|Teething: A Developmental Milestone by Robin OBrien
Seeing the appearance of your child's first tooth is something you,
as a parent, will remember for the rest of your life. But unlike other
developmental milestones, teething doesn't happen all at once. In fact,
it can be a long, drawn-out and painful process for both baby and parent.
Babies are born with all 20 of their milk teeth (deciduous teeth), you
just can't see them as they are still buried in her gums. Teeth usually
start to erupt around six months of age. At around three to months of age
you can probably feel the bumps under your baby's gums. Checking your baby's
gums is usually a good idea, making sure everything is okay: you should
also be checking your baby's mouth for oral thrush. Before checking your
baby's gums, wash your hands. You don't need to apply any creams or oils,
just gently move your finger over the gums and look inside your baby's
Spotting the symptoms of teething can be tricky. However, there are
some signs to look out for that may mean that your baby is teething. A
baby becoming grumpy is usually the most obvious, and no wonder. The breaking
of the gum tissue can be a very painful experience. For most babies, the
appearance of the first tooth is the most painful; however, the eruption
of the molar teeth can be the most discomforting to a baby.
Excessive dribbling (drooling) is another sign that your baby might
be teething. However recent research is now leaning towards dribbling having
nothing to do with teething and is just something babies do at that age.
Your child can develop a skin rash around the mouth from too much dribbling.
This can be distressing for a parent but the condition is transitory and
can be easily treated.
It used to be said that teething produced a fever. This is nonsense
however. Teething does not cause high temperatures. If your baby does have
a temperature don't ignore it, get medical advice.
If you baby is in discomfort because of teething, you can help in a
number of ways. The first thing to try is to distract your child. It sounds
obvious, but this simple solution can really help most babies. You can
also give your child something to chew on. You're bound to notice that
your baby wants to chew everything it comes across when it's teething.
There are many different teething rings and pacifiers on the market. Which
type to buy, is a personal choice. You can buy basic, cheap plastic ones
to expensive silver rings. Make sure you thoroughly wash and teething rings
or pacifiers after use. You can also try giving your baby a damp cloth
that has been chilled in the fridge, to chew on; just make sure the cloth
Yet another thing you can try is giving your child a piece of fruit
or vegetable to chew on. Again, cool it in the fridge first. Also make
sure the food item is large so that your baby can't swallow it and choke.
It is also vital that the food item does not break up into to smaller pieces
to avoid the possibility of your baby choking. Test the food yourself before
giving it to your baby, Carrots that have been chilled in the fridge are
Whether using carrots, rings or pacifiers, never, ever leave your child
unsupervised. Even the firmest carrot, most expensive teething ring, can
break or cause your child to choke.
Other products that can help alleviate teething pains are such things
as homeopathic ointments and teething gels. These should only be given
as a last resort and only after medical consultation.
Teething can be a very stressful time for both babies and parents but
it is also a time of great excitement for both. The important thing to
realise is that teething does take time and can sometimes be painful for
your baby. But it will pass this developmental stage and your child will
not remember the discomfort and you, as a parent, will soon forget.
About the Author
Robin O'Brien is founder of a baby
teething website that help parents understand the teething symptoms
of infant teething