Tips for Teething Babies

What should I expect when my child starts teething? Can you help me recognize the signs that this process is about to begin? How about suggesting some simple strategies for making it as easy and as painless as possible?

As in almost every area of development, each child is different when it comes to teething.

Between 3 and 6 months old:

You may notice that he is doing a fair amount of drooling. This may be a sign of the onset of teething, but not necessarily. That’s because the ongoing flow of saliva serves partly to protect the mouth from being traumatized by the many different objects, including his own feet, that your baby is likely to stick in his mouth. Antibodies in saliva may also help prevent bacteria and viruses on those objects from gaining a foothold in the throat or intestinal tract.

During the first year:

Don’t worry if you don’t see any teeth for the first year. After that, if none have appeared, check with your baby’s doctor.

In most cases, the first two lower front teeth, called the central incisors, will probably poke through the gums somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 months. They will be followed sometime later by the four upper incisors and then by two more lower incisors.

Some babies breeze through this process. Others may display a lot of fussiness. At this stage, your child may drool somewhat more than usual. He may also try to gum the nearest firm object.

Contrary to popular belief, teething does not generate a temperature over 100.4° F taken rectally. If your baby has a fever, something else is wrong.

What can you do to make teething easier?

Rubbing your finger against the gum through which the tooth is erupting may help soothe the pain. A teething ring can also be useful, but don’t keep it in the freezer or it will be too hard.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) can help, but topical preparations that are supposed to numb the gums don’t usually provide much relief because they can’t remain in place long enough.

For more information, we recommend you consult your pediatrician. If you think it might be helpful, you can also get in touch with Focus on the Family’s Counseling department. Our trained counselors would be more than happy to speak with you over the phone.


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Focus on the Family Complete Guide to Baby & Child Care

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