Teething 101 – Baby’s First Tooth

Baby teething crop

Is there anything cuter than a baby’s smile when they have their first tooth?

Or anything that inspires as much relief as seeing that smile after the discomfort of teething?

Most babies will start getting teeth between 3 and 12 months and new teeth will continue to come through until the age of three years old.

No matter how old your baby is when they start getting their teeth, it can be an uncomfortable process for your little one, resulting in irritable moods, disrupted sleeping patterns and general restlessness.

But there are ways to combat it successfully and come out smiling on the other side.

Tips to soothe an unsettled teething baby

Try giving them something to chew on like a teething ring, or teething toy – even a soft flannel will work. For extra pain relief, cool down the items in the fridge to help numb your baby’s swollen gums. Just make sure you can supervise them while they are chewing to make sure they don’t accidently choke.

If your baby is old enough you might be able to use a teething gel for their gums if they aren’t coping. But if you can’t, or you’d prefer not to use a teething gel, rubbing a clean, cold finger across your baby’s gums will temporarily help ease the pain.

How will my baby’s teething affect breastfeeding?

Nursing on the breast is not only your baby’s way of feeding, but also a source of comfort so it is likely that they will want to keep breastfeeding throughout their teething period. Even babies who have started on solids may want to feed more frequently when teething as a way to soothe their discomfort.

But all babies are different and some have a harder time with teething than others. If your baby has particularly swollen gums, it may be too uncomfortable for them to breastfeed and they will go on a nursing strike that can last a few days. Rest assured, it will only be temporary, and once the teething period is over, your baby’s feeding habits will go back to normal.

If your baby’s gums are swollen, try massaging them with a cold finger before feeding to ease their discomfort. Try not to use a teething gel around feeding times as they numb your baby’s gums and tongue making it difficult for them to suckle properly.

Once your baby’s teeth come through they may start to bite down on your nipple whilst feeding. To discourage them from doing this, try carefully slipping your finger into their mouth to gently break the suction when they start to chomp down.

If you’re having ongoing problems, see a trusted lactation consultant who can guide you through the teething process.

Should I get them to start eating solids?

Just because your baby is starting to get teeth does not necessarily mean you need to start weaning them off breastmilk. The decision to wean is a highly personal choice that is different for everyone.

However, if you do want to start introducing solids, giving them something cold to chew on – such as pieces of chilled apple, or carrot – can help soothe the mouth at the same time.

For further questions…

If you have any more questions about breastfeeding,  call us on (08) 9498 6033.