CUTTING NEW TEETH is never a comfortable experience. Maybe you remember what it was like to get your adult molars, but it’s particularly hard for babies and toddlers who don’t understand why their gums are so sore. It’s hard for parents too, but we’re here to give you the information you need so that you’ll know what to expect while those new teeth come in and how to help your child through it.
Teething Happens In Stages
The first stage of teething is called erupting, when the baby teeth begin moving from the jaw bones through the gum tissue. The second stage is called cutting, and this is when the teeth begin to break through the surface of the gums. Both of these stages are commonly painful for babies and toddlers, but they don’t know how to explain this to their parents, which is why they will often act tired, hungry, or picky about their food.
Recognize The Symptoms Of Teething
You can usually expect to see your baby’s first teeth when they’re between four and six months old. However, anything between three and fourteen months is normal, so don’t be too alarmed if your baby’s teeth are taking some extra time to appear. No two children are the same, but some of the most common symptoms of teething include:
- Avoiding breastfeeding
- Biting, chewing, and sucking on everything
- Refusing to bite, chew, or suck on anything
- Rejecting foods they usually like
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive drooling
Symptoms that are not common in teething babies include diarrhea, a runny nose, and a fever. These are more likely the symptoms of a virus, and if they persist or get worse, it’s time to see the pediatrician.
Strategies For Soothing A Teething Child
As parents, there’s a lot we can do to help our little ones through the teething process. The first is to continue breastfeeding, if possible. One of the benefits of breast milk is that it reduces the pain of teething. Teething toys will be your child’s best friend. Being able to chew on things helps their teeth cut through the gums, so teething toys are essential.
Choosing The Right Teething Toys
Before you go out and buy a bunch of teething toys, it’s important to know which ones to avoid. Make sure the toys you select are free of PVC, BPA, and phthalates (chemicals that make the toys last longer, but which can be harmful if consumed).
You also want to consider what the toy is made of. Is it solid all the way through, or does it have some kind of gel filling? If the latter, is it sturdy enough that your child won’t chew through it and cause it to leak? Can it be cooled in the fridge? Does it have a clip to fasten it to your child’s clothing? Will it be easy for them to handle?
Bring Us Any Concerns About Teething
If you’d like more information about teething, or if you’ve tried everything and it still doesn’t seem to be enough, we’d be happy to help! Schedule an appointment with us so that we can check that those teeth are coming in on schedule and give you advice on managing your child’s teething discomfort.