If your baby is irritable and is waking often during the night, it may mean that she is about to start teething? This is another developmental milestone marker. We hope that these little tips will help you cope during this trying period.
Teething is stressful (for both the baby and you)
Is your little one irritable and keeping you up all day and night long, leaving you exhausted?
When your baby is between four to seven months old, chances are that teething has begun. Teething is a stressful time for infants as they can experience pain and discomfort, which leaves them cranky all the time. But why does this happen?
The reason for irritability during teething is because the tooth is erupting through the gums which can cause pain and discomfort varying from baby to baby.
Fun Fact: Molars cause most pain due to their shape.
The Teething Timeline
While every baby has his or her’s own cycle of teething, the general teething timeline can begin around the age of three to six months and may go on until the age of 2 years when your baby has developed all the primary teeth. The cycle of permanent adult teeth takes place between the age of six to 12 years of age where the baby teeth degenerate and are replaced by the 32 "permanent" adult teeth.
Below is the general order in which your baby’s teeth would start emerging.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the ‘wisdom teeth’ or the ‘third molars’ do not have a baby version.
Age (In Months) Teeth Category
6-12 Central Incisors
9-16 Lateral Incisors
13-19 First Molars
16-23 Canine Incisors
22-24 Second Molars
What is defined as Normal behaviour in Teething?
During the teething stage, your baby may be experiencing a lot of pain and it is normal for her to be restless, lose appetite, find it difficult to sleep, and drool a lot, all of which increases irritability. While these are common symptoms of teething and normal, there are other symptoms that a few babies exhibit, and this is where you would need medical help. If your little one has a fever, develops a skin rash, or diarrhoea, which continues for a few days with the other symptoms of teething, please contact your paediatrician.
How To comfort a Teething Baby?
You may use these tips to make teething easier for your baby.
Clean and Massage – Gently dry your baby’s mouth by dabbing with a soft cloth often, to avoid rashes that come from excess drooling. Massage your baby’s gums with your fingertips in circular movements to soothe and ease the pain.
Chewing helps - Give your little one something to chew on, While the teether should be small enough to fit into your baby’s mouth, you need to make sure it is not tiny enough to be swallowed. If you are giving her a chewing ring, make sure you pick one that it is not filled with chemicals or liquids, you do not want your baby swallowing unhealthy substances. Teethers should be CE tested to ensure that they are non- toxic. They are helpful for relieving pain and can be a distraction too.
You could put a clean washcloth in a plastic bag, leave it in the fridge to cool, remove it from the plastic bag and give it to your baby to chew. She will enjoy gnawing on the fabric.
Teething rings - Tying a teething ring around your little one’s neck or any other part of the body is not recommended. Tiny beads might break off and cause choking and may be too tight around her wrist. Similarly, avoid teething biscuits and frozen foods unless your little one has already started consuming solid foods.
Numbing gels, tablets, and pain killers are out of the question - Never use alcohol, numbing gels, tablets, or pain killers on your little ones unless advised by your paediatrician. These might have grave side effects for the baby.
However, there are homeopathic powders obtainable from reputable companies which can be gently rubbed onto the gums to soothe.
You can also count on trusted home remedies- Gently rub the gums of your little one with a clean finger, or use a tiny cool spoon (cool not frozen). A moist pad of gauze can be used for soothing itchy and swollen gums too.
Avoid giving your baby products that contain a lot of sugar as this will decay the teeth
When to consult a dentist for the first time?
According to the American Dental Association, a teething child needs to visit a dentist by the age of one or within six months from the time teething begins. Although not absolutely necessary, this could help identify any potential problem that might occur with your little one’s teeth in the future.
While you may postpone the visit to the dentist, you will need to brush your child’s new teeth twice daily to instil the habit of twice daily teeth brushing in your child. This will make all the difference when your child has to do it him or herself. The habit will be automatic then and be seen as a chore and well worth the effort to ensure healthy teeth and healthy habits.
Should you have any concerns or questions, post them in the comments section below, and our neonatal experts would share their views on the subject.