Your baby’s first year brings many exciting milestones, including their first teeth! Seeing that first little tooth pop up is thrilling, but it can also cause sleep disruptions, discomfort, and irritability.
You may be wondering when and where you can expect that first adorable tooth? What are the symptoms of a tooth about to erupt? What can you do to ease their discomfort? And, what, if anything, should you avoid while your baby is teething?
This article will answer all those questions and more! So read on to discover all you need to know about your baby and the early stages of teething.
Signs and Symptoms of Teething
There are several signs that your baby is teething. Some babies are lucky enough to have very few symptoms. But, unfortunately, most of the ones they do have aren’t pleasant, and a few might be painful for your little one.
However, knowing what to expect can help you get your baby through this significant milestone.
If your baby starts drooling more than usual, it is a strong indicator that a tooth is on the horizon. They may drool so much that their shirts become soaked. You can use a bib while they play to help keep them dry.
Drooling typically begins around 10-weeks and can last the entire time your baby is drooling.
Biting down on objects massages your baby’s gums and may offer them some relief. However, they may begin chewing and biting on everything in sight, including your nipples, if you are nursing. If your baby bites while nursing, remove them from the breast and offer them something else to bite on, like a cold, wet washcloth or a cold (not frozen) teething ring.
- Teething Rash
All the drooling teething causes can create what’s called a teething rash. The drooling and wetness can cause chaffing on their chin and in the creases of their neck. Use a dry cloth to pat the moisture away.
You can also help prevent teething rash by applying a thin layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor to create a wetness barrier.
Teething causes irritability. If you’ve ever had a tooth or gum ache, you know how painful and frustrating that soreness can feel. Imagine how a baby must feel when they don’t understand what’s causing their pain. Right before a tooth erupts, your baby may be fussy for a few hours or even days.
- Refusing to Eat
Your baby may refuse to nurse or eat when they are teething. The action of sucking on the breast or a bottle can irritate already sore gums. Babies eating solids may also refuse to eat.
- Ear Pulling
If you notice your baby pulling on their ear or rubbing their cheek, this could signify they are teething. Ear pulling is also a common sign of an ear infection. If your baby has developed a fever, it is likely an ear infection and not teething.
Teething may cause an elevated temperature but not a fever. However, if your baby’s temp rises above 100 and you notice other symptoms of illness, give your pediatrician a call.
- Gum Hematoma
A blue lump under your baby’s gums could be trapped blood because of an erupted tooth. A gum hematoma is nothing to be concerned about, but it can cause your baby some discomfort. You can apply a cool compress to relieve the pain and help it heal. However, if the hematoma continues to grow, take your baby to see a pediatric dentist.
- Night Waking
Teething may disrupt your baby’s sleep schedule and might cause night wakings. You can give your baby some pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help with the pain.
- Crying or Whining
The discomfort from teething could cause your baby to whine or cry more than usual. Offer your baby extra hugs, snuggles, and cuddles to make them feel safe and comforted.
- Coughing or Gagging
The extra drool teething causes can cause your baby to gag or cough occasionally. However, there is no cause for concern unless your baby exhibits signs of a cold or allergies.
When Do Babies Start Teething?
Babies can start teething as early as four months, and others may not see the first pearly white until around a year old. The average age for a baby’s first tooth is around six months old. The first teeth to show up are usually the two bottom incisors, followed by the top two incisors.
Typically, the following teeth are the front molars, the canines, and lastly, the back molars.
Tips to Soothing Teething Discomfort
Even though teething can cause some discomfort, there are simple and easy tricks to help relieve some of the pain and make your baby feel better.
You can offer your baby pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to ease their discomfort. Make sure to follow the packaging directions for your baby’s age and weight.
Cold Compresses or Toys
Cold can relieve some of the pain, swelling, and teething causes. You can offer your baby cold, wet washcloths, cold (not frozen) teething rings, or cold foods.
There are specially made teething toys you can offer your baby to soothe teething discomfort. These toys usually have ridges, bumps, and various textures designed to offer comfort and massage their gums.
Your baby’s first tooth is a milestone to remember, but it won’t come without a few bumps in the road. However, knowing what to expect and how to help will make teething easier for both you and your baby.