Between the 4th and the 6th month of life, your baby will probably reach another vital milestone that will foster his development: teething.
It is a painful process that no human being can skip, sure, but its perks are such that it's worth the “agony”. Luckily, by the time he's a grown up, your munchkin won't even recall what showing his first teeth meant back in his early days. Yet, you'll be able to tell him or her how the experience went.
What is baby teething like and how does it affect your baby? That's what we'll try to answer in the following article. Don't 'bite your nails' about it and clear up all your doubts!
Sprouting the first tooth
As pointed out above, the majority of babies get their first teeth around their first half year of life, and they won't have a full set of 20 teeth until they are three years old. But, of course, there are exceptions. Some have to wait until they turn 12 months old to start showing teeth off. Fewer, on the contrary, have at least one tooth from the moment they are born! This is what it's called neonatal teeth, which doesn't pose any health threats for the baby, but it can provoke some problems when breastfeeding.
Now that you know when the process starts and how long it lasts, you may be wondering what teething symptoms to expect. Here's a list of the most typical teething side effects:
- Excessive drooling
- Swelling and sensible gums
- Lack of appetite
- Trouble falling asleep
If you think your baby may be starting to sprout his first teeth, here you have an explained list of all the teething symptoms!
At this point, you are probably more than used to hearing many 'baby stories'. It is impossible to filter all the information that you are being bombarded with, so we'll try to help you dismiss some teething myths.
For a start, you may have heard that the 'teething date' can tell us how healthy your munchkin is growing up. Nothing could be further from the truth, because early or late teething isn't a sign of it at all. Every baby develops at a different pace, it's genetic, so don't worry if yours doesn't cut his first incisors when expected.
Another common idea about baby teething is that it makes your munchkin sick. False again! The blooming in your baby's mouth takes a long time, in which it's normal that he undergoes any kind of affliction. For instance, there are some people who associate teething with diarrhoea, but that's not accurate. What happens is that the increase in saliva, caused by the baby's tongue contacting the growing teeth, usually results in loose poo. So, again, blaming those buds and first teeth for the sake of it isn't entirely right.
Little by little
Milk teeth emerge following a pattern in pairs. The first ones making their appearance are the two bottom front teeth, so look for them! More or less, this is the 'teething calendar' that you should expect:
- Lower central incisors - around 6 months
- Upper central incisors – around 8 months
- Upper lateral incisors - around 10 months
- Lower lateral incisors – around 10 months
- First four molars - around14 months
- The four canines - 18 months
- Second four molars - 2–3 years
Give me some relief!
Before trying with pain relievers, there are a few things you can do to make teething symptoms better. For example, you can give your baby something to chew on, like a cold washcloth or a teething dummy. Another option consists of rubbing a finger (always clean!) over the baby's gums, especially if these are swollen. Of course, if you do so, be gentle! Cold foods are usually a good way to soothe him as well. If none of these actions work, then you should take your child to the paediatrician. Though it's uncommon, there are some babies who don't suffer from any side effects while teething. If yours turns to be one of them, consider yourself lucky and don't assume it's a weird sign. Here you have some further information on teething remedies.
After all, teething doesn't have to be a drama. Remember that we all go through it and take it as another sign of your baby making progress in his development. Keep in mind that it's a long process and be patient, above all when it comes to introducing new foods that require biting (you may be excited about the idea!).