Teething can be a challenging time for babies (and parents!). Soreness and swelling may make some babies fussier and more reluctant about eating. Here are some basic facts about baby teething and home remedies to make this stage more comfortable for everyone.
Basic Facts About Teething
When do baby teeth start to come in?
You can usually expect to see your baby’s first tooth when they’re about 3 to 6 months old. Check with your doctor if it doesn’t appear by their first birthday.
Toot didn’t get her first tooth until she was 10 months old. Our pediatrician said a baby’s teething schedule will track around the same time as one of the parents got their baby teeth. My mother-in-law said B didn’t get his first tooth until around 10 or 11 months which is probably why her teeth were late to the party.
Expect different reactions to different teeth
The lower front teeth will usually appear first and the very first tooth may cause the most discomfort. Big molars or cutting several teeth at once may also be difficult.
Pay attention to more serious symptoms
Teething used to be seen as dangerous mostly because it was blamed for other developments that babies are prone to around the same age. Check with your doctor if your baby has a fever, congestion or diarrhea. They may indicate a viral infection.
Home Remedies To Make Teething More Comfortable
Massage your baby’s gums
Rub your baby’s gums gently for a couple of minutes with a clean finger. They may resist at first and try to bite you, but they’ll let you continue if it helps to relieve the pain. You can also do this with a finger tooth brush for babies.
Buy teething rings
Store-bought chew toys will help your baby to relieve pressure on their gums and make them less likely to gnaw on other objects that could be toxic or bad for them. Pick whatever style your baby prefers.
Make your own teething toys
Washcloths or terrycloth toys dipped in water and chilled are good options. You can also fill a pacifier with cold water. Just make sure they’re not too cold.
Also check out: 5 Baby Items I Couldn’t Live Without
Take proper care of all teething toys
Clean all teething toys after each use. Take frequent breaks to limit the amount of time a very cold object has direct contact with your baby’s gums.
Serve your baby cold foods
Your baby may have trouble eating because sucking increases blood flow and sensitivity in the gums. Foods like popsicles and cold applesauce can ease the pain by numbing the area.
Soft foods are easier on gums and new teeth, too. I remember having my braces tightened and only eating mashed potatoes and macaroni for the next few days. I imagine that’s what teething feels like.
Clean up drool promptly
Babies drool more when they’re teething. Wiping your baby’s chin frequently with a clean cloth will help keep them dry and reduce the risk of rashes. Drooling bibs are good for teething babies. We had a hell of a time keeping Toot’s drool in check. She ended up with a neck rash several times because of it.
Receiving blankets make good drool wipers. Check out other ways to use receiving blankets here.
Give your baby Infant Tylenol
Check with your doctor to make sure you can give your baby Infant Tylenol. If your baby is over 6 months, you can use Infant Advil (ibuprofen). But Tylenol should be okay for most babies under 6 months because it’s acetaminophen.
Talk with your doctor before using any teething gels
The FDA advises against teething gels with ingredients like benzocaine because of the potential for toxic reactions. Your doctor can help explain the risks.
Keep all teeth clean
Baby teeth need to be kept clean to avoid future dental problems. Wipe them with a soft cloth until there are enough teeth to need a soft toothbrush. We started with a baby banana teething toothbrush. By the time she was two, we got a kid’s tooth brush.
Schedule your child’s first visit to the dentist
At your next appointment, ask your dentist when they would like to see your baby. Each dentist is different but early checkups enable them to spot irregularities and advise you about any special care your little one needs.
Our dentist told us to bring her with me to my appointment around her third birthday for a quick look and so she can see how it all works. Then her first appointment will be 6 months after that.
Is your baby having trouble with teething?
Let me know in the comments below! Many babies sail through teething with no symptoms at all and simple home remedies will be all you need to ease most cases of fussiness or challenges with eating. As always, talk with your doctor about any concerns you have and get your baby off to a good start with healthy and happy teeth.
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