If you’re a new parent, you’re probably wondering how to know if your baby is teething.
It’s a milestone many parents are eager to reach, but giving your baby teething medicine too soon is unhealthy.
Here’s a quick tip – just because your baby’s drooling at four months does not mean they’re teething!
Around four months, a baby’s salivary glands are maturing. They’re basically preparing for solid foods (which means if they’re preparing for solid foods, they’re probably not ready for solid foods yet, right?).
What does teething mean to the new parent?
It means a period of adjustment and several months over which your baby’s teeth will break through the gums.
The process can start as early as three months old, although some babies have been born with a few little pearly whites! Once your baby is truly teething, parents can expect:
- Extra crankiness, fussiness, or clinginess
- Lots of chewing
- Possible interruptions to sleep
- The desire to nurse all the time (because suckling eases the pain)
- An aversion to nursing (because suckling makes it hurt more!)
Teething presents some really great get-to-know your child moments. Because each child (like each adult) is different, your little one will respond to teething in their own, special way.
How to know if your baby is teething
Here’s the obvious one – you see a white bulge on your baby’s gums or the tip of a tooth already peeking through! It happens to all parents. You see a tooth and think, “No wonder she was so cranky yesterday!”
Below are a few other teething symptoms. Keep in mind, not all babies will exhibit all symptoms.
In fact, some babies may not feel any discomfort at all!
- Coughing: Coughing is caused by excessive saliva in your baby’s mouth. If your baby is coughing but not showing any other signs of sickness (for example, no runny nose), then the coughing is likely due to teething.
- Fussiness: It can hurt some babies pretty badly. It’s also confusing and stressful as it’s the first time your baby is feeling these kinds of sensations in their mouth. Be patient, Momma. Exercise your empathy. You know what it’s like to have a sore tooth. Be gentle and it’ll pass.
- Flushed cheeks, drool rashes, and gum blisters. Look for these signs. They’re quite obvious and hard to ignore. The whole face reacts to the changes the gums are going through. The little gum blisters are a sign that the teeth are getting ready to poke through.
- Drooling: Excess saliva acts as a protective layer for all the germs shoved into the month on the things baby will try to gnaw on. By applying counter-pressure, they try to relieve the pressure and pain felt from a tooth trying to push through the skin. As much as you will hate those constantly soggy clothes, remember that drool is a defense mechanism. Get some drool bibs and be thankful someone invented them!
- Ear tugging: The little one may feel discomfort around the ear area, due to the vicinity of the teeth. It’s nothing to fear. If she’s pulling her ears and crying like she’s in pain, you should ask your pediatrician to check her for an ear infection.
What can you do?
If you’re open to homeopathic therapies, Hyland’s Teething Tablets are popular (and best-sellers on Amazon!). They dissolve easily (like, on a moist finger) so they work for even the youngest teethers. They also make Nighttime Teething Tablets if your baby’s having trouble sleeping. Consult your pediatrician first before giving your baby any of these remedies.
Consider the above options before trying any sort of numbing medication. The FDA discourages the use of local anesthetics on infants. A cold compress, like a frozen washcloth, works as a perfect, non-toxic local anesthetic.
How will the teeth come in?
Incredible Infant has a beautiful chart that we’re sharing below. Be sure to check out their full post for more tips and some excellent teether toys.
The great thing about teething is that it’s a normal, temporary phase in your child’s life. These are all signs that your baby’s growing naturally, normally, and healthfully.
We hope this post has helped in your quest for how to know if your baby is teething. Hang in there, and good luck!