Teething! How to Spot the Signs, and Soothe the Symptoms…Guest Post - Isobel Mary Champion

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Isobel Mary Champion Wild Ayanda Teething
Hello! My name is Isobel Mary Champion, and if you didn’t catch my first blog post (where we took a mindful and positive approach to weaning!), let me introduce myself again! I am a Parenting Coach based in Enfield Town, and I am delighted to be working with Wild Ayanda to bring you some of my very best advice on some of the most common parenting themes! Formerly a full-time professional London nanny, I specialise in creating a calming environment for both parent and child. Having spent over a decade working with children and their families in London, I am an expert in creating strategies and solutions for struggling parents. I hope you will enjoy reading some of my tips! Today we are talking all about teething…

Teething affects different children differently, some sail through with hardly a peep of discomfort, while others seem to suffer more, and will need a bit more comforting and soothing (similar to adults and our wisdom teeth – it varies enormously from person to person!). Teething doesn’t happen all in one go, teeth will appear gradually over the next couple of years, so the signs and symptoms of teething will be something that you will become adept at spotting!

Fascinatingly, some babies are born with their first teeth, and while most start teething around at 6 months, others will not start teething until after their first year! The bottom front teeth are usually the first ones you will spot (or feel!), followed by the top front teeth. The teeth towards the back of the mouth will come through last. Most children will have their full set of baby teeth or “milk teeth” by around two and a half. Your child will start to lose these teeth during primary school, from around the age of six when their adult teeth are ready to come through, and by that time the Tooth Fairy will probably be expected to start making an appearance! 

Funny teething quote Wild Ayanda

How do I know if my baby is teething?

Remember, your baby will be unable to communicate how they are feeling or why, so often it takes a little bit of detective work to figure out why your baby is suddenly so upset or angry! Here is how to determine whether your baby is teething:

 The most common signs of teething are:

  •  Dribbling or drooling (this will probably be the first thing that you will notice!)
  • Putting their hand or fingers into their mouth often
  • Red, dry cheeks (caused by dried saliva from dribbling)
  • Rubbing their ear (the nerves in the ear are very closely connected to the nerves at the back of the mouth, so teething pain can feel like ear pain)
  • A mild temperature (thought to be due to mild gum inflammation)
  • Minor runny poo (thought to be due to excess saliva)
  • An angry baby - can lash out unexpectedly (due to pain or discomfort)!

How can we help baby through this potentially uncomfortable time?

Give your baby lots of things to chew on! This will soothe their gums by counteracting the pressure of the teeth coming through. You can buy special chewable teething toys, the most popular being Sophie le Girafe, but there are lots of options available (put them in the fridge to make them extra soothing, but never the freezer!). Try to keep these toys as clean as possible, considering that they are going into your baby’s mouth! It can also often help to give your baby hard crunchy snacks to chew on, like raw carrot sticks or breadsticks (keep a close eye on them in case of choking!). I for one do not recommend teething “gels” – there is no evidence that they work, and in some cases they can be harmful, and in any case there plenty of other perfectly acceptable alternatives, all of which I will outline here!

Your baby will probably be dribbling a lot! Try to keep them clean and dry by wiping the dribble away regularly, this will help prevent a rash or sore, chapped skin.

Burp cloths Wild Ayanda Swaddle Blankets

Accept that your baby may be a little more grumpy and clingy than usual, and may lash out physically, or throw their toys away in a rage. Try to stay calm, and give them lots of extra love and cuddles to help them through it! Try to distract them with some entertaining games or activities (bubbles are usually a big hit for even the grumpiest baby!).

You may also notice that your baby is a bit off their food, or seem to prefer certain foods over others. This is probably to do with discomfort in the mouth, and it is best to follow your baby’s lead on this, and give them what they fancy. Your regular meal plan might go out of the window for a few days, but don’t worry, you and your baby will get back on track soon! 

Snack Cup Wild Ayanda

Now is the time to start brushing your baby’s teeth!

If you haven’t already been brushing your baby’s teeth, now is the time to start! Try to get into the habit of brushing your baby’s teeth twice a day. This will keep their mouth nice and clean, help prevent plaque build-up, help prevent gum infection, and the fluoride in the toothpaste will help to soothe your baby’s sore gums. Choose a fluoridated baby toothpaste that says “suitable for ages 0-2” on the box, read and follow the instructions carefully, and buy your baby a baby toothbrush with extra soft bristles!

Let your baby watch you brushing your teeth each morning, and encourage them join in with their own toothbrush (you might need to get more than one toothbrush – one for them to hold, and one for you to use on their behalf!)! Don’t worry if your baby clamps their mouth shut and refuses flat out to let you brush their teeth, just keep smiling, and try to keep things fun and relaxed, and try again next time! Top tip: try brushing your baby’s teeth while they are in the bath in the evenings, they are usually distracted by bath toys, and can be a little more amenable!

Got teeth? Time to book your baby’s first dentist appointment!

Can I give my baby pain relief?

If you think that your baby is suffering a lot, and you are worried that this will prevent them from sleeping, try giving them a dose of Calpol or Neurofen (make sure to read and follow the directions on the pack carefully!) before they go to bed. This should help soothe the pain and bring their temperature down. I would avoid getting into the habit of doing this too often, because there is always the chance that your baby is just grumpy and tired, and doesn’t actually need any medication at all!

The Final Word

It is easy to confuse the signs of teething with signs of a stomach upset, ear infection, cough, diarrhea or unrelated fever, so if you feel concerned or uncertain about your baby’s symptoms, I would always recommend making an appointment and popping in to see your child’s doctor! They will usually put your mind at ease!


Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the topics covered in my posts, and visit my website for more information about child development, child behaviour, parenting, and becoming one of my coaching clients! I look forward to hearing from you!






Follow me on Twitter  @isobelmaryc and Instagram @isobelmaryc


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