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. Plus we have a no-brainer Teething Chart for you. And when it comes to providing relief to those hot flushed cheeks and sore gums, we’ve got some great ideas for you to try there too!
9 Baby Teething Signs and Symptoms
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 easiest-to-spot signs of baby teething is excessive drooling. Pop a bib on bub and gently wipe that face often with a soft cloth. The excess saliva can cause a rash on your infant’s face, 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 mouth, 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. 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.
6. Increased Sucking and Chomping
Chewing and sucking on everything can be a great comfort when bub has sore gums. And babies aren’t fussy – they’ll chomp on toys, keys, heck, even mum’s fingers. Make sure they can’t get little hands on anything that could cause a choking hazard. Instead, stock up on chilled teething rings or other chew-friendly toys.
7. Loss of Appetite
As comforting as a good feed usually is, teething is 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 at their ears, and even a slightly raised temperature are all telltale 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. 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, change their nappy regularly and use lots of barrier cream to help prevent flare-ups.
This helpful baby teething chart can help make the dreaded teething phase a little less unpredictable.
At a glance, you can see how many baby teeth, in which order they come and at what age you can expect them.
Simply save it to your phone for easy reference or print it off and stick it on your fridge to help you survive the baby teething phase unscathed!
How to Soothe Sore Gums When Teeth are on Their Way
In the lead up to those pesky little (or giant) tooth eruptions, there’s a whole lot of sore gum action. Bringing relief to that wee little mouth can be done in numerous ways. It’s handy to have a few of these options on hand because as any mum knows, a cranky baby with sore gums is not a patient one.
Through Play with Baby Teething Toys
One of the easiest (and most fun) ways to instantly relieve baby’s teething woes is to introduce teething toys. One of our favourites is the awesome Malarkey Kids Munch Mitt. Just as the name suggests, the Munch Mitt slips over baby’s hand and stays put with a handy (and super comfy) soft velcro band.
Brightly coloured, crinkly when squeezed and featuring a completely safe, textured, food-grade silicone panel to soothe gums. Most importantly, the Munch Mitt is a joy for babes who love to chomp and play! An excellent baby shower gift, you’ll find the Malarkey Kids Munch Mitt at Baby Bunting for a special price for a limited time!
Rub Your Baby’s Gums
Using a clean finger, rub your finger along your baby’s gums. The light pressure applied can help relieve pain. But do keep your fingernails short, to avoid injury, and be prepared for baby to clamp down tight when he’s had enough!
Keep the Fridge Stocked
Generally speaking, teething babies love anything cold! A face washer dampened with cold water, a cold spoon or a chilled teething ring (pop that Munch Mitt in the fridge!) are all awesome choices to address baby teething signs. Don’t offer a frozen teething ring though, they’re far too cold and rock hard!
Winner, Winner, Cold Dinner!
If your baby is eating solids and is showing baby teething signs, offer them cold foods for relief. Sure, it might be weird to offer cold mashed sweet potato along with the usual suspects of cold stewed fruits, but if the hatch opens and they take it, WINNER! Older babes will love gnawing away at a cold cucumber too. Do watch them though and remove any broken off bits which could potentially be a choking hazard.
Of course, if your sweet cherub is completely out of sorts in pain with red, sore and swollen gums and can’t be soothed, you might consider giving them a pain-relieving medication. Speak to your chemist and choose paracetamol or ibuprofen that’s suitable for your child’s age. Be sure to check the dosing too.
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!
The teething phase can be difficult but 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!
Plus, find out why science says parents should keep their children’s baby teeth!