When Babies Start Teething and How to Help

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Teething is uncomfortable for babies and difficult on parents as well. Knowing what to look for and how to help the baby feel better makes the process easier on all.

When Do Babies Start Teething

The time when teething begins varies from baby to baby. On average, babies start at around six months of age. However, teething can begin for some as early as three months of age and as late as one year old. However, by the time children are three years of age, all of their baby teeth should be in place.

Teething Symptoms

  • Loss of appetite. Babies who are teething reject food due to the discomfort of the teeth coming in.
  • Drooling. Bibs come in handy during the drooling phase.
  • Crying and fussiness.
  • swollen gums.
  • Biting down on toys and hands.
  • Not sleeping. A baby who is teething may not be able to sleep even when they are tired. This lack of sleep combined with the pain from teething makes the baby more irritable.

Which Teeth Come in First
The upper front two teeth are the ones that usually come in first. They are also the most painful. After the first two appear, the rest becomes easier for the baby to deal with, except in situations where multiple teeth are all coming in at the same time.

Easing Teething Symptoms
Teething rings and other soft teething toys that are kept cold soothe sore gums and give the baby something on which to bite down. Teething medications rubbed on the gums of the baby provide relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers that are age appropriate help alleviate the pain, states Parents magazine. Massaging the baby's gums with a clean finger provides relief. Teething necklaces worn by parents provide baby with relief when you're on the go and away from home.

Not All Babies are the Same
Not every baby will have every symptom. In fact, some babies won't show any signs that they have teeth coming in until you see the tooth poking through their gums. Just like with most stages of childhood, every baby is different. While some go through the entire process easily, others have a more difficult time. Fortunately, for babies who have a hard time, the teething period doesn't last long. Even within the same family, one baby's experience will likely differ from the next.

The Length of Time Teething Lasts
Symptoms of teething begin at three to five days before the tooth can be seen, notes WebMD. Once the tooth is seen coming up through the gum, the symptoms stop. The discomfort is caused by the teeth working its way up through the gum line. As soon as it breaks through, the discomfort goes away.

When to Call the Doctor
While teething doesn't normally call for a visit to the doctor, there are times when the doctor should be consulted. If the baby has a high fever, rash, or is vomiting, let your doctor know. Some children do get a mild fever when they're teething, but anything above 100 degrees Fahrenheit is more likely to be from an infection. Teething does not cause vomiting, high fever or rashes. If a child exhibits any of these symptoms, the baby's doctor should be notified.