Your baby’s first teeth (known as milk or deciduous teeth) normally develop while they are growing in the womb. These teeth will usually start to emerge through the gums when your baby is six to nine months old, however they can emerge much earlier than this or even as late as twelve months or more. The teething process can be quite painful and distressing for babies. Symptoms of Teething Teething is often known as 'cutting teeth' but in fact when teeth emerge through the gums they do not cut through the flesh. Special chemicals are released that cause some cells in the gums to die and separate, allowing the teeth to come through. The pain is caused by movement within the developing jawbone, as teeth start to make their way through the gums. Some babies do not experience any pain during teething, while others are more severely affected. A raised temperature but not a fever (which is 38C or above)
Loss of appetite
Constant chewing or even biting
Some people attribute a wide range of symptoms to teething, such as diarrhoea and fever. However, there is no research to prove this, and it is important to be aware that not all symptoms are the result of teething. Teething Timeline Babies teeth normally appear in this order: • Top Incisors 6-9 months • Bottom Incisors 8-10 months • Lateral Incisors (either side of top and bottom incisors) 9-13 months • First Molars 12-24 months • Canines 16-18 months • Second Molars 18-30 months Ideas to help relieve the pain of teething
1. Gum massage – using a clean finger gently massage your baby’s sore gums. Alternatively, you can gently massage your baby’s face where their jaws meet (in front of their ears)
2. A wet face cloth kept in either the fridge or freezer (can be soaked in breast milk)
3. Cold spoon kept in the fridge
4. Chilled foods such as yogurt, chilled fruit, or frozen mashed banana (baby’s first ice cream)
5. Chilled teething ring
6. Teething toys
7. Wearing teething jewellery
8. Teething gels
9. Pain relief medicine
10. Chilled unsweetened drinks (they love chewing on the cup too)
11. Comforting your baby or distracting them
12. Breastfeeding your baby
Breastfeeding and Biting
One question we get asked a lot at Baby College is will my baby bite when they get their teeth and what do I do if my baby bites me whilst I am feeding?
While feeding, assuming the latch is good, any teeth are tucked away under the tongue, and nowhere near the nipple. Most of the time you won’t be aware of a change when teeth make an appearance. Sometimes the top ones *can* chafe when the teeth are new, usually a bit of tweaking positioning and attachment / breast shaping can sort it.
However, in much the same way as they’ll bite down on anything while teething, sometimes when babies are at the breast but not actively feeding, they do take a nip. It is usually at the end of a feed when the milk has slowed and they’re getting bored, and many mums find they can get clever at spotting when it might be time to break the latch slightly before the danger point!
Breastmilk contains a slight analgesic, and the action of feeding can help teething pain, as well as being soothing generally. It is normal for babies to suckle endlessly, especially at night, while they’re teething, and you can look into safe co-sleeping options around these times if you haven’t already. But if biting is a big problem then you might want to look at other options for relieving your baby’s discomfort.
If a baby does bite, many mothers find it sends a clear signal to end that feed there and then and say a firm “no”. Other verbal instructions like “wide mouth”, and “gentle” can also help. Mums often find that doing the reverse of what comes naturally, and actually pulling a biting baby in towards the breasts (rather than pushing away) forces the baby to unlatch in order to breathe, and gives a gentle surprise that can help avoid repeat offending! There are other ideas in the articles below. If a mother screams it can cause nursing strike and become even more stressful.
It must be stressed that teething pain comes and goes, and this is not forever. And once the teeth are through, any biting behaviour usually passes quickly.