Teething is painful and, so, it becomes a grumpy phase in a baby’s life. Onset of teething is anywhere from 3 months to 12 months of age and, sometimes, a little later. Here is some information to prepare you for this stage.
When does teething start?
Initial irritation related to oncoming teething can occur as early as 2 months of age, with the first tooth showing as early as 6 months after birth. It is important to check a baby’s teeth on a regular basis, as some children may develop infections and therefore require a dentist visit earlier than you may have anticipated.
What are the symptoms and signs of teething?
Common symptoms include the following:
- A sore mouth, leading to avoidance of food and milk. This is very common. Since teething babies have pain in their gums, and they are frustrated as they cannot describe it, they will refrain from eating. And they can become quite grumpy all the time!
- Drooling. If you notice that your child’s clothing, or bib, is soggy with saliva, this suggests the onset of teething.
- Rashes around the mouth and chin and chapping of lips. This is a common effect of the frequent drooling. You can apply Vaseline or aquaphor to moisten the affected areas, but discuss remedies with your pediatrician.
Common signs include the following:
- Gums may look swollen.
- Cry and nipple biting during nursing.
- Finger biting.
What can you do at home?
- Teething toys. These are toys designed specifically for young children to chew during teething. A child also may use a pacifier to achieve the same effect.
- Cold food and water. Sipping water from a bottle or sippy cup, or eating cold food, can alleviate teething pain. Cold means room temperature, or slightly cooler, but not ice cold. The gums of a teething child are sensitive, so hot foods are irritating. Cold foods can include yogurt, ice cream, or pureed vegetables or grains. Juice and milk can be cooled and given to the child as well.
- Massage the child’s gums and be patient. The baby is going through a tough phase, and you need to handle with care. If irritation is constant and you note permanent crying and redness in the baby’s gums, head to your pediatrician.