Teething can be a painful and difficult process for both mother and baby. Knowing what to expect ahead of time, and how to handle problems that arise, can make things go a little more smoothly.
When does teething start?
Your baby may start teething anywhere between 3 and 12 months of age, and in some cases, even later. For most babies, though, the teething process begins around the 6-month mark.
How long will teething last?
Teething usually lasts for about a year, but it may take longer. Most babies have all their primary teeth by the age of 2 and a half to 3.
How many baby teeth will there be?
Children develop 20 baby (primary) teeth.
In what order do the primary teeth erupt?
There are 5 distinct types of baby teeth, and they most often erupt in the following order:
- Central Incisor (8-12 months)
- Lateral Incisor (9-13 months)
- Canine (16-22 months)
- First Molar (13-19 months)
- Second Molar (25-33 months)
- Central Incisor (6-10 months)
- Lateral Incisor (10-16 months)
- Canine (17-23 months)
- First Molar (14-18 months)
- Second Molar (23-31 months)
What are the symptoms of teething?
Drooling - Teething babies drool excessively; fasten a bib on to keep your baby dry, you’re in for a soggy time!
Coughing and/or gag reflex - All the drooling can also sometimes make your baby gag or cough.
Sleep & Feeding Disruption - The discomfort of teething may also disrupt your baby's (and your!) daily eating and sleeping patterns.Teething babies often resist feeding, and may wake up more often during the night as well.
Biting - The pressure caused by the teeth as they push through the gums can cause babies significant discomfort. The pressure can be relieved by counter pressure – biting. Make lots of teething rings available, lest your fingers be on the receiving end of these surprisingly painful bites!
Teething Rash - The excessive drool can cause redness, chapping or chafing around the mouth and chin. Regularly pat the drool away with a clean dry cloth to help minimize the rash, or try creating a moisture barrier with a product like Vaseline.
Irritability & Crying - Being continuously uncomfortable can make babies feel a bit grumpy, understandably. Some babies are only irritable for a few hours at a time here and there, while others can be crabby for days or even weeks on end. This can also mean more frequent bouts of crying.
Cheek Rubbing and Ear Pulling - The gums, cheeks and ears all share nerve pathways, so sore, achy gums can cause discomfort in the ears and cheeks too. Your baby may respond to this discomfort by pulling on her ears and rubbing at her cheeks.
How can I make the teething process easier for my baby?
As mentioned above, provide a lot of teething rings, rattles, and other chewable toys for your child to bite for counter pressure.
Cold things can be particularly soothing. Try a cold wet washcloth kept in the fridge, and chilled food and drinks.
In severe cases, pain medication may be helpful, but be sure to discuss it with your pediatrician first.
And lastly, provide lots of extra comfort in the form of snuggles, extra kisses, and as much patience as you can muster. This will help you and your baby to get through the teething process with a minimum of distress.