Teething refers to the process in which an infant’s first set of teeth start emerging through the gums. These teeth are often known as ‘baby teeth’ or ‘milk teeth’, usually arriving in pairs.
Some babies are early starters and begin to sprout their first pair of teeth at only 3 months of age. Similarly, some might prove to be late bloomers and only begin teething as late as their first birthday.
All in all, there is no set pattern or time frame that could be upheld as the standard for normal teething. Parents tend to get worked up about premature or delayed appearance of their baby’s first teeth, not realizing that this necessary rite of passage is not to be treated as a competition. Rest assured your little one’s teeth will arrive when they are ready.
Despite wide variances, the average age for teething is generally between 6 to 8 months. The toothy concerns however can begin even before the appearance of your baby’s first pearly whites, and it can take up to 2 years for the entire set of teeth to come through. The front two incisors are the first to crop up from the central gums at the bottom. This pair is followed by the upper two incisors at the center front.
A generic timeline for the development of your infant’s teeth:
Although most babies reel with some degree of discomfort and pain during their teething phase, some have it a lot easier and present no symptoms. Moreover, the nature and duration of the teething distress varies from baby to baby.
Some signs and symptoms of teething are:
Teething babies can be difficult to handle, but you can help ease your child’s discomfort. There are many simple strategies as well as home remedies that can make the teething process easier for your little one.
Here are a few effective ways to get rid of teething discomfort in babies.
Sometimes, a simple massage of the sore gums helps a lot in easing a teething baby’s discomfort. Gentle pressure helps reduce pain and calm the fussy baby.
The herb chamomile can help ease teething discomfort in babies older than 1 year of age. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help relax the painful nerves. It even helps calm an upset stomach.
Vegetables such as carrot and beetroot are good for babies. These vegetables contain anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce gum pain and irritation. Plus, carrots and beetroots help strengthen your baby’s immune system. If you have started administering solid foods to your baby, you can consider using the following recipe to alleviate his/her teething distress:
To calm your fussy baby, try foot reflexology. It can be effective in soothing the baby as firstly, babies respond well to touch and secondly, certain pressure points on the feet help alleviate tooth pain and promote better sleep.
For teething babies, massaging the top of the foot, specifically the toes can provide some temporary relief.
Breastfeeding offers sheer comfort to fussy babies. The process of suckling comforts them and even distracts them from the pain. In addition, breast milk provides a unique balance of nutrients that help babies recover faster.
Breastfeed your baby more often when he or she is experiencing teething discomfort. If your baby feels tempted to bite during nursing, try different positions.
You can even use your clean finger to briefly massage your baby’s gums before beginning and ending the nursing session.
A teething ring can be comforting for your baby to gnaw on. When a baby bites down on the teether, it helps relieve the pressure under the gums.
Avoid any products that contain toxic ingredients like BPA (Bisphenol A), PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) or phthalates that can be harmful.
Opt for a teether made of silicon or wood, which are safe for babies. Also, choose one that is inviting and easy for your baby to hold.
To enhance its soothing powers, chill the teether in the refrigerator (not freezer) for 15 to 20 minutes before giving it to your baby.
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