several appear at one time. Don’t worry if your baby’s teeth look crooked since often they straighten over time.
Signs Of Teething
Although a few babies apparently sail through the teething process without any symptoms at all, most parents find that their baby shows signs of discomfort as soon as those pearly whites appear. Some of the key things to look for include:
- Fussiness and irritability
- Drooling and facial rashes
- Sensitive and swollen gums
- Chewing and gnawing behavior
- Refusal to eat
- Difficulty sleeping
Although some people have reported that their infant has diarrhea or a fever before they begin teething, there has been no scientific evidence to support this. Apparently, teething can cause your little one’s body temperature to rise a little, however fever and diarrhea are not linked to teething and if they occur alongside other symptoms like vomiting, lack of appetite or lethargy you should see your doctor.
How To Help Baby With Teething
One of the best ways to help a teething baby is to give them a teething ring or chilled washcloth to chew on. You can also rub their gums with a clean finger as this will temporarily ease their pain. A baby that is able to eat solid food may get relief from eating something cold such as yogurt or applesauce, and if they can manage finger foods, gnawing on a teething biscuit can bring relief.
Is Pain Medication Safe?
If none of the above methods work for your little one, it is possible to give babies over 6 months some infant ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You should check with your doctor first however to determine the right dosage. Never give a baby aspirin as it can cause Reye’s Syndrome, and you should also avoid using any homeopathic teething gel or tablet since they may in some cases produce unwanted side effects. Also avoid using any medication or gel that contains benzocaine.
Watching your little one in pain is never easy, and dealing with all of the associated problems such as sleepless nights and endless crying can be challenging and stressful. However, it is important to remember that this stage, just like every other, will eventually be over and then you can look forward to the tooth fairy!