Help! My Baby Just Started Teething

It’s a scenario that all new parents experience:  You’ve got your routine all figured out, you may even be getting some sleep, and then bam! Your baby starts teething, and you feel like you’ve gone back to square one.  Although teething is inevitable, there are ways to soothe your baby and help you get back into your happy (and sleep-filled) routine. 

Teething Signs

Teething occurs typically occurs around 4-6 months old and continues on and off through about 2 years old. Since you’re in it for the long haul, it’s important to recognize the signs of teething. And although all babies are different, these are the most common symptoms: 

  • Irritability. Your normally happy and giggly baby has turned into a fussy, clingy crankypants. 
  • Drooling. Drool is everywhere and no amount of bib changes will keep your kiddo’s shirt dry. 
  • Mouthiness. Everything is going into your baby’s mouth to be gnawed on with reckless abandon.
  • Red and swollen gums. Pink gums have been replaced by big, red angry-looking gums. 
  • Decreased appetite. If your baby is eating solid food, you may notice that your voracious eater has no interest in eating. And who could blame them with those red, angry gums. 

Once the tooth has broken through the gums, these symptoms should subside – until the next tooth starts to erupt that is! 

Soothing Your Teething Kiddo

  • Freeze a clean, wet cloth or rag, and let your baby chew away! This helps with inflammation and helps to numb the gums a bit. 
  • Serve cold applesauce, yogurt and fruit to your baby, but only if they are eating solid foods. 
  • Offer teething biscuits to babies over 8 months old. But remember to protect against cavities, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean cloth after they’ve eaten the biscuit.  
  • Give your baby teething rings and toys. They provide the pressure to soothe sore gums and are easy for babies to easily hang onto themselves. It’s better to refrigerate gel-filled teething rings and toys, rather than freezing them.  If they are frozen, they may break more easily when your kiddo gnaws on them. 

It’s probably best to avoid, or at the very least consult with your pediatric dentist before using any of these common teething remedies: 

  • Lidocaine or benzocaine topical medications.  There aren’t really any studies to prove that these remedies work, and any relief provided is very short-term. 
  • Herbal products. The same goes for herbal remedies. There haven’t been enough studies that show these remedies are effective or provide any long-term relief. 
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  While it’s completely fine to give one dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen when nothing else is soothing your baby’s teething pain, consult with your pediatrician and/or pediatric dentist before giving your baby multiple doses over a period of time. 

Could it be More than Teething? 

While your baby is probably teething if they have the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to be aware of the following: 

  • Teething symptoms shouldn’t last for weeks at a time with no breaks.  If they do, you should take your baby to see your pediatrician to rule out any other causes of these symptoms. 
  • Although teething does cause little ones pain, they should not be crying inconsolably around the clock. If your baby is continuously inconsolable, consult your pediatrician right away. 
  • Fevers of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher are not usually caused by teething.
  • Keep an eye on your baby if they have diarrhea, a cough or runny nose. Teething does not cause these symptoms, so a call to your pediatrician may be in order.