ALPHARETTA, GA – Your baby has been all smiles and giggles, cooing with you and grabbing at her toes. Lately, though, your happy-go-lucky bundle of joy is acting differently. Could she be teething?
Baby teething generally starts when babies are about 6 months old, but every baby is different. Some babies don’t cut their first teeth until they’re a year old, and other babies begin the teething process when they’re as young as 3 months.
Do you suspect your baby’s teething? Here are some common teething symptoms.
Your baby’s drooling a lot.
When your baby starts teething, you’ll notice increased amounts of saliva in her mouth. The saliva increase may even cause a rash on your baby’s chest, chin, or hands, i.e., any place where drool comes in contact with the baby’s skin. The drool plays a helpful part in the teething process, as it helps cool swollen gums to soothe your little one. Don’t be surprised if your baby soaks his outfit with saliva – pack extra outfits in your diaper bag during the teething phase. The extra saliva during teething may cause your baby’s mouth to fill up with spit. This can make your baby gag or cough, which is totally normal. She will learn to deal with these symptoms of teething.
Your baby is chewing on fingers or toys.
Some teething babies like to bite down on toys or their own fingers to help soothe teething pain. Teething discomfort may cause your baby to be more aware of her mouth, and as she grows, she’ll be more likely to put objects in her mouth. Babies have an oral fixation and for good reason. The rooting reflex helps babies move their mouths in a circular motion toward anything that touches their cheeks. This helps them find the nipple that will sustain them and help them grow. But now, as your baby hones her motor skills, she is likely to chew on a fist or on her fingers when she’s teething. Keep her hands clean, and make sure she doesn’t choke or gag on fingers or teething rings.
Your baby is whiny or fussy.
Baby teething is not always a pleasant experience. It’s even more difficult that although we can explain to our babies why their mouths are uncomfortable, they can’t actually understand us. This can cause frustration for babies and for parents. If you notice your baby starting to whine or cry more often — anywhere from the 3-month mark on — it’s possible that your baby is beginning to teeth. Not all babies are fussy because of teething. Your baby may cut teeth without so much as a whimper. But other babies may be more affected by the discomfort of cutting teeth. Be patient with your baby if he’s extra fussy during this period.
It’s common, too, for teething babies to be fussy during feeding times, whether they nurse or are bottle-fed. The stimulation of eating may irritate their sore gums. Be patient with your baby, and watch for her cues. If you can learn what makes your baby upset, you can work together to find a solution.
Your baby is not sleeping well.
He may have trouble sleeping during the night or during nap time when before teething he slept deeply. Don’t worry; it’s likely that once his teeth break through, he will return to is normal sleep patterns.
While it may seem otherwise, teething is a relatively short process in your baby’s life. Soon this discomfort will bloom into beautiful, strong teeth, which will allow your baby to eat solid foods and grow even stronger. Baby teething is a blessed rite of passage that each child goes through and there are many ways you can ease the process of teething. Soon you’ll enjoy your baby’s new toothy smile.
Dr. Nanna is a pediatric dentist at Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry who specializes in treating babies. She recommends going to a dentist for kids specifically because they have a better understanding of children’s teeth at each stage of development. If you have teething questions or concerns, feel free to contact a pediatrician or pediatric dentist.
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