Every child reacts differently to teething, some babies sprout their first tooth without many issues, but for many babies (and their parents) teething is not fun at all and it can affect everything, from behaviour to sleep. It can be really frustrating for parents to see their little ones struggling with teething, but there are some ways to ease the distress.
When teething strikes
Knowing how your child might react to teething might help you making him feel more comfortable and be prepared when the time comes. The most painful part of teething is typical during the few days before the teeth erupt, after that the pain should ease quite quickly within a couple of days. Most babies start teething at around 6 months, but the age of teething can vary quite a bit. You can download our Primary Tooth Eruption Chart to have a better idea of when to expect the teeth to arrive.
Early signs of teething
If your baby’s teeth are on their way, you might start noticing different signs that might signal the arrival of teeth. You may see your newborn stuffing his fists in his mouth or trying to chew on his bib or clothes often. Swollen gums, heavy drooling and red cheeks are also all signs that teeth are on the way, although it doesn’t necessarily mean they are imminent.
These are the first signs of the beginning of teething which can actually go on for several months before the first tooth pops up.
Common symptoms of imminent new teeth
When new teeth are imminent, you might notice a variety of symptoms in your baby:
- A tooth visible just below the gum
- Swollen gums
- Trying to bite, suck or chew on everything
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Low-grade fever
- Grabbing Ears
- Multiple acidic, loose bowel movements
- Rashes caused by multiple bowel movements
- Excessive irritability at night
How teething affects sleep
Like any other sleeping problem, if your baby is unable to sleep and you know teething is the cause, you must treat the cause. Babies feel more pain during the night, so even if during the day they seem fine, they might then struggle to fall asleep or they might wake up frequently. Looking at pain reliefs option is your best bet in helping your child feel more comfortable. It’s really important to discuss pain relief options with your doctor or pharmacist so that you have some on hands if he’s struggling during the night. As soon as the tooth erupts and symptoms have disappeared, it’s important to get back on track with your sleep routine immediately to reduce potential regression. Teething is often the cause of regression, so trying to stick to the routine as much as possible is crucial.
Teething can feel like it lasts forever, especially with the bigger teeth like molars and canines, it can take months to pop through, so patience, love consistency, but also some self-care for parents are important to make it through this phase.
Don’t let teething become an excuse for everything
Teething can easily become an excuse for everything if you let it. For example, if your baby is struggling with sleep, it might be easy to think “he will sleep better once teething is over”, but teething can last up to three years, so it’s better to create better sleep habits sooner than later.
If it appears that a tooth is going to pop through within a day or two and your little one is very unhappy or uncomfortable, you may want to wait a few days to start your sleep plan. If your pain relief choice helps your little one, feel free to get started right away.
Good luck! You’ve got this!