A wise old saying says that teething is the first phase of a baby’s life that makes a new parent sit back and think, “Okay, I thought I knew what I was doing, but God I was wrong!” Understandable, since teething is one of the more frustrating aspects of child rearing.
This is a phase in your baby’s life that will keep you on your toes. Keep in mind though, that teething is an important milestone every infant has to cross, and the helplessness you feel can be mitigated by keeping a lookout for and the signs of teething.
The technicalities – what is teething?
For those of you who have been caught completely at unawares by your baby’s transformation, here’s teething 101: simply put, it is the process during which an infant’s “milk” teeth or baby teeth grow out of the gums.
The teething process or order is not cut and dried, that is, each baby experiences it and deals with it in different ways.
For some, the early teething phase flies by almost unnoticed, and for others it is a long and painful process. If you’re lucky, your child will be one of the quiet, stoic “teethers”, if not, well, keep the scout’s motto in mind: be prepared!
How do know that your child is teething?
There are many signs of teething – some evident and some obscure. You can be sure that your child is teething if:
- Your baby is irritable and fussy: All said and done, a pointed tooth is cutting through your child’s gum. There is bound to be some pain, and different children deal with it differently based on their pain tolerance.
- Your child is drooling (more than usual): I have heard of parents using up packets of napkins and cloth a day to deal with this particular issue. Teething stimulates a good amount of drooling and dribbling.
- Your child has a rash: A rash around the mouth and on the chin is one of the commonest signs of teething. The constant drooling can irritate the skin and cause the rash to appear. A simple way to avoid this is to make sure that your baby’s face remains dry as often as possible.
- Your child is constantly chewing and gnawing: Get ready to keep unsafe things out of your baby’s reach. A teething baby will bite down on, chew and gnaw anything in its reach in order to nullify its pain. Even furniture is not safe from your little monster right now! But it’s all for a good cause: the pressure which biting exerts on the gums help relieves the pressure of the tooth emerging from within the gum.
- Your child keeps pulling at his ears or rubbing his cheeks: The teething pain that occurs in the gums usually travels up to the ears, causing the entire head to throb. Your child might keep pulling at his ears hoping to relieve this pain.
- Your child is generally uneasy, be it due to lack of sleep or refusal to eat food, and, of course, the pain! All these combined can be taken as sure symptoms of teething.
Just remember, be patient. When you see the perfect set of pearly whites when your baby smiles, believe me, it’s all worth it!