How to Tell If Your Baby Is Teething (And What to Do Next)
Is your baby teething? Midwifery expert Kathy Fray explains at what age teething might start, how to tell and how to help your baby
4 min read
Did you know some babies are born with teeth? My great-uncle was born with two! On the other hand, some infants don’t get their first teeth until after their first birthday. Babies vary tremendously as to when, and in what order, the little ‘pearls’ arrive in their mouth. But as a big generalisation, I have included some advice below
What’s the ETA for baby teeth?
- Bottom two front incisors [biting teeth] by 6 months
- Top two front incisors by 7 months
- Two more incisors, top and bottom, by 8-12 months
- Four back molars [grinding teeth] at 10-14 months
- Four canines [pointed teeth] at 16-20 months
- Four more back molars at 24-30 months
A total of twenty baby teeth! The term ‘Teething’ does not just mean when a tooth is cutting through the gum, but also means when the teeth are moving towards the gums. If your baby is not co-operating to let you have a good look inside its mouth, you can always do the ‘clink test’: gently tap a teaspoon on their gums to hear if there is a new pearly white.
What are some signs of teething?
- Crying, irritable, grizzly, cranky, clingy, fretful, sooky.
- Mild fever (say 37.5°C – 37.9°C).
- Trouble sleeping, waking up crying.
- Very ‘mouthy’ – desperate to chew and gnaw on things.
- Lots of chewing on fingers in their mouth.
- Producing more saliva and dribbling more than usual (which can cause a rash on the chin, or chafing from continual dummy use).
- One or both cheeks bright red, occasional spot on face.
- Stools looser or runnier than usual (not diarrhoea).
- Nappy rash.
- Rejecting milk or meals.
- Gums tender and swollen (where a tooth is about to cut through).
- Tugging their ears (but teething does not cause ear infections).
Can you tell me some remedies for my teething baby?
- Chilled teething rings.
- Amber teething necklaces.
- Infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen for the pain (especially for sleeping).
- A barley drink can help neutralise the acidity of a baby’s saliva.
- Homeopathic Chamomilla.
- Other homeopathic remedies such as Weleda™’s Baby Teething Powder and Naturo Pharm™’s Teethmed Relief.
- Chemists sell teething gels to rub on the gums (eg Bonjela™) – especially useful before bedtime.
- Teething toys for your little babe to relish slobbering all over.
- Eliminate starchy foods from their diet.
- Homeopathic aconite is very effective counteracting the one-red-cheek scenario.
- Great teething food ideas include frozen bananas (peal and wrap in cling-film to freeze), dried bananas (buy at health shops), pieces of peeled apple wrapped in gauze-cloth to gnaw on, cold celery sticks, and freezing the wet corner of a flannel to chew on. (But always be very careful to avoid baby choking on small pieces of food.)