How do I Know if My Baby is Teething?

If your baby is cranky and constantly soaking the front of his shirt (and everything in front of him!) with drool, you might just have a teething baby on your hands. Generally, teething begins around 6 months of age, but rest assured there is nothing to worry about if your child starts sooner or a bit later. The timing of your baby’s teething depends on when Mommy and Daddy first got their teeth. Pediatricians say that it is completely normal for teething to start at any time between 3 months to 12 months of age, and all 20 primary teeth should appear by the time your child is 3 years old. But how do I know if my baby is teething?

How babies experience teething varies from baby to baby. Even siblings can experience teething completely different from one another. Some babies have teething symptoms months or weeks before a tooth emerges while others show no signs at all. Generally babies get their teeth in pairs starting with the middle two on the bottom. Within a month, the upper two middle teeth will appear.
Typically, drooling, irritability, and difficulty sleeping are sure signs teeth are on the way. Grabbing her ears, rubbing her face, turning away from food, and trying to bite or chew everything your little one can get her hands on are other symptoms you may notice. The tricky thing about teething babies, is there is not one single set of symptoms that every baby is sure to get. Some parents may not notice any symptoms and suddenly teeth appear, while others may find themselves with their baby struggling for several months to get even one tooth to show.
Although every baby is different the following is an approximate timeline.

6 months: lower central incisors
8 months: upper central incisors
10 months: lower and upper lateral incisors
14 months: first molars
18 months: canines
24 months: second molars

If your baby does show symptoms the following might be signs your baby is teething:

The Need to Chew or Gnaw At Everything In Sight
Babies are constantly putting everything in their mouth to begin with, but when they are teething, the habit is exacerbated. The pressure of the emerging teeth beneath a baby’s gums is often relieved with counterpressure. Give your child teething toys and cold wash cloths to chew on so things like their crib, books, toys (and even you!) aren’t covered in bite marks.

Ear Pulling
Although this can sometimes be a sign of an ear infection, tugging on the ear is a symptom of teething that comes from jaw pain being transferred to the ear canal.

Fussiness and Irritability – Mostly at Night
Unfortunatley, as you may have noticed, night time is typically when more growth and activity happens. The tooth moves through the bone and gums in stages and can become irritated and more evident at night time. Ask your pediatrician if they recommend an oral pain reliever.

A Change In Eating Habits
If your baby has been enjoying eating solids yet suddenly wants to nurse or be bottle-fed more often, it is probably because the food irritates their inflamed gums. Some babies may actually eat more solids because the counterpressure feels good. Either way, the change doesn’t usually last long and once the tooth emerges your child will enjoy a regular eating habit again.

As your baby deals with the difficult and uncomfortable experience of teething, you may find that what works for your neighbor’s baby or even your other children, may not work for your current child. Try a variety of options from freezer teethers to gently massaging their puffy gums. As you know, comforting your child and giving them extra love during this trying time can make all the difference and help them and you, get through it easier.

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