Practical advice for new parents

Baby Teething

Great Deals for Parents with Amazon Family
When born, most babies have a set of teeth that are already formed but are not yet visible. These are called the primary (or baby) teeth, and they will, in time, break through the gums of your baby and become visible. It is this process which is referred to as teething, and, as many parents are all too familiar with, it can cause great discomfort for your baby.

When do babies start teething?

In most cases your baby can start teething as early as 6 months or so after birth. Note the use of the word 'can', rather than 'will'. All babies are different, and will develop (in all aspects) at different rates. It's not uncommon therefore for some babies to start teething closer to one full year after birth rather than the six months. By the age of three however all babies should have their baby teeth fully developed and shining white.

As a parent, try not to have any preconceived ideas about when your baby's teeth should start to come through, and at what rate. The teeth themselves usually do not start to appear all at the same time. Some teeth will come earlier than others, and some will probably break through the gums together in batches. Your baby can expect 20 teeth in total (10 up and 10 down).

Teething symptoms

Apart from the obvious signs of little white teeth starting to show through the gums, other teething symptoms to watch out for are:
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fussiness
  • Increase in drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cysts on the gums
  • Swollen gums
Of course, because your baby still has a very limited range of expressions and actions, so many of these symptoms may indicate something other than teething. If you notice the above symptoms in addition to other conditions such as diarrhoea, rashes or fever then call your medical professional for advice.

If you see cysts on the baby's gums (similar to blisters) it is best to leave these alone. They are not dangerous to the baby and, as the teething continues and the tooth breaks through the cyst, it will rupture, dry up, and eventually disappear on its own accord.

Teething side effects

There really shouldn't be too much in the way of teething side effects other than those listed in the teething symptoms above. Certainly you should seek the advice of a professional if your child experiences fever, diarrhoea or anything else out of the ordinary. While some babies might develop a rash around the face due to excessive drooling, this is quite localised and can be easily attributable to the teething. Rashes in other parts of the body may (or may not) indicate something other than teething and in that event you should seek professional medical advice. Some parents do report mild diarrhoea and rashes along with the usual teething symptoms, but it pays to check with your health professional if you see such side effects.

[For more than 900 baby health related tips make sure you pick up a FREE copy of The Mommy MD Guides Audiobook (while the offer lasts). Details here.]