Baby Teething: A Guide for Parents

One of the most joyful moments in a parent’s life is when he or she sees the first teeth growing out of their baby’s mouth. Teething isn’t as happy an occasion for your baby though, because teeth trying to poke their way out of sore red gums can be quite a painful experience.

This process also occurs differently for different children and some babies go through this period without showing any discomfort at all.

 Typical Development of Baby Teeth

The first set of teeth that appear in the baby’s mouth are the two lower front teeth. This happens on the average at six months of age. But for others, this can happen a lot sooner or a lot later. There is nothing to worry about here. The upper front teeth usually appear within a month or two of the primary pair (the first pair). The back teeth generally are the last to appear. By the time your little one is two and a half years old, it will have all 20 of its milk teeth in place. Again, this milestone may vary for different babies.

Symptoms that Your Baby is Cutting Their First Teeth

Baby teething can hurt quite a bit and the child may cry, refuse to eat or throw a tantrum. Parents need to watch out for certain behaviours that will indicate that the infant is unable to cope with the pain, such as:

  • Red and/or swollen cheeks
  • Fever
  • Gums that hurt on touch and have turned red
  • Your baby drools more than usual
  • Your infant tries to chew or bite on everything that it can get to
  • Crying incessantly
  • Refusing to eat
  • Waking up at night crying

Symptoms typically appear a few days before the teeth break through the skin and disappear as soon as the teeth are out.

How Can I Ease my Baby’s Teething Pain?

Biting on their fingers or toys and developing rashes on their face is also a common result but if symptoms don’t get better or get worse, it is best to call your doctor.

To help your baby get better use a clean finger or a cold ice cube to gently rub your infant’s gums for two minutes at a time. Babies often find this relieves some pain, although they may make a fuss at first.

Give them clean objects, such as a teething rings, to chew on. If kept in the refrigerator for some time, the cold will further ease the suffering.

Alternatively, you can feed your baby oral solutions of Ibuprofen, such as Nurofen, to relieve baby teething pain. This works for up to 8 hours for children over 3 months of age and weighing at least 5 kilograms.

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