Everything You Need to Know About Teething
Teething is an important step in your baby’s development, however it can be a difficult time. Your baby seems uncomfortable and restless and may not be sleeping through the night or feeding as usual. As a parent, you naturally want to do everything you can to help your little one and will have a lot of questions. How long will teething last? What can you do to ease your baby’s pain? What are the best natural teething products? In this blog we review what to expect during teething and how to relieve your baby’s discomfort naturally, so they can transition as smoothly as possible to a happy, smiling toddler.
Teething begins, on average, around the age of six months but can occur as early as four months in some babies and as late as one year in others. Teething is usually finished around the age of three. Like many developmental milestones, no two babies experience teething the same – some may start early, others later, some will begin teething without you even knowing it, while others may be restless and tearful.
Baby’s first teeth are known as baby teeth, milk teeth or primary teeth. Generally, baby teeth will appear in pairs, with the bottom appearing first, followed by the matching pair above. Your baby’s teeth will initially look like a small grain of rice on their gum before growing into a fully-fledged tooth. The following image shows at what age each tooth appears:
Baby dental care
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends your baby should have their initial visit to the dentist when their first tooth becomes visible, or when they reach 12 months of age – whichever comes first1.
The ADA further advises you should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes through, using a soft children’s brush with no toothpaste until 18 months of age1.
Signs and Symptoms of Teething
Following are common signs and symptoms of teething. Our Natural Teething Remedies below provide a guide on how to alleviate symptoms and make your baby more comfortable whilst teething.
Drooling will often be the first sign of teething and is the result of your baby’s body creating extra saliva to lubricate their sore gums. The excessive drool often leads to a rash on the face, neck and upper chest and can also be a factor in looser bowel movements.
- Crying, irritability and restless demeanour
Teething is an uncomfortable, new experience for babies, feelings which (as any parent knows) lead to crying and irritability. See our tips below for relieving your little’s one discomfort.
- Biting or mouthing toys and other objects
As your baby begins to develop teeth, they will experience pressure on their gums as the teeth start to come though. This is relieved by counter-pressure which your baby finds by chewing and biting toys and other objects around the house.
- Swollen and inflamed gums
The pressure of the teeth coming through can make your baby’s gums appear red and inflamed.
- Red flushed cheeks and/or slight fever
Many mums report that their baby experiences a slight fever when teething. Some health professionals are dubious of this claim so, if fever occurs without the other teething symptoms or you just want to make sure nothing else is wrong, visit your baby’s healthcare provider.
Your baby may cough more whilst teething. This is due to the excess saliva collecting in their mouth and throat.
- Difficulty feeding or decreased appetite
Your baby is uncomfortable during teething and feeding can cause further discomfort. Our tips and tricks below will help ensure your baby’s feeding time is as comfortable as possible during teething.
- Pulling of ears or rubbing chin and cheeks
Similar to biting on objects, your baby may pull on their ears or rub their cheeks or chin to alleviate the pressure on their gums.
Natural Teething Remedies
Following are some of the most effective natural teething remedies. As always, supervise your baby while using any of these remedies.
- Cold and pressure
Using cold and pressure is a very effective way of relieving your baby’s discomfort whilst teething and babies love it too. Give your baby safe, non-toxic items that can be chilled and then chewed on. The cold numbs the area and the pressure relieves the discomfort. Here are some great ideas:
- Freeze a clean washcloth for 15 minutes and let your baby chew on it. For variety, knot one corner to create texture.
- Another variation is the rice washcloth. Place one tablespoon of raw rice into the middle of a washcloth. Tie off the corner before placing it in the freezer. Wet the pouch slightly before giving to your baby to chew on.
- Chamomile washcloth. Chamomile is relaxing and soothing for your baby. Make a chamomile tea and dampen your washcloth in it before freezing and giving to your baby.
- Fill a baby bottle with water and freeze it upside down so the water is frozen in the nipple, then let your baby chew on the nipple. This can also be done with your baby’s dummy.
- Cold food
For babies that are already eating solids, cold food can be a great way of relieving teething pain. Anything from frozen bananas and grapes to fruit puree and yoghurt can be used. Another great idea is frozen celery. Celery has pain relieving properties so does double duty here. Put the food in a mesh teething ring so big pieces don’t break off. In addition to supplementing your baby’s diet, using the cold food remedy prior to feeding will help alleviate discomfort and encourage your baby to continue with their full meal.
- Teething rings
Teething rings/toys provide a soft, chewable item for your baby to use to apply pressure to their gums. There are a number of options available including natural rubber and even wooden teething rings. Each baby’s preference will be different, so trial and error is the ticket here.
- Teething biscuits
If your baby is still having trouble eating or resisting feeding, then you may like to try teething biscuits. Teething biscuits are a soft, nutritious, chewable biscuit designed specifically for babies. Whilst there are commercial teething biscuits available, you could also try making your own homemade biscuits. That way you can control the ingredients and make them without sugar or sweeteners.
- Teething gel
Gently massaging your baby’s gums with a natural teething gel is another way of applying gentle pressure to your baby’s gums to soothe them. Your baby may push your hand away at times but be interested at others so give it a few goes.
- Drool & rash relief
During teething, use extra-absorbent bibs to stop your baby’s drool soaking their clothing. To alleviate the rash on baby’s cheeks and chin, try a thin layer of baby balm. Ecostork recommends Nature's Child certified organic wonder balm.
While teething may seem to go on forever, it will eventually come to an end and the result will be a happy toddler with a beautiful smile. In the meantime, Ecostork has a great range of natural teething toys, natural rubber dummies and baby toothbrushes to help you and your little one navigate the teething experience.
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Sources1. “Babies”, The Australian Dental Association; https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Children-0-11/Babies
An in-depth guide to managing baby teething; https://scantilydad.com/when-do-babies-start-teething/
A Guide to Infant Teething; https://www.verywellfamily.com/a-guide-to-infant-teething-4047462
Natural Baby Teething Remedies; https://www.mamanatural.com/natural-teething-remedies/