Newborns Common Problems Teething

Teething is usually frustrating for parents and painful for babies. While leading pediatricians continue to debate the symptoms of teething, parents who are dealing with fussy babies can take some measures to soothe their infants as new teeth break through their delicate gums.

Teething Signs and Symptoms

Some common signs your baby may exhibit during teething include:

  • biting
  • drooling
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • mild fever
  • sleep problems.

In some cases, teething symptoms may worsen as they persist. For example, excessive drooling may lead to a rash around the face and neck. Wiping and cleaning any drool can prevent rashes.

Doctors don’t universally agree that fever is a symptom of teething, so if your baby develops a fever while also showing other teething signs, check with your pediatrician to rule out other health problems that may be causing the fever.

In general, teething symptoms usually last a few days to a week. Once the tooth breaks through the gums, these signs tend to disappear. However, new teeth will usually continue to appear until your child is three years old, so be prepared for teething symptoms to recur throughout the first few years of your child’s life. As your infant becomes a toddler, he will be better able to verbalize what’s bothering him and probably won’t be as fussy about teething as babies tend to be.

Keep in mind, however, that not all babies experience teething symptoms. In fact, some babies will go through teething with no symptoms at all. Typically, expect teething to begin anywhere between three and seven months of age. Late teething is nothing to be worried about, since all babies develop differently.

Soothing Teething Babies

Parents who have a fussy teething baby can take some measures to help alleviate their babies’ discomfort. Trial and error may be necessary to see which soothing methods will work for a particular child. Common things that parents use to help soothe teething babies are:

  • finger pressure: Some parents apply gentle pressure to their babies’ gums with a finger or cool, damp washcloth. Your baby may resist at first, but stick with it for a few minutes before ruling it out.
  • mild pain reliever: While you want to give your baby medications containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen, check with your pediatrician to see if it’s necessary. Note that aspirin should never be given to children.
  • teething ring: Rings or objects made specifically for teething infants to chew on can be placed in the refrigerator to add to their soothing properties. However, avoid placing teething rings in the freezer because a hard object can be painful on a baby’s already sensitive gums.

Getting Through Teething

Teething is just another part of growing up. Because babies develop at different rates, some will get through teething easier or faster than others will. Regardless of how long your baby suffers through teething, remember that being a loving, comforting parent will help your baby a great deal. If your child seems to have a particularly difficult time during teething, don’t be afraid to ask your pediatrician for any recommendations.

Fortunately, each new tooth breaks through the gums in a relatively short period of time. Consequently, even the fussiest baby will eventually get some relief.

Resource

BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board (2005). Teething. Retrieved February 3, 2008, from the BabyCenter Web site.