I thought that my newborn was so cute without his teeth that I couldn’t imagine what his first baby tooth was going to be like. Sure, babies everywhere had a few teeth here and there, but I was totally unprepared for the complete process. In fact, I was so lost that when my baby was fussy because of colics, I initially shrugged it off as baby teething symptoms.
Ollie being premature, was a late bloomer when it came to his first tooth, we didn’t get it until a few weeks shy of his first birthday. He was sick with bronchiolitis by that time, so we attributed his fussiness to the flu, and were shocked to see the cutest baby tooth breaking through his gums.
When will my Baby Start Teething?
The short answer is: somewhere between 6 and 10 months (adjusted, if your baby is a premature baby.)
But I don’t like to see teething as a plain number. Teething is a process that takes up to 3 years. Yup, you read that right, your baby’s second molars may come as late as 3 years.
Sometimes, you’ll start noticing clear baby teething symptoms, and then it’ll all stop… for months… without a tooth to show for it!
Babies are born with all their cute teeth waiting beneath their gums. And, typically by 6 months, you’ll see a little white brim in a gum that will quickly grow to be her first tooth. Usually, teeth emerge in a symmetrical pattern. Your baby will most likely get her first lower central teeth, and then the upper ones, and then progress from there.
Children have 20 teeth, as opposed to the 32 teeth in adults. And sometimes they will get one after the other in quick succession, sometimes there may be a long time span between one tooth and the next. Either way, teething is not a fun process, and you’ll start noticing a fussy baby every time!
You can see this chart as a reference for the timing of your baby’s teething.
If you want to track the progress of your baby’s teething, I have prepared a free printable for you. All you need to do is Sign Up to my mailing list and I’ll send it right along! Don’t worry, I won’t spam you and will always send you information that I consider mighty useful myself!
Baby Teething Symptoms: How do I know if my Baby is Teething?
Teething affects some babies more than others. Treat your baby’s teething symptoms according to her level of discomfort. If she seems happy and out and about, there’s no need to worry.
Symptoms may appear as early as three months before the first tooth starts showing. This means that if a fussy 3-month-old has teething symptoms, then it’s not crazy to attribute them to… well… teething!
Don’t delay soothing a teething baby, if you get ahead of them, they’ll get their teeth and none will be the wiser!
Your baby may be teething if she:
- Is biting almost everything she can reach. If you remember when you got your wisdom tooth, you’ll get it. Biting things calm down the teething pain, that’s caused by the pressure of the eruption.
- Has less appetite. Her gums may hurt so much that your baby doesn’t want to eat anything at all. Her weight gain may decrease in rate during teething because of this.
- Is fussier than usual. Wouldn’t you be?
- Drools excessively (seriously, you’ll need tons of shirt changes, bibs, and wipes.) The drool can last for weeks until her first tooth comes out.
- Has swollen, red, and inflamed gums.
- Has fever, diarrhea, cough, and rashes. These are mild symptoms, a low fever, with no runny nose, and no intense cough. The rashes are usually in the chest due to drooling. If you feel like your baby’s symptoms aren’t mild, consult your doctor immediately.
- Changes drastically her sleeping patterns.
- Pulls her ears and rubs her chin and cheeks. The ears and mouth have the same neural pathways, so it’s normal that her ears, chin, and cheeks hurt a little bit, too.
When should you call your doctor?
Every other baby looked like an extremely cute dinosaur from Jurassic Park next to Ollie. He literally had zero teeth, while his NICU mates were all into the third, or fourth tooth (ok… maybe I was exaggerating with the dinosaur thing, but I don’t think I’ll edit that out.) Of course, I was pulling my hair in desperation, and I had barely greeted his doctor at every visit before I blurted out: “Ollie still hasn’t got his first tooth. What’s wrong with him?”
The answer was always the same: Nothing.
But how could it be nothing? Would my son ever get his teeth? The important thing is that your baby gets her first tooth before her 13th month (adjusted, if you’re a preemie mom like me!) But. even if that’s not the case, there’s usually nothing to worry about, although your baby will then be considered a late teether. This doesn’t have anything to do with your baby’s overall development, and as long as your baby’s bones, skin, and hair are growing steadily it probably is delayed teething.
Delayed teething can be caused by genetics, hypothyroidism, or poor nutrition. Seek your doctor’s advice if this doesn’t sound like your baby, or if you have any additional concerns.
How to Calm a Teething Baby?
Baby teething symptoms can be a rough ride. And, babies could use our full support in soothing their gums. The problem is, sometimes we don’t know how. Here are some calming methods that work:
Give your Baby Something Cold to Chew
The contact with something cold will soothe your baby’s gums, you can give your baby:
- A cold or frozen wet cloth.
- A cold teether, you can find great ones in this Amazon link.
- Frozen carrot, or frozen fruits like apple bites, mango, or melon. Make sure they are tiny, though, to avoid the risk of choking.
Give your Baby Solid Foods
If your baby loves chewing now, what’s better for chewing than food! Yogurts and cereals are great options for a teething baby, especially if they come right from the fridge.
This was our preferred method since Ollie needed to put on some weight.
Rub your Little One’s Gums
With your fingers clean, or with gauze, you can gently rub your baby’s gums. Your baby will find comfort if you apply slight pressure.
Pro tip: Dip your finger with a few drops of breastmilk if your baby isn’t nursing well, this usually triggers her sucking reflex and she’ll breastfeed more, and without biting.
Try an Over the Counter Medicine
After clearing it out with your doctor, you can give your baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
However, be sure to stay clear of benzocaine and lidocaine, which can be found in homeopathic medicine. These can be harmful to your baby.
When will your child’s teeth fall out?
If you’ve got this far in the article, you’ll have years ahead before you start worrying about this, so I’ll cut to the chase.
Your child’s teeth will typically start falling at 6 or 7 years old. And, they will fall in the same order they came in (that’s where that chart comes in handy in the future!)
Normally, the babies who get their teeth early, lose them earlier as well. It’s considered normal for a child to start losing her teeth as soon as 4 years old! If it happens any earlier than that, however, consult her dentist to make sure everything is in order.
If you Want to Know More…
That’s a Wrap
Teething is no fun. It can be a painful time for your baby and, hey, I’d be cranky too if I had to spout 20 teeth! Wouldn’t you agree?
We had to deal with teething pain on top of colics, and it was a perfect combination that resulted in several sleepless nights. Just breathe deeply, and keep offering your baby the love and support you always have. You’re doing great, mama!
Tell us about your teething experience? Was your child early teething? Did she have a particular symptom? We’ll be reading your take on teething in our comment section below.