Your bundle of joy has gone from a sweet, angelic being to looking like his head could spin 360 degrees like Linda Blair's character in "The Exorcist." Everyone told you that the teething stage was going to be rough, but you probably were not prepared for this level of crankiness. This guide will help you understand and get through this very trying period.
Unfortunately, teething is not a short-lived process. In most babies, the first tooth pokes through around 6 months old, but it can be as early as 3 months. Teeth typically arrive in pairs, and the middle bottom ones are generally the first ones you will see, but this certainly is not a rule. Below is a general timeline for teething.
- 6 months - Central lower incisors
- 8 months - Central upper incisors
- 10 months - Upper and lower lateral incisors
- 14 months - First pair molars
- 18 months - Canines
- 24 months - Second pair molars
Symptoms of Teething
Your baby will typically show a few signs long before you see the first pearly whites popping through. These signs include:
- Puffy Gums - The location where the tooth is emerging will often appear swollen, bruised, and red.
- Need to Gnaw - From car keys to the remote control to the dog's bone, your baby has an uncontrollable urge to put everything in his mouth to gnaw on. Counter pressure of chewing relieves pressure created from the tooth pushing through the skin.
- Ear Pulling - Before you panic and assume your baby has an ear infection, he could be tugging on his ears because jaw pain can often be felt in the ear canal.
- Excessive Drooling - Sometimes, drooling is simply part of a normal development stage, but other times it is a symptom of teething.
- Fussiness - Irritability is inevitable as the tooth forces its way through bone and gum. Fussiness is usually increased more at night.
Try to resist the urge to rub brandy on his gums like Grandpa is telling you to do. Sure, he may have done it for you when you were teething, but back then folks did not necessarily know that even the smallest amount of alcohol can be toxic to a baby. Below are a few helpful ways to soothe his pain.
- Frozen Washcloth - There are a tremendous number of teething rings you can buy, but a frozen washcloth is just as good, if not better. Just wet and freeze it. Leave one side dry so he can tug at it without freezing his fingers. The fabric is more forgiving than rings. Most babies tend to prefer it, but of course, you can try one of the products on the market, too.
- Massage - Rubbing the area with a clean finger creates counter pressure that can work wonders.
- Rocking - Even if you are trying to get your baby to fall asleep without rocking, swaying, etc., you may need to bend the rules a little when teeth are emerging. It is a little harder during this time for them to relax. Make sure the nursery is a soothing environment with dim lighting, clean air and a comfortable temperature. A water wall is ideal to mount in a nursery. It is soothing and the moving water moisturizes and cleans the air to create a healthy and comfortable environment. You can order one from online stores like LuxeWaterWalls.com.
- Clove Oil - This natural remedy has numbing properties. Rub the tiniest amount at the tooth's location. Too much can cause an upset tummy.
- Licorice - Gnawing on a real licorice stick has the same effect as the clove oil. Note that this is not the candy you buy in the grocery store line. You can get real licorice sticks at a health store.
- Pure Vanilla Extract - Many parents swear by rubbing pure vanilla extract on the gums. It creates a warming sensation and vanilla is known for its calming properties. It also calms stomach distress.