The first year of bub’s life is full of rapid growth and development, as well as many firsts. This usually includes the appearance of the first tooth (this may occur after twelve months for some children) and is often accompanied by a rather unpleasant period referred to as teething. Teething refers to the tooth breaking through the gum which, as you can imagine, can be quite uncomfortable for your little one. Each new tooth may be accompanied by this uncomfortable period but it should not occur for weeks on end. The symptoms should begin to subside once the tooth erupts through the gum.
In terms of when teething usually occurs, this really does range and vary from child to child, starting from early as 3 to 4 months, with most children usually having all their teeth by three years of age. Teeth will generally come through in pairs, usually starting with the front middle two, followed by the top middle two and then along the sides and back.
The Signs of Teething
There are a few key indicators that baby might be teething and they can include any or all of the below:
- Red, flushed cheeks
- Dribbling and drooling
- Irritable, unsettled
- Preference for breastfeeding over solids, as a means of comfort
- Putting things in mouth / biting on fingers and toys
- Red and swollen gums
- Slightly elevated temperature (Please note: any fever of 37.5˚C or above in a baby three months or under; or 38˚C in a baby over three months requires medical attention)
Relieving Your Teething Baby
- Teething rings and toys – particularly those which can be placed in the freezer
- Frozen facecloth – wet a clean facecloth then refrigerate/freeze before allowing baby to suck on
- Cool foods – long sticks of cucumber and wedges of rockmelon straight from the fridge can be great for soothing tender gums (once bub has commenced solids)
- Frozen foods – once baby has commenced solids, foods can be offered in frozen forms such as little ice blocks of puree
- Rubbing a clean finger to put pressure on the gums, which can help provide pain relief
- Teething gels and powders – there are a number available on the market, however, my best recommendation would be Weleda Chamomile Teething Powder
- Paracetamol – in some cases it may be necessary to give the appropriate dose of Infant Panadol (always follow the packet instructions around dosage)
Aside from the above suggestions for relieving your teething baby, a good dose of TLC and plenty of hugs will go a long way. Sometimes all your bub will want is to be soothed with plenty of love so savour those sweet cuddles!
Words by Olivia Bates, Founder & Paediatric Dietitian
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