Is My Baby Teething?
We love those gummy baby smiles, but just like midnight feedings they don’t last. While it can be a fussy and uncomfortable time for your baby, new teeth mean your child is preparing for solid foods and life beyond the newborn stage.
Drool-soaked clothes? Sleepless nights? You’ve got this! Keep reading to learn about what you can expect when your baby starts teething and some ways to help your baby through the discomfort.
When do babies start teething?
Some babies start teething early, around three months of age. But the average age that teething begins is six months. Keep in mind that each baby is unique and it’s completely normal for babies to teeth later than that. As a general rule, baby teeth start to emerge between 4–15 months. You can expect your toddler to have a full set of 20 primary teeth by age three.
Did you know that baby teeth emerge in a predictable pattern? Check out this order of appearance diagram from the American Dental Association to learn more.
How do you know when a baby is teething?
If you’ve talked to other parents or read through online comment feeds, you know that teething signs and symptoms vary greatly. Some babies will hardly show any indication of teething while others will drool profusely, wake during the night, and be uncharacteristically fussy. There’s no way to predict how your newborn will take to teething, so just relax, trust the process, and know that it doesn’t last forever!
Here are the most common signs of teething:
- Trouble sleeping
- Irritability, fussiness, crankiness
- Change in or loss of appetite or a nursing strike
- Excessive drooling
- Biting and chewing more than usual
- Pulling on ears, rubbing chin and cheeks
- Swollen or inflamed gum tissue
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Baby teething remedies
Yes, there is something you can do! If you suspect your little one is working on some new teeth, try one of these remedies:
1. Apply cold and pressure
If your baby is gumming everything in sight (including the edge of the coffee table) offer them something cold to chew on. We love the simplicity of a clean finger, wet washcloth, or frozen washcloth for babies that aren’t yet eating solid foods. For babies who are just starting to explore food, a piece of frozen banana in a baby food feeder can offer relief. For older babies, popsicles, frozen smoothie pops, and frozen bananas on a stick can offer relief and distraction from the pain of teething.
2. Offer a teething toy or necklace
Save your board books and offer a teething ring or toy. We love the non-toxic, silicone options from Sweet Tooth. If you prefer a natural material, Calmies makes wonderful teethers from sustainably harvested, all-natural rubber. And as we’ve mentioned before on this blog, we love this all-natural wood teether from Palumba.
For older babies, an amber teething necklace is not only adorable but can also help sooth your babies gums. And don’t forget about teething necklaces for mom, there are tons of cute options to fit your style and provide baby something to reach for when the need to chew arises. Check out the variety of teething necklace styles on Etsy.
3. Try a natural, herbal remedy like chamomile
Katie Wells of Wellness Mama recommends using chamomile to relax your baby’s nerves and soothe the pain of teething. You can make a weak chamomile tea, freeze it in an ice cube tray, and then offer baby a frozen chamomile cube wrapped in a washcloth or cloth bag. Be sure to secure the cube so that it doesn’t pose a choking hazard.
If you like using tinctures or essential oils, these can also be applied to the gums for a soothing effect. We’re not medical professionals or essential oil experts, so please do your own research and consult a trusted healthcare professional before using these products on your baby.
4. Over the counter pain relief options for teething
There are a number of topical products on the market that claim to soothe the gums and provide relief from teething pain. Infant pain relievers like acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) or ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Motrin) are often recommended for teething babies. Do your own research and talk to a trusted healthcare professional before offering over-the-counter pain products to your baby.
More resources for teething and dental care:
- For a primer on teething, this info from the American Dental Association is helpful.
- For more information about dental care, oral health, and your child, check out this guide from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- For more teething tips, read Teething: Tips for soothing sore gums from the Mayo Clinic.
- We also love the all-natural teething relief suggestions and home remedies from Wellness Mama and Mama Natural.
Kathy is a freelance writer, an Independent Quality Provider with BabyQuip and the mother of a very active one-year-old boy. When she’s not changing diapers, developing engaging content for clients, or helping families travel with little ones, she enjoys reading, gardening, yoga, and naps.