Every baby’s journey through the teething process is unique. Some will be barely impacted when cutting teeth, others will be in a lot of pain and quite fussy. And since their teeth buds actually form while still in the womb, a few babies are even born with teeth. But for the most part, you can expect your child to start cutting their first teeth sometime between the ages of four and seven months of age. However, just like there are a few that are born with teeth, there are a few that won’t get there first two until after their first birthday. So don’t be alarmed if that happens to your child. By the time a child is two and a half years of age, you should expect that your child will have their full set of 20 baby teeth.
At whatever age your child begins to cut teeth, teething can be a horrible process for everybody involved. The baby can’t sleep because they’re a pain, and you can’t sleep because the baby can’t sleep. So let’s take some time and discuss some of the more common symptoms you can expect when your child is teething, as well as some ways for you to give them some relief from those symptoms.
The Signs Your Child Is Teething
Typically speaking, most babies will present symptoms of a new tooth cutting through about 3 to 5 days before the skin breaks. As soon as that happens, they should be back to normal. But remember, they have 20 baby teeth, so this process could likely be repeated 20 separate times, unless they have more than one to come in at once.
As we mentioned above, some babies breeze through this process without any of the symptoms, or being bothered by the teething process at all. For most though, there are several problems they may have. Here’s a quick list of some of the things they may experience:
- Chewing on anything
- Pulling on their ears
- Redness in the cheeks
- Refusing solid food
- Swollen gums
- Trouble sleeping
- Ulcers on their gums
Those are the most common symptoms, but parents report host of other symptoms as well, including things like high temperatures, diarrhea, and runny noses. However, there is some controversy around whether or not these are actual symptoms. Most pediatricians say that these are not symptoms of the teething itself, but are symptoms of an infection that the baby may have because they’re more prone to them while teething. Remember though, no one knows your baby as well as you do. If you feel that these symptoms are due to infection and not a direct affect of their teething, have them checked out by your doctor.
If your child is exhibiting any or all of these symptoms, they’re going to be in some distress, and so are you. So what can be done to help everybody through this trying time, and help everybody get some sleep? Unfortunately, there is no magic cure all, but we do have some tips to help everybody through the process.
Tips for Teething
- Teethers are probably the most obvious method, and you can find them in virtually any store that sells infant and baby products. And there are all different types to choose from. A lot of moms prefer the type that you can freeze, simply because this is a gentle method of numbing your baby’s gums.
- Fresh or frozen vegetables are good alternative to the above mentioned teethers. For example, something like refrigerated or frozen pineapple spears are a great choice. It’s going to be awfully messy and sticky, but messy and sticky is better than a screaming baby. Pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain that is an anti-inflammatory. How perfect would that be for inflamed, swollen gums?
- Keep several frozen washcloths in the freezer. Just wet them, fold them, and freeze them. When your baby needs one, simply give him one to chew or suck on. The chewing may minimize the pain while the cold will numb their gums.
- If you’re baby’s teeth haven’t broken the skin yet, they may be happy simply gnawing on your finger. They’re close to you, and they have something to chew on, so this might just settle them down.
- I personally have never used this method before, nor do I personally know anyone who has, but many mothers use amber teething necklaces. You can do some further research on these yourself and decide whether or not it’s something you even want to try.
- If all else fails, and you’re desperate, you might decide that you need to resort to one of the pain killing products that are available. Either talk to your pediatrician or to the pharmacist to find out what would be suitable for your child. Just be aware that some products may also numb your baby’s tongue as well, and this might make it very difficult for them to feed.
So there are a lot of different methods you can try in order to give your child some comfort while they go through the teething process. And ultimately provide yourself with some comfort as well. Take some time, and try different methods, until you find — or at least hopefully find — one that works well for your child.