Your baby has been grumpy and out of sorts from the moment she woke up this morning. She’s refusing to sleep, crying much more than normal and even her favourite nursery rhyme has failed to put a smile on her face. Could your baby be teething?
When a baby starts cutting their first teeth, it can be a confusing and painful time! Babies generally start teething at around 6 months of age – and the not so great news is that it takes quite a while for them all to come through, with most children having their full set by around 3 years of age.
It’s worth noting however that all babies teething timeline is different. Although rare, some babies are actually born with a tooth already poking through the gums, and others, like my first born, don’t get their first tooth until they are over 12 months old.
Here are the tell tale signs of teething to look out for, and what you can do to help!
Bring on the Dribble!
This was the first sign I noticed with my daughters – whilst they would always dribble a bit, suddenly the amount of drool and dribble my girls produced doubled in quanity. Their bibs would be soaked, and you could visibly see little drools of liquid dangling off the bottom of their chin. I would need to regularly wipe under their necks because their skin would become sodden and damp; and found myself wondering how someone so small could produce so much! I would recommend taking out more bibs than you normally would and applying barrier cream to their neck and chest, as their skin may get sore if they sit in wet clothes for a longer period of time.
Chewing, Biting and Knawing
When little ones gums are sore, you may find they have an urge to bite and chew on everything in sight, whether that’s their own hands, your fingers, baby toys or literally anything else they can get their hands on. Be warned, this may also include clamping down on your nipples whilst breastfeeding and trust me when I say that the first time they do this it comes as one hell of a shock! Teething toys that you can put in the freezer are great at cooling and easing their painful gums, and can be tied on to strollers so they can chew on the go!
Fussy and Clingy
You may find during teething that your baby becomes more fussy and clingy; not wanting to be put down, wanting lots more cuddles and not wanting to nap as normal. You may find they are off their food if they are weaned, and are generally in a bit of a grump. On days like this, you may want to have lazy days at home and accept that some snuggles on the sofa are required!
When your baby is teething, you may find that your baby wants to feed more than usual (with the suckling sensation easing their painful gums), or on the flip side, you may find that they don’t want to feed at all, being reluctant to risk anything touching their gums. If you are having trouble getting them to feed or eat, some teething gel rubbed into their gums or granules on their tongue can help numb the gums and encourage them to feed as normal. Offer regular fluids to make sure they don’t get dehydrated if they are eating and feeding less than normal.
When your baby is teething you may notice that one or both of their cheeks become a little red and flushed, and their temperature may be slightly raised. You may want to ease their symptoms with some infant paracetamol but otherwise keep them comfortable and keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t get a high fever. The inner ear thermometers are great for easily checking their temperature without having to undress or upset them.
There are lots of teething aids and treatments on the market, and I would recommend having some in your medicine cupboards prior to those teething days arriving, as you can guarantee those first teething signs and symptoms will show themselves in the middle of the night!
There’s no doubt about it that teething can be tough on both baby and Mom, but I hope these tips help make some of the experience a little less daunting!