Even Though Babies Don’t Get Their First Tooth Until 6 Months (or So), Teething Starts Earlier (Around 4 Months of Age).

  • Teething causes swollen and itchy gums, which can make your baby fussier than usual
  • Teething also contributes to the increase in drooling that we see in babies around 4 months. Not ALL drooling is the result of teething, though. Your baby’s salivary glands are prepping for the introduction of solid foods, too.
  • Although teething can be a real drag, it’s actually not the cause of all the world’s problems. Parents like to blame almost everything on teething (diarrhea, fevers, runny noses, ear infections, and the current political climate), none of which are caused by teething. 
  • In addition, parents will often say their baby is constantly putting his/her hands in his/her mouth because of teething. While teething may be partly responsible for this behavior, babies also put their hands in their mouths as a way of exploring them.

Below are the Top 5 Tips & Tricks for Managing Teething:

1. Cold Teething Toys: The best way to soothe bothersome gums is to offer your baby a cold toy to gnaw on. You can freeze teething rings or chewable toys (like Sophie the Giraffe). 

2. Tylenol (or Ibuprofen if Your Baby is 6 Months or Older): If your baby is struggling with the pain or is having trouble sleeping, you can give him/her a dose of Tylenol (or Ibuprofen). Remember Ibuprofen (e.g. Motrin and Advil) should NOT be used in babies under 6 months. 

3. Avoid Teething Medications (Including Gels Like Orajel and Tablets Like Hyland’s Teething Tablets).

Why? Because they’ve been linked to health problems in babies. 

4. Ditch the Teething Necklaces: Teething necklaces are OUT because they’re potential choking hazards.

5. Look for Other Possible Causes for the Fussiness: Remember, not all fussiness and hand-chewing is due to teething. Look for other possible causes of the fussiness (such as hunger, sleepiness, a wet diaper, a fever).

The Bottom Line

Teething is unfortunately an unavoidable rite of passage for babies. Rely on cold teething toys and the power of distraction to help your get your baby through it.