Teething usually starts at around six months, but for some babies it can begin earlier and others don’t show any sign of sprouting a tooth until they are at least a year old.
You might already have a cranky and restless teething baby. It’s no wonder all is not happy in their world when they have to deal with irritability, difficulty sleeping, drooling and a desire to chew on everything within reach.
Signs of teething in a baby's mouth can include swollen, tender gums where a new tooth is coming through. Teething can also raise your baby's temperature or cause diarrhea. These symptoms can begin well before a tooth pushes through and can continue after it makes its first appearance.
Things you can do to help your baby through the teething phase more comfortably:
- Try simple distractions, such as cuddling, rocking or walking around with your baby.
- Use your fingers to massage irritated or swollen gums.
- Allow your child to gnaw on a chilled (but not frozen) teething ring or wet washcloth. But don't use soft “teethers” after your baby has grown their first tooth, because they can puncture them.
- If your child is already eating solids, offer them chilled baby foods such as applesauce or pureed fruit. Do not use popsicles, frozen bananas, carrots or any other non-pureed food, because these pose a choking hazard.
- If your baby has excess saliva, avoid dehydration by replacing lost fluids with diluted juice or water.
- You will also want to keep your baby's face and clothes dry to prevent rashes or irritation. A specially formulated baby moisturizer will soothe the skin around their mouth and a bib will help protect their chest and clothing from wetness.
If the above methods don't seem to work, consult a healthcare professional and ask about using medicated ointments and syrups.
As with so many aspects of parenting, teething can be a difficult stage for you and your baby to endure. But remember, this phase too shall pass, and before you know it your little one will have a beautiful, toothy grin.