Teething is an exciting milestone in a baby's first year that many parents look forward to. Babies typically begin cutting their first tooth between six and eight months of age, although some may begin the teething process sooner and some may begin later. Upon noticing signs of teething, parents should act quickly to ensure their baby is comfortable. Infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be provided if recommended by the family doctor; other steps can also help to ease a baby's pain.
Fussiness occurs often in babies, so it may be hard to pinpoint the cause. Still, fussiness is one of the common signs of teething in infants. The discomfort teething causes may lead to increased crying, poor sleep and temper tantrums. Parents may be able to relieve discomfort and reduce fussiness by giving an infant pain reliever to the teething child.
Drooling begins when the teething process starts, and often as early as a baby's third or fourth month. Some babies drool more than others, but drooling is a sign that parents can expect a tooth to cut through the gums at some point.
Lack of Appetite
Babies may eat less when cutting teeth, due to the discomfort in their gums. Parents should offer drinks and small snacks often to ensure that the child is still eating enough. Breastfeeding, if possible, can help to calm a teething baby and provide essential nutrients during periods where he is eating less. Bottle fed babies may find comfort in being offered a bottle or pacifier. Babies who have been weaned may enjoy a soft snack, like bread, or a cup of cool water.
Cheek Rubbing and Ear Pulling
Cheek rubbing and ear pulling may be a sign that a baby is teething. Many times this confuses parents and they suspect a possible ear infection. Because ear pulling can indeed indicate an ear infection, parents should consult their baby's pediatrician if they notice this behavior.
Babies begin biting when teething starts. Biting can help to relive the discomfort teething causes. Parents should provide teething toys, such as rubber or chilled teething rings, for infants to bite safely. Frozen washcloths can be offered for infants to chew on as well; the cool sensation may help to soothe sore gums.
Babies may have a swollen area on their gums, which can give parents an idea of which tooth is going to cut through. This area may be red and stick out a little, or it may be hard to see but easy to feel with a finger.