My Baby is Teething, Now What?
We all know that babies start teething during the first year of life. However, a baby starts growing its teeth long before birth. This may come as a surprise, but at about five weeks of gestation, a baby starts developing primary teeth. These teeth are hidden in the jaw, and can rarely be seen during birth. A newborn has a set of 20 teeth hidden within the gums when she is born.
The primary teeth are also called baby teeth or milk teeth, and the first one usually erupts through the gum at about 6 months of age. This time period can vary, and for some babies this eruption starts at 4 months of age and for others it doesn’t happen until 11 months of age. A child will have his full set of those 20 teeth within the first three years. These teeth will start to be replaced by permanent teeth around age six or seven.
My Baby is Suddenly Cranky, is it Teething?
A newborn comes into the world with a certain level of antibodies–a gift from the mother. Being a six-month-old suddenly changes all that. A baby is now more active, and with fading antibodies and changes in eating habits, he is more prone to have physical problems than ever before. A lot of pediatric experts believe that babies often go through the process of teething without any difficulties at all.
A change of lifestyle–in this case switching from liquid-only meals to a combination of solid and liquid and being more mobile–allows the baby to explore everything around him. In some cases, the child starts developing different physical problems at the age of six months, including diarrhea, skin irritation or rashes, runny nose and sometimes fever.
If a baby is showing symptoms from the following list, it might be or not be during teething:
- Drooling; which is common anyway
- Gum swelling and sensitivity
- Irritability or fussiness
- Biting behavior
- Refusing food
- Sleep problems
- Low fever
- Diaper rash
In any case, it might be a good idea to consult with the pediatrician regarding the necessary course of action.
Tips to Calm a Cranky Teething Baby
Parents have a natural instinct to help their crying baby. If you suspect that the baby is in pain because of teething, here are some tips you can follow to soothe your cranky baby.
There are many teethers available on the market. These are soothing tools for babies, designed for them to chew on. After cleaning a teether with boiled water, you can put it in the freezer for couple of minutes and then give it to your baby. Sometimes it helps them to bite on something cold.
A gum massage for the infant can help blood circulation and may sooth the baby as well.
Oral topical gels made specifically for infants can help with the pain. Infant acetaminophen after 2 months of age and infant ibuprofen after 6 months of age can both help relieve teething discomfort as well. Make sure to consult your pediatrician for dosage.