Teething Part 1: FAQs
As a Postpartum Doula,former nanny and mom of 4 young children, I’ve experienced a lot of teething babies! My youngest is currently 9 months old and had his first 2 bottom teeth come in at just 4 1/2 months. His top 4 are about to come through any day now, so he’s been feeling a little under the weather. Suffice it to say, teething is at the forefront of my mind, so what better time to share with you?
First lets address a few FAQs and talk about what you can expect when your baby starts to teethe.
When do babies start teething?
Teething typically begins around 6 months, but any time between 3 months and 12 months is within the range of “normal.” Some dentists have noticed patterns within families, so if you or your partner were “early” or “late” teethers, you could reasonably assume your little one will follow in your footsteps.
How long does it take for teeth to come through?
This is the tricky part. Teething refers to the process of new teeth erupting through the gums (ouch!) and that takes time. Teeth often come through in sets of 2 or more, and for each set that process can take anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks, usually with breaks between sets. Most children will have all 20 of their primary “milk teeth” by 3 years old.
How can you know if your baby is teething?
One of the first signs you will likely notice is extra drool! So. Much. Drool! All those cute baby outfits that come with coordinating bibs? Yeah, this is where those come into play! This excess drool functions to soften the gums so teeth may rise through more easily. The lower front teeth usually come through first, and you may notice the ridge on their gums become soft and begin to shift forward as gums swell and teeth buds appear under the skin.
Other signs include chewing on fists, toys, pacifiers and bottles, and anything else they can get to their mouth! Your baby may tug at their ears be more irritable because of the discomfort, resulting in periods of poor sleep.
Does teething make your baby sick?
In short, no. As for symptoms such as diarrhea, runny nose, rash and fever, experts disagree on whether these are the result of teething or if they are simply a coincidence, but it is generally believed that a low fever (less than 101) and a clear runny nose do commonly accompany teething. Fevers of 101.1 or greater indicate possible illness or infection, so it’s best to contact your Pediatrician.
Will breastfeeding hurt??
Not going to lie, sometimes teething babies make for rough nursers. Due to a sore mouth, your baby might be more aggressive in their latch, as well as want to nurse more frequently to sooth. This combination can lead to some breast tenderness. Rest assured it is a short phase that should remedy itself before long. In the meantime, use the techniques you learned in the early days of breastfeeding to prevent further pain; check their latch, make sure skin is kept clean and dry between nursing, and use healing ointment if necessary.
But what about the teeth? There can be a learning curve for the baby in latching with new teeth, and depending on the age there are different ways to handle that. Teething does not mean you need to wean (that is a personal choice), and many women continue nursing comfortably long after their baby gets teeth.