Teething tends to cause a great deal of uncertainty among parents because it is not as cut and dry as other infant milestones. Infants can cut their first tooth anywhere between 4 to 7 months of age and can show symptoms for months before it actually occurs. Some infants will cut their first tooth as early as 3 months and others will not get one until after a year. Regardless of when your infant’s first tooth appears he/she should have 20 teeth by the age of 3. Typically your baby will get his/her bottom 2 front teeth first followed by his/her 2 upper teeth but this also is not set in stone.
There are many clues that let you know your infant is teething. Most children will start to drool and will have swollen gums. It is not uncommon for your infant to be irritable and to refuse food. All of these symptoms can also lead to sleep problems for your infant. Some children will run a low grade temperature but anything over 101 is typically not caused by teething. Acidy, loose stools can also be a symptom of teething but if it is persistent a trip to your pediatrician is a good idea to make sure that something else is not present.
There are things that you can do during this time to help your baby be more comfortable. You can pick up a teething ring or keep a wet washcloth in the freezer so that your infant has something cold to chew on during the day. A normal teaspoon can be placed in the refrigerator as well but you must monitor your infant closely while they are chewing on it. Sometimes your pediatrician will recommend acetaminophen for your baby to help ease the pain especially if it is causing them not to eat or sleep. As always watch for your baby’s cues to help them get through teething as easy as possible.