As a parent of two, I am currently going through my second round of teething, and my 9 month old son does not seem to be dealing as well with the process as my daughter did. In my male heir’s defence I do have to say that he has been waiting for almost three months for the first tooth to break through, while my daughter got her first teeth within days of the first symptoms.
Of course, it could also be more evidence that females do a much better job at dealing with pain and illness, even from such a young age J.
In this article I just wanted to put together a list of 5 symptoms of baby teething, which we have encountered with both of our children.
1. Sudden Uncontrollable Crying
It is very common for a baby to be playing and laughing one moment, to then break into an almost hysterical cry. The first time you encounter this as a parent it can be quite disturbing and a very natural reaction is to over-analyse any other symptoms. I can’t remember how many times I have pulled out a meningitis information brochure.
2. Periods Of Constant Drooling
From research and experience it seems like all babies will go through periods of constant drooling. The reason for this is that the swallowing action puts additional pressure on already sensitive gums. Next time you take drink pay attention to how your jaw will automatically close a little or completely while swallowing.
3. Biting Fingers Or Other Objects
We have found that our son does this a lot more than our daughter ever did, but it is a reaction of a baby to try and alleviate any pressure that is building up under the gums. Our son often has almost his entire fist in his mouth, which also adds to the amount of drooling he does.
4. Red Cheeks And Slight Fever
Another very common symptom is bright red cheeks that are hot to the touch. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you baby has also got a fever, but it is worth checking. If there is a fever then you should monitor this closely as it may be unrelated to the teething and a symptom of another illness.
5. Reluctant Feeding
As already mentioned under the drooling symptom, swallowing can add to the pain, even if it isn’t solids. Sucking on a bottle teat as well as the swallowing action put additional pressure on the gums making the pain worse. It is very important to monitor your baby’s fluid intake if he or she is not taking food very well.
When does teething usually start?
Most commonly teething starts around 6 months age, but can start as early as 3 months and as late as 12 months. Both of our children started teething at 6 months, but while our first born had a tooth within about a week, our son is still waiting for his first tooth 3 months later.
Which teeth come first?
I talked to my dentist about this and he said that in the vast majority of babies the lower front followed by upper front teeth are the first to break through. Apparently these are the most painful as they are a lot sharper than and not as flat as the molars.
How to help your baby with the symptoms?
Pain relief is something you should not withhold from your baby, but it is important that you get the right type. Always talk to your pharmacist first to ensure the right type and dosage is given, and also that you do not exceed any recommended maximum days. The way I see it, is that if I had a tooth ache I would not try to soldier through it.
I would also advise getting a teether toy. There are so many of these on the market, and I think that we have almost tried all of them. The one that our son likes most is Sophie The Giraffe. As its name suggests it is shaped like a giraffe, it is made of latex and also makes a squeaky noise. When he goes through the periods of constant biting, this toy seems to provide the most teething relief. There is plenty more information at http://www.sophiethegiraffe.org/.
The last thing I want to mention is that is important that you monitor your baby closely if the teething symptoms last for extended periods of time at very extreme levels. Your child’s pain and discomfort could be the result of something different altogether, which you do not want to go undetected. If you are at all worried about your baby’s condition worsening it is always prudent to seek medical attention just to be on the safe side.