As the weeks go by, your baby has so much to share through all the smiles and babbles. Before you know it, the toothless grins will sport tiny teeth that will surely make your heart skip a beat! This teething process is an important milestone in the growth and development of infants. Read on to have all your questions about teething as a part of newborn baby care answered.
When does teething begin?
Believe it or not, babies are born with all 20 primary teeth below their gum line. In most babies, these teeth begin to erupt and cut through the gums at around 4-8 months of age. The first to emerge is the thin, sharp lower central incisors, followed by the upper ones. Teeth then erupt from front to back, and most children get to have their full set of teeth by about two and a half years of age.
Signs that your baby is teething
If you observe your baby doing any or all of these things very frequently, you can be sure that the big moment when ‘the first tooth’ appears is not far.
- Red or swollen gums when the teeth push to ‘cut’ through the gums
- Excessive drooling, and sometimes a mild rash around the mouth
- Putting their fingers and everything else into their mouth to gnaw and press down on the gums
- A usually happy baby being fussy or restless, not sleeping comfortably or refusing to eat
- Rubbing the cheek or ear due to pain especially when the molars are due to erupt
A slightly raised body temperature may be observed in some babies, but high fever, vomiting, and diarrhea cannot be attributed to teething, and a pediatrician should be consulted.
Tips for Easy Teething
Teething can be troublesome for babies. As the tooth prepares to emerge through the gum tissue, pain, and sensitivity in the region is often a cause for tears. Compared to incisors and canines, larger molars are unable to cut through the gums easily and may cause more trouble.
Thankfully, by then, your toddler is old enough to communicate and can handle the discomfort better. Try out these simple remedies to soothe your infant’s teething troubles to find which ones suit them best.
- Massage the baby’s gums with a clean finger and apply pressure on them to provide relief. Feel for which tooth is going to come out next and focus on that area.
- Something cold – A cold spoon from the fridge to put in the mouth gives a lot of comforts. Another option is to wet one of the baby’s washcloths, put it in the freezer, and offer it to your little one to suck on.
- Teething rings and toys–Choose a firm rubber, wood or silicone teether of good quality BPA free material. Avoid liquid or gel-filled ones that may break and leak on chewing. Even a chilled pacifier is great to bite on, but take care never to freeze it.
- Chew on something hard –If your baby has begun solid food, hand them a carrot stick, a frozen piece of apple, or something hard that will not break into pieces easily and become a choking hazard.
- Cold purees – Cold desensitizes the nerves and reduces pain. Serve chilled fruit to encourage your baby to eat comfortably. You could even offer frozen fruit juice popsicles as a special treat.
- Breastfeed – Breastfeeding relaxes the baby and can induce sleep. Massage your baby’s gums with a cold finger before breastfeeding to reduce the urge to gnaw at your nipple.
- Keep the face dry – Excessive drooling can cause a mild rash around the chin. Gently wipe your baby’s mouth use petroleum jelly or a barrier cream frequently to reduce skin irritation.
- Painkillers– Turn to these as a last resort if your little one is in severe pain and unable to sleep at all. Make sure to consult the pediatrician for the correct dosage.
- Find a distraction – Little children are always on the lookout for something new to discover. To get their mind off the discomfort, take them for a stroll in the park, sing a favorite song, or look through a picture book.
- Hugs and cuddles – They say that there’s no pain that a mother’s embrace and a kiss cannot cure. Cuddling your baby can soothe and calm them like nothing else.
Teething is also the beginning of an oral hygiene routine. Run a clean, soft cloth over the baby’s gums initially, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush when the teeth appear. Do schedule a dental check-up around the first birthday.