Teething can be pretty awful. It can cause pain for baby and a lot of frustration for both baby and their care provider. Knowing what to expect is important as it can help you to ease their pain.
When do babies start teething?
The timing of teething can vary from child to child. Most babies will begin the teething journey at 6 months of age – though some will start much earlier or later. The lower central incisors are the first to emerge and the upper central incisors will follow shortly. By the age of one, all babies will likely have experienced teething pain. Going from a toothless infant to a toddler with several teeth can be pretty uncomfortable, especially with the arrival of molars which start at around the age of 12-16 months.
How long does teething last?
Babies usually have all their 20 milk teeth by the age of three. The process of teething does not have a pre-defined duration though. It is different for every child. There is no way of telling how long one tooth might take to get through the gum. One baby can be unsettled for just a few days. While another might have a more painful and prolonged experience.
What hurts the most when teething?
The first tooth to erupt – usually an incisor - is often very painful for a child. Probably because it’s the first time they are experiencing this new and unfamiliar sensation. Molars tend to cause the most pain though, because they are bigger in size and disrupt more of the gum as they push through.
What can I do to ease my baby's teething pain?
Teething can be painful and unsettling for most babies and teething toys are a lifesaver during this time. These toys are designed to go in baby’s mouth as massaging textures and pressure can soothe baby’s gums. Soothing gum pain will go a long way to keep fussiness at bay during teething. While this can be done using a clean washcloth or a finger, taking advantage of the many colorful teething toys available can soothe pain while keeping baby engaged and entertained at the same time.
You might also try these techniques for soothing teething pain:
- Chilled fruit in a mesh food feeder
- Chillible teething rings or toys
- Silicone teething toys like Sophie the Giraffe
- Wood teething rings
- Teething mitts
What are teething symptoms and how can you help your child?
Infants can become especially fussy and cranky during the teething period. Here are a few teething symptoms and what you can do to help your child:
- Discomfort and irritability – Caused by the tooth erupting through the gum, with the first teeth and molars being the most uncomfortable.
What to do: Comfort and reassurance will go a long way. Cuddle the baby if possible and let them feel cared for. Provide cool teething toys.
- Ear pulling and cheek rubbing – The molars are usually a bit more painful and may cause pain that travels to the cheek and the ear.
Solution: Massage the baby’s gum and cheek using a clean finger. Or find a teething toy that has more reach to soothe molars. Ear pulling and rubbing might also be a sign of an ear infection. So seek medical advice if it’s accompanied by a high fever or it persists for several days.
- Drooling, which causes skin irritation – Most babies drool when they are teething. Because they have delicate and sensitive skin, the saliva tends to cause a rash around the chin area, cheeks, and sometimes even the neck.
Solution: Keep the area around the mouth dry. Patting with a drool cloth will help, making sure that you don't overdo it as you can irritate the skin further. You can also use an absorbent drool bib.
Do pacifiers help with teething?
Pacifiers do help with teething, especially for a baby who already uses one. A favorite pacifier can be chilled to provide extra comfort. The pacifier should be cleaned properly and placed in the refrigerator, then given to the baby once chilled.
Is it ok to buy used teething toys?
Since most teething toys are dishwasher safe, it’s perfectly okay to buy them used. If they are gel-filled toys designed for chilling, make sure the surface of the toy is intact and has not been punctured by the previous owner’s little teeth. If you’re still concerned about germs, you can put most small toys in a bottle sterilizer. Don’t used wipes or any other chemical cleaner on a teething toy.
What toys are best for teething?
Teething toys are often referred to as teethers and they are wonderful for providing a baby with relief during teething. As the baby chews on the teething toy, there is counter pressure that provides some relief for sore gums. Many teethers have bumpy textures to help with the massaging action. Here are some great teething toys for your baby.
- Caaocho Natural Rubber Teething Toy Bundle – Ideal for a 5-months old baby and over, this rubber teething toys bundle is a perfect choice. Consisting of a 5" natural rubber Caaocho Sola the Goat and a 7" rubber Sophie the Giraffe, this set is safe for babies and can be chilled to provide maximum relief to those sore gums.
- Silicone Teething Ring Bundle – Including a rattle, an Itzy Ritzy teether, three unbranded silicone teething rings, two boon silicone pacifiers, and a Tula Mama silicone and wood pacifier clip, this set is a great choice for any teething baby. There is a variety of what baby, can use, and they will go with what works for them at that time.
- Chewbeads Jane Teething Necklace – These chewing beads are made of 100% silicone material. They are durable, and will help your child stay preoccupied, stylish, while also soothing their gums.
- Infant Toy & Teething Bundle – Great for a 4-months old and above, this infant teething bundle includes a Skip Hop Egg Shaker Trio Baby rattle set, a Munchkin Baby Toon teething spoon, and a Sassy rattle.
- Bright Starts Infant Teething Bundle – Consisting of a brightly colored fabric book, teething corners and crinkle paper from Bright Starts, this teething toy is perfect for your toddler. The key rattle and Oball are a great addition to keep the child entertained as they get through the teething pain.
Final words about teething
For most babies, tried-and-true soothing methods and teething toys will ease teething pain and get you through the teething years. For some, teething may be severe and may require pain relieving medication. There are several natural baby teething remedies available online. But you may want to consult your pediatrician for recommendations on products that are safe and effective for your baby.