It can be difficult to tell when your little one’s new teeth are starting to come in.
So many changes happen in an infants’ first year it can be hard to know which milestones are causing which side effects.
Especially if this is your first baby, you might be having trouble working out what’s going on.
Are those baby teeth coming in, or is your baby experiencing something else?
Read on to find out some common side effects of baby teething, and about when you can expect tooth eruption to begin.
When do babies start teething?
It’s always important to remember that all infants are different.
This means when one baby begins teething won’t necessarily be the same as when another baby begins.
Even if you have twins (or triplets) their baby teeth might start to come in at different times.
It’s important for parents to focus on individual children and look at their signs separately.
When do babies start teething on average?
Individual differences between babies means all children reach their milestones at different times.
And that certainly applies to teething.
Teething is what we call the process when your baby’s teeth grow or break through the gums.
Some children get their first tooth a lot earlier than others, and that’s fine.
Having said that, you can usually expect the first tooth to appear within the first 12 months.
Some infants are born with some baby teeth! Although it is rare, it’s also normal and nothing to be worried about.
Some babies don’t begin teething until they’re around 12 months old. This is also normal.
The average age for babies to have their first tooth appear is about 6 months.
Can babies start teething at 2 months?
Although around 6 months old is the average time for children to begin to grow teeth, the actual signs of teething can start a lot earlier.
If you start to notice symptoms of teething in your 2-month-old, you can probably expect baby teeth to start popping up in the next month or two.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that between 4 months old and 7 months old is the average age for teething to begin, so expect symptoms a couple of months before that.
Around 2 to 4 months old is a normal time to begin to see symptoms of teething.
Teething baby symptoms
If you’re a seasoned parent, you might be used to the signs of teething by now.
Nevertheless, they’re not always easy to spot and, as mentioned before, every baby is different.
This means that even if you’ve had babies before, their teething symptoms might have been different from what you’re seeing now.
Even personality can play a part, as some children are naturally more sensitive or fussy.
Although all babies are different, there tend to be some symptoms that most babies experience during or before teething.
These are some of the most common signs and symptoms:
Drooling can be stimulated by teething. For most babies, it starts between about 10 weeks and 4 months of age and can continue for as long as your baby’s teeth continue to come in.
You can place a bib on your baby to keep his shirt from getting wet. This will also keep him clean and comfortable.
As the baby’s first teeth come in, a rash might appear.
A rash isn’t necessarily something you’d expect as one of the symptoms of teething.
Many parents worry, around this time, that the rash is a sign of some more serious condition; in fact, it’s one of the normal teething symptoms.
It’s never a bad idea to get a rash checked out, though, so if your baby develops a rash, ask your pediatrician for a check-up.
Teething rashes are most likely to show up around the mouth, especially on the chin or cheeks. Other common areas affected are the neck, chest, and tummy.
The cause of the rash is the skin being wet from drool. Constant drooling can cause chapping, chafing, redness, and rashes around the baby’s mouth, chin, neck, and chest.
A good way to prevent or treat it is to keep a bib on your child and pat the skin dry if it becomes wet.
You can also add a moisture barrier to the affected areas. Avoid petroleum-based lotions, and choose instead pawpaw or coconut oil, or any gentle, unscented skin cream.
Find out more about soothing your baby’s teething rash.
Chewing on things
The pressure from the tooth that’s poking under the gums causes discomfort or teething pain. It can be relieved by applying counter-pressure like biting and chewing.
That’s why babies who are teething tend to chew on whatever they can get their gums on. This might include crib gates and stroller guards, toys and rattles, their own hands, your fingers, and your nipples when you’re breastfeeding.
These are other signs your baby is teething:
- Redness or soreness on the cheeks
- Sore or swollen gums
- Waking up at night
- Sleep regression
- Not wanting to eat
- Clutching the ears.
For more information, check out Teething Symptoms – 10 Signs Baby Is Teething.
If you begin to notice some of these symptoms, your baby could be teething.
Signs of teething in breastfed babies
One particular sign of teething – chewing, or biting – might be especially obvious if you’re breastfeeding.
Teething might cause your baby to bite your nipple.
If this happens, you can gently tell your baby ‘No’, and if it continues, replace your nipple with something else that he can chew.
He might not be hungry at this time but is just looking for something to chew.
For more information, read our article Biting When Breastfeeding – 5 Tips To Stop It.
How long does teething last?
If you’re deep in the trenches with a teething baby, you might wonder how long it will last.
Usually, teething can continue until all the major baby teeth are through, which means until 2 years of age.
Your little one might have some breaks from teething symptoms during this time.
What can I give my 2 month old for teething?
Teething signs start before teeth appear. This can leave parents wondering what to do when their 2 month old is teething.
A baby of 2 months of age will benefit from different methods of soothing, compared with a baby of 8 months. You can gently massage the gums with a clean finger or run a cold washcloth over the inflamed area.
A 2 month old baby isn’t ready for food, so using frozen fruit cubes, or something similar, isn’t recommended.
How to soothe a teething baby
The methods of soothing you use when your little one is showing signs of teething will vary, depending on your baby’s age.
Some of the ways you can help with the discomfort of teething pain:
- Give your child a toy to chew on. A baby’s gums are likely to be sore during this time and the counter-pressure can help. Teething relief products like bumpy rubber toys, teething rings, your clean finger, and a soft, wet toothbrush – without toothpaste – rubbed on the baby’s gums can also help
- Keep chewing toys and washcloths in the fridge. You might find the coolness will help soothe the discomfort or pain of symptoms
- Put soft healthy foods in a mesh bag that your little one can chew on. This method provides the benefits of healthy food without the risk of choking
- Hold your child. Sometimes teething babies just need to feel some loving care from mama or daddy when they’re feeling discomfort or pain. Babies are similar to adults; sometimes they just want someone to understand and be there for them
- Offer a teething necklace. Although some experts recommend against teething necklaces, amber teething necklaces have been used by many parents to soothe their children.
What helps a teething baby sleep?
Another of the signs that a new baby tooth is coming is sleep regression.
For some babies, this is one of the biggest symptoms. For others, their sleep is never affected.
It’s important to remember the discomfort or pain of tooth eruption is likely to be the cause of this regression.
It’s easy to be frustrated when babies start to sleep through the night and then return to waking up regularly.
Your child’s gums are probably causing him pain and he needs comfort.
Try using the methods listed above.
Do pacifiers help with teething?
What works for one infant during teething symptoms might not help with another.
Try different things with your child to see what soothes the discomfort in the gums.
Babies of a younger age might be used to being soothed with a pacifier; an older child might prefer cold food in a mesh holder.
A chilled pacifier is recommended for incoming front teeth. It doesn’t reach too far into the back of the baby’s mouth. You simply dip the pacifier into cold water and place it in the freezer to chill.
Make sure you supervise your baby when he’s using a pacifier.
Babies are more likely to chew on pacifiers if they’re teething. You should inspect the pacifier regularly for signs of wear or damage.
You can also try dipping a face washer in cold water and letting it freeze. Always supervise your babies when they are chewing anything – especially clothes. They could be a choking hazard once they begin to thaw.
Experiment with different methods, and see what works for your child and his teeth.
Baby teething at 3 months
It’s important to take care of your baby’s mouth and teeth, whenever he begins teething.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends washing your child’s mouth twice a day as early as he has his first bath.
You can start by wiping around the inside of your baby’s mouth with a clean finger, and when he’s used to that, clean the gums with a clean washcloth.
It’s recommended you take your baby for his first pediatric dentist visit when the first tooth appears.
The front teeth (central incisors) are likely to appear first.
The bottom front teeth typically come through first, and then those on the top.
When a baby’s first tooth starts to come through, you can use a soft baby toothbrush to clean the baby’s mouth and gums.
Later, you can use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush or a clean, damp washcloth to clean your baby’s gums and teeth.
At this point, use a very small amount of non-fluoride toothpaste. You’ll want to avoid dental fluorosis until you start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
This study found that only 40% of parents wash their baby’s mouth. The ‘Brush, Book, Bed (BBB)’ method is suggested for remembering to brush baby teeth daily.
Is it safe to rub whisky on a baby’s gums?
The use of brandy or whisky to soothe teething pain was a traditional remedy in past generations of parents. It’s no longer recommended you use this remedy for teething pain.
There’s no safe amount of alcohol for infants, so do not put alcohol into your baby’s mouth.
If your little one is having a particularly difficult time with the symptoms of teething, speak with a pediatrician.
Your care provider might suggest over-the-counter teething gels, but they aren’t usually recommended.
Too much of the numbing products they contain can cause your baby’s throat to be numbed and could lead to problems with swallowing.
If possible, try more gentle home remedies, as a better option.