Teething: it’s the milestone that leaves parents in a cold sweat. Even first-timers who haven’t experienced a teething baby yet have heard the rumours that it’s an unpleasant time for all involved.
But until those first little chompers make their appearance, it can be a wild guessing game as to whether or not it’s actually happening!
Babies obviously can’t tell us when budding teeth are causing problems for them. But they do exhibit some pretty clear signs which can help us solve the teething mystery.
Here are the baby teething signs to look for that can tell you when a toothy peg is on its way – and a handy chart to let you know when to keep an eye out!
9 tell-tale signs your baby is teething
1. Trouble Sleeping
If your angelic sleep-through-the-night-er has suddenly become nocturnal (or your little sleep-thief’s nights are even more disruptive than usual!) they might be teething. Teething is renowned for affecting our little ones’ sleep. And it makes sense – there’s a lot of new discomfort going on in that poor little mouth.
One of the most easy-to-spot signs of baby teething is excessive drooling. Pop a bib on bub and wipe that face often. The excess saliva can cause a rash on little faces, so keep the area dry and apply a barrier cream if necessary.
If your baby is fed, changed, rested and is still cracking it, teething could be the culprit. The pain and discomfort of things shifting around in their jaw, coupled with an inability to tell you what’s wrong, can be an upsetting time. Extra cuddles are definitely in order!
4. Red cheeks
Blood flow to the face increases when babies are teething. So a set of rosy cheeks can often indicate the imminent arrival of a new little tooth or two.
5. Increased sucking and chomping
Chewing and sucking on all things within reach can be a great comfort when bub has a sore mouth. And babies aren’t fussy – they will shove in everything from toys to keys to mum’s fingers. Make sure they can’t get little hands on anything that could cause a choking hazard. Stock up on chilled teething rings or other chew-friendly toys. Just make sure to give them a good wash at the end of every day!
6. Coughing and gagging
Bub won’t be used to the excess saliva pooling in their mouth, so don’t be alarmed if it begins to cause a little coughing or even gagging. Remember babies’ gag reflexes are pretty far forward in their mouth, so it doesn’t take much to set them off. When it gets bad, just roll your baby onto their tummy to let gravity do its thing.
7. Loss of appetite
As comforting as a good feed usually is, teething creates a whole new ball game. Your teething baby might breastfeed/bottle feed less enthusiastically, and may even refuse solids completely. So follow their cues when it comes to feeding, and don’t stress if you need to give the solids a short break during the peak of teething.
Rubbing the chin and cheeks, pulling the ears, and even a slightly raised temperature are all tell-tale signs of a teething baby. Considering their tininess, those sprouting teeth can be really mean! Some mums swear by teething gels or a dose of infant paracetamol to help keep that pain at bay, or check out these 10 natural remedies for teething pain.
9. Diarrhoea and nappy rash
Another super pleasant side effect of all that excess drool is lovely, loose, mucousy poos. Our poor babies’ little bums pay the price for all the work happening in their mouths. Some teething babies are more susceptible to nappy rash. So keep an eye on those bowel movements and use lots of barrier cream to help prevent flare-ups.
The good news is that, though it feels endless, your baby won’t be teething forever.
Some babies sprout their first tooth as early as four months. Others make it all the way to their first birthday without a single pearly white. But once teething starts, it takes an average of about 18 months for all those little teeth to pop through. And some teeth will flare up more than others – watch out for those molars!
Then before you know it, the tooth fairy will come calling to collect those painstakingly grown baby teeth. Check out how this genius Dad hilariously used the tooth fairy to encourage his son to up his tooth brushing game!