Teething can be easier on your baby if you prepare for everything that comes with it. You need to keep a record of which teeth come in and when so you know whether your child is on track — and you must also learn ways to mitigate teething pain. Otherwise, you’ll have a hurting, irritated baby and a sleepless parent. Watch for the signs of teething in breastfed babies so you know how to best help your infant.
When Does Teething Happen?
Teething refers to the period when your baby is starting to grow teeth. It can be a painful experience for many families, as nobody wants to see their infant in pain. Depending on the child, teething may last a very short or a very long time.
A baby might see their first tooth as early as six months, but that doesn’t mean you should worry if the timeline doesn’t match up with your child’s growth entirely. A “When do babies get teeth” chart can tell you the average age when certain teeth emerge, but don’t get caught up in numbers. If your child matches the rough estimate of the time they should be growing teeth, they will be just fine. All babies learn to walk and talk at different times — teething is no different.
Your child’s molars will take the longest to form. They’ll typically erupt from the gums nearly a year after your baby’s canines come in. By this time, your child likely won’t feel the everyday pain of teething anymore. As their dental growth starts to slow down, your child should be feeling fewer baby first tooth symptoms, which may emerge around a few days before your child’s new tooth comes in.
Here is a rough timeline of what you can expect from your child’s dental growth:
- One Year or Less: Around this time, your baby will get their central incisors — or their front two teeth.
- Just Over a Year: Once their central incisors come in, your baby will start to grow their lateral incisors, which sprout on either side of their first teeth.
- One and a Half to Two Years: Next on your child’s list is their canines, which should start coming in before their second birthday.
- Between One and Three Years: Molars are the last teeth to develop. They also have the broadest range because they can develop over two years. Your child should have all of their baby teeth by three years old.
Remember — times vary depending on the child. Your baby might get their first tooth at around eight months old, while your best friend’s baby might not get teeth until their first birthday. Because all babies vary in their development, it’s essential to have a dentist you can take any questions about your child’s growth to.
Signs of Teething in Breastfed Babies
Following a “when do babies get teeth” chart can help you understand when to look out for teething, but there are also signs of teething that you can watch out for. While your baby may not express all of these symptoms, you’ll likely see some of these baby first tooth symptoms in your child.
When teething, your child may seek out something to bite on. The counterpressure of biting can help relieve some of the stress babies feel in their mouths. When you notice them doing this more, it may be one of the first signs of teething in breastfed babies. You can always offer your baby a cool washcloth or another teething toy to relieve some of the pain.
Drooling is one of the most well-known baby first tooth symptoms. You can tell whether a tooth is about to erupt based on how much drool they produce. If your child is constantly drooling, you may consider keeping a bib on them during the teething process so they can stay dry. Unfortunately, drooling may last for as long as your baby is teething.
3. Ear Pulling
You may be used to your baby pulling on their ears when they have an ear infection, but they could also be feeling the pain in their gums. Your baby doesn’t quite understand what’s happening when they’re teething and they will try to stop the discomfort by any means possible.
If the pain from their gums transitions to their jaw or higher, they’ll be pulling on their ears. You may not be able to rule out an ear infection right away, but when coupled with other baby first tooth symptoms, your child could likely be experiencing teething pain.
4. Irritability and Crying Out of Nowhere
Sometimes, babies cry for seemingly no reason. If you’ve checked on your child and still can’t figure out why they’re crying, they might be in pain due to the teeth breaking through their gums. Pain can lead to people feeling easily agitated or irritable, which could make your baby upset seemingly out of nowhere. Try your best to soothe them during this time, even if their irritability may extend to you.
5. Food Avoidance
If your baby’s mouth is hurting, they may try to avoid foods that make them feel uncomfortable. Your baby still needs to eat, though. Consider feeding them something soft like mashed potatoes or pureed peas. You can also make your own teething crackers to give your baby a nutritional boost while helping them soothe their gums.
How You Can Help Adjust to the Teething Period
The teething period may last for a long time, but you should get used to the baby first tooth symptoms eventually. You can help your baby adjust to this new time by employing a few techniques to ensure they’re growing well and mostly painlessly.
Remember to help yourself adjust to the teething period, too. Parental anxiety is very real and you can take steps to avoid your worry overtaking you. Consider keeping a journal to write your feelings in. It allows you to get your thoughts on the page and out of your head — and it will be something to look back on in the future when you’re missing the days of your child being a baby.
1. Visit the Dentist
You should make your baby’s first dental appointment when you see their first tooth emerge. If they haven’t sprouted any teeth by one year old, you should schedule one anyway. A dentist’s professional opinion can help you understand your baby’s growth and what to expect in the coming months. Plus, they can help you start caring for your infant’s emerging teeth.
Your baby’s first visit should help set a benchmark for your child’s dental health — the dentist can understand where their development is at and if you should start adding fluoride to your child’s diet.
2. Refrigerate Pacifiers
While it might seem odd, refrigerating your child’s pacifiers can keep them cool to benefit them when they need relief. Cold pacifiers can soothe their gums and help alleviate some of the pain and pressure that comes with teething. You can do the same with a cold, wet washcloth. Either one will bring relief to your teething baby.
If your baby has started eating solid food, you can introduce them to chilled fruit. Fruit is often soft enough for an infant to mash up in their mouths, but the cooling factor will add some extra comfort. Stay wary of any seeds or pits they may have trouble with and could potentially choke on.
The best fruits to give your child are the ones full of antioxidants. It’s never too early to show your child the value of nutrients — and they may start to breathe better or grow and retain hair more easily. This time may also be an excellent opportunity to introduce new foods to your baby to see what they like best.
3. More Time With You
You are the ultimate source of comfort for your baby. When they are teething, you may find they’re less upset while close to you. Consider wearing a baby wrap or keeping your child close to you in other ways. This way, they can rest while feeling close to their favorite person.
Pain when breastfeeding is one of the first signs of teething in breastfed babies, so you’ll likely know before anyone else when your baby is teething or when their first tooth has erupted. Babies start to feel more comfortable around their parents because they have someone familiar to cuddle up to. You may find keeping your baby near you can reduce their fussiness.
Start building a habit of bonding time now. While it can help your baby feel physically more comfortable and safe, this time can also benefit your relationship with your child once they grow up and start spending time with you more voluntarily.
Watch for Signs of Teething in Breastfed Babies
Teething is a phenomenon that affects all babies. The signs of teething in breastfed babies may vary between cases, so you must know the average ages for certain teeth to come in so you know what to expect from your child’s development. Ensure you do everything you can to support your infant through what might be an uncomfortable time and you may strengthen your bond with them as a result.
Baby first tooth symptoms are often unpleasant, but you’ll look back on these times fondly once they’re gone, even if they were a pain for you. Relish every moment with your child — and celebrate that they’re growing as they should.