Bayo Ajibola

Your Teething Toddler

Change is one of the constant things in life and parents know this best. Babies grow rapidly as you watch them progress from one developmental milestone to the next. One of the major milestones in a child’s life is growing teeth.

Teething begins at around three months but the first tooth will probably appear as from 4 months to 7 months. The first teeth to break through the gum line are usually two of the bottom front teeth, known as central incisors. After those come the incisors on either side of the central incisors after a month or so. Then come the molars at the back and they are then followed by the pointy teeth on the upper gum (known as eyeteeth).

By the time your child is 3 years old they will probably have all the 20 primary teeth. Some may be born with a tooth or may grow their first tooth a little sooner than 4 months but it is considered normal. People tend to worry about these early teeth and want to get them out but if they are not interfering with the baby’s feeding and they are not loose or shaky such that they may come off and choke the baby they should just be left alone.

Your baby will probably be in some kind of discomfort during this period. Some get a little crankier than others to the point where it interferes with their appetite while others may just breeze through it with no pain at all.

Those that are in pain may bite a little more or put items in their mouth to soothe the pain. It would be a great idea to clean and disinfect all the items that the baby uses and can put in their mouths so as to avoid transferring dirt and germs into their mouths which would in turn cause diarrhea. That applies to your hands as well. Make sure that there are no small items that could pose a chocking hazard.

You should expect a lot of drooling at this time. The drool may fall on the baby’s chin and cause a rash if left unattended so remember to wipe it off the baby’s face with a clean facecloth. Some babies may develop a mild fever but it shouldn’t be too much to warrant pain relievers. If it happens to be high get your baby checked to see whether there are any other underlying issues. A baby’s temperature is considered high as from 38⁰C or 100.4⁰F and higher.

Since the pain is what affects more children easing the pain is something you might have to do to make life bearable for both of you. Cold foods and cold items can work very well. Place a clean wet cloth in the freezer for a few minutes and then rub it on the baby’s gums. A chilled banana and cold yoghurt also work well while getting in the nutritional requirements for the day.

If it seems that the baby is extremely uncomfortable and you are considering giving pain relievers consult your doctor first. Babies under 6 months should not be given ibuprofen. Aspirin is also not advisable for all babies because it has been linked to cases of Reye’s syndrome in children which are rare but life-threatening.

Some people recommend pain relief gels and these work by numbing the painful gums. If overdone (as is prone to happen) you may end up numbing the back of the baby’s throat which could weaken his gag reflex. This means that they could actually be unable to prevent themselves from chocking on their own saliva.

It may feel like a rollercoaster ride for both of you but it will end at some point. Be patient with the little lad and you won’t even realize how fast time flew!


Bayo Ajibola

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