Within the first few months of your child’s life, your little one may begin to cut milk teeth and experience both the joys and struggles of life with fresh new pearly whites. As teeth erupt through the gums, this may mean a whole new world of exploration as your child begins to navigate their way around interesting new foods and textures. However, the process of teething may also result in some pain and discomfort that can affect your little one’s mood, appetite and sleeping patterns.
What can you expect?
There is no milestone date at which your baby will suddenly begin to cut milk teeth. On average, children often begin to teethe around the age of two months, with their first tooth erupting through the gums at around six to seven months. However, many may develop new teeth a little later during their first year, with some waiting until after their first birthday before a first tooth emerges. As each child’s development is unique, it is important to watch out for the signs of teething to help prepare for what lies ahead.
How long does teething last?
As your precious child develops into a toddler, they will cut twenty milk teeth over a two-year period. For most children, however, discomfort only arises as each tooth breaks through the gums, which can last between 1 to 7 days per tooth. During this time, it is important to take note of your child’s symptoms and offer as much comfort as possible to help relieve pain.
What are the signs of teething?
Symptoms may vary but these are some of the most common signs to look out for:
- Red and swollen gums
- Increased drooling
- Fussiness which comes and goes
- Lack of appetite
- Skin irritation around the mouth (teething rash) as a result of excessive drooling
- Deferred pain in the ear region – baby may rub cheeks and ears
- Increased sucking and placing hands in mouth
- Trouble sleeping due to discomfort
What can you do to help your baby feel better?
If you’ve recognized some, or all, of the above symptoms, it may be time to help your little one through the teething process. Comfort is key during this time. Provide daytime relief in the form of teething rings or chewable teething toys. Pressure applied to the gums may also be a great source of daytime relief. Some teethers are carefully crafted to be placed in a refrigerator or freezer – the cold is a great way to take the edge off sore gums.
Your little one may also be experiencing pain at night which can cause restlessness or difficulty sleeping. If pain is excessive and waking your child up at night, you may want to chat to your healthcare provider about safe pain relief measures you can use for a peaceful night of rest. Natural remedies are also worth investigating. This can include chamomile tea specially formulated for babies that could aid in better sleep; as well as diffusing essential oils that promote wellbeing and improved sleep for your little one.
Watching your precious child experience discomfort is never easy. It is important to offer as much support and comfort as possible without disrupting your child’s sleep routines. You may want to offer extra cuddles, give your little one a pacifier to relieve sore gums, or rock your baby to sleep during the intensity of the teething phase. These are all worthy measures that will certainly offer short-term comfort to your teething child. Be present to help them through the process but refrain from creating bad sleeping habits or long-term expectations that will be difficult to undo in the future.
Be aware of your child’s needs and levels of discomfort, but ultimately, you do not need to forgo sleep training. The aim remains to help your sweet cherub develop and sleep independently and achieve quality rest each night.