How soon can a baby start teething? The tips, tricks, and products parents can use to keep everyone comfortable
Teething, or the process of your baby’s first set of teeth coming in, can be stressful for the entire family. Teething comes with a lot of discomfort for your little one - the idea of a sharp, hard tooth poking through my soft, sensitive gums sounds pretty miserable! The process naturally leads to some fussing, crying, and sleepless nights, and can make even the most prepared parents feel helpless. Understanding that your baby is uncomfortable and not knowing how to help is an awful thing to experience, which is why we have put together this guide of teething symptoms, milestones, and products you can turn to for some relief.
How soon can a baby start teething?
According to the Mayo Clinic, babies typically start teething by 6 months old. It is common for the bottom two front teeth to come in first, so if your little one seems more irritable and fussy than usual, keep an eye on that area of their mouth. In total, your baby was born with a set of 20 primary teeth below their gum line. Their full set of teeth should be in place by the time they are three years old. Every baby teeths at their own pace, so don’t panic if your little one starts the process earlier or later than you think is “normal." My son's first tooth didnt break through until he was almost 10 months old!! But let me tell you, he was definitely feeling the affects starting around 6 months. ugh.
What are the symptoms of teething?
Since babies lack language skills, parents have to rely on their behavior in order to figure out when teething has begun. Teething is not comfortable, and the discomfort your baby is experiencing is likely to manifest in the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Chewing on objects and fingers
- Sleepless nights
- A slight elevation in temperature
It's a ongoing debate whether or not teething causes a mild fever. Most doctors agree that this is not a sympton of teething HOWEVER most parents I have spoken too agree it IS a symptom. Both my kids had mild increases in temperature during especially painful bouts of teething. As always, if your baby's temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees, talk to your doctor,
How can I offer my child relief?
When teething begins, most parents are desperate to offer their baby some relief. Luckily, there are a variety of approaches that you can take in order to soothe your baby through the teething process.
There are three progressive steps you can take:
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean, wet finger. If you suspect your baby has begun teething, this is the first step you should take. By using your own hand, you will be able to physically feel if baby’s gums are swollen or tender, and you may even be able to feel their little teeth starting to poke through. It is mutually beneficial to both you and your baby since the pressure of your finger can provide some relief.
- Try out different teething products. Since you can’t always walk around with your finger in your baby’s mouth, your next step will be exploring which products provide your child with the most relief. Babies take to different products. What works for some will not work for others.
- If things get really uncomfortable, you can offer your baby some over-the-counter pain medications. Medication should be used sparingly with young children, but at some point, everyone in the house is going to need some sleep! Ibuprofen (Motrin) is a good option, but please speak with your doctor first and they will guide you on dosage and proper use. DO NOT offer ibuprofen to infants under 6 months of age. Even though these solutions are over-the-counter, it is always best practice to consult your pediatrician before giving your baby anything.
Our Favorite Teething Products
Teething can last for many months and as baby grows, their interest in certain types of products may change. Below is a list of products that typically work well up to 12 months old (minimum).
Teething toys are great since your child can hold and manage it themselves. It is important for teething toys to be safe, non-toxic, and easy to clean. Here are some of our favorites:
- ZoLi Chubby Gummy Teether. This product is great because it is easy for baby to grasp, comes with an anti-choking guard, and the textured nub will both massage your baby’s gums and instill early dental hygiene habits since it bears a strong resemblance to a toothbrush. It can be chilled in the freezer for babies who prefer to have something cold, but not frozen in their mouth. My daughter LOVED these.
- Baby Teething Tubes. These flexible silicone tubes are great for baby to gnaw on. Smooth on one end, rigged on the other, and soft enough for your baby to firmly grasp, there is a reason they are so popular.
A great idea for when you want to snuggle your little one a little closer - or when you venture outside of the house and you don’t want your baby throwing their teething toys on the dirty ground and then placing it back in their mouths. Teething necklaces solve this problem by keeping the soothing element safely off of the ground and around mom's neck.
Here are some of our favorite pieces of teething jewelry:
- anjie + ash Harmony Teething Necklace: This stylish teething necklace is appealing for both mother and baby! The silicone necklace comes in a fun gray and pink palette that will add both an element of style to any outfit and will capture your child’s attention. The 36” cord ensures that your baby can pull and tug on it without ever jerking mama around!
- anjie + ash Mercer Street Teething Necklace: This stainless steel teething necklace looks great on mom and is completely non-toxic for baby. It is made out of the same material as forks and spoons you eat with! It is stylish and functional - your friends will be shocked to find out its a teething necklace.
- All anjie + ash teething necklaces feature a patented magnetic safety clasp that will release when baby tugs hard!
There has recently been a trend of having little ones wear their own amber teething jewelry for it’s reported anti-inflammatory properties. While that may work for some families (and congrats if it does, finding the right teething solution for your baby should always be celebrated), we think it is important to note that scientific evidence does not currently suggest that there is any proof amber necklaces provide teething relief. If this is the route you prefer to go, it is incredibly important for parents to keep an eye on children while wearing the jewelry.
Teething feeders are a great way to soothe your baby’s sore gums while also introducing them to solid foods and teaching them to feed themselves. Here are some of our favorites:
- Moss & Fawn Forage Feeder. This cute little feeder is easy for your baby to grasp, and only allows small bits of food to pass through the small silicone holes. Allowing your baby to gnaw on their own chilled food will help them to manage the pain of their teeth coming in.
- The Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder. Mesh feeders are another great option and are more flexible, allowing a wider variety of foods to fit in. I loved putting frozen bananas in our mesh feeder.
We hope that some of these products work well for you and your family. Above all else, remember that teething is temporary. Pretty soon your child will have a full set of teeth and the drooling, stress, and sleepless nights will be a distant memory!