Tackling Teething

Posted by Kristin on September 28, 2016


Saturday fortnight ago Lily cut her first little milk tooth and on Saturday past there, cut the next one. It’s her two little bottom front teeth and she looks so different and grown up now they have erupted!

Our weaning journey has been an eventful experience over the past two weeks. It was obvious that the poor little munchkin was in pain. She went off her solids completely and wouldn’t accept her bottle, only drinking for the first minute or so and never finishing the feed. The sucking reflex when babies drink their milk can bring the blood to the surface of the gums, resulting in increased pain for already irritated little gums. I did manage to smear a little bit teething gel (I use sugar free Bonjella for kids) on her gums when she would open her mouth long enough to let me, which did seem to provide her with a little relief.   

The experience of teething is new to your baby and can be a miserable time for both of you. Seeing your little one in pain is distressing but I advise trying to remain calm and doing little activities that usually soothe or distract them – I often sang Lily a song or told a little story to divert her attention from the pain when trying to feed her. We also tried more finger foods and let her feed herself with the bowl and spoon. Although more food definitely went on her than in her, she enjoyed the experience and it seemed to distract her from the pain for a little while.  











Teething is a natural part of all babies’ growth and development. The milk teeth start to develop during pregnancy when the baby is growing in the womb. Some babies are born with their first teeth but it’s most common to start teething at around three months old, although it’s important to remember that all babies are different and the timing can vary a lot.


Teething affects every baby differently, some aren’t too bothered by the process, whilst for others it can be very painful and every babies pain threshold is different. The soreness and swelling of the gums before a tooth comes through is usually the cause of the pain and fussiness a baby experiences during this stage.


The signs of teething usually begin three to five days before the tooth shows and common symptoms include:

·         * Chewing on their fingers, toys or clothing (or anything else they can get their hands on!) to help relieve pressure on their gums

·         * Pulling on their ears is a sign of pain, pain in the mouth throbs through the baby’s head

·         * Dribbling and drooling

·         * Rash on the chin, due to skin irritation that is caused by excessive dribbling

·         * Swollen, red gums

·         * Warm, flushed cheeks

·         * Diarrhoea and nappy rash

·         * Poor appetite and refusing to eat or drink and poor appetite

·         * Crying, irritability, restlessness and a disturbed sleeping pattern

·         * Mild fever


Here are some tips to try and make it a little easier for your teething baby:

·         * Teething rings – generally a soft plastic ring filled with liquid or silicon based that can be put into the fridge before giving to your baby to provide them with something cool to suck and chew on which allows them to break down some of the gum tissue promoting eruption of the tooth out of the gum. Teething rings should never be put in the freezer as they can damage your baby’s mouth if they become too cold or hard

·         * Teething gels – work as a numbing agent to dull the nerves in the gums so that the pain is less noticeable. The effect usually lasts for about 20 minutes but can only be used a certain number of times a day. Ensure these are sugar-free, safe for your babies age and given in the right quantity

·         * Teething granules or powder – usually homeopathic teething remedies which might be helpful, particularly for babies waking at night with teething trouble are available at health food stores and larger high street chemists

·         * A clean finger or cold spoon - should also work as a temporary relief if you have nothing else to hand

·         * Painkilling medicines for babies, such as liquid infant paracetamol or ibuprofen

·         * Affection – sometimes there’s nothing like a good old snuggle to distract your baby from the pain. Holding or playing with your baby should divert their attention, although this may not always work if they are restless or irritable.


If your baby is like Lily and is over six months old, you can try a variety of foods to chew on:

·         * Their usual spoon feeding foods, serving chilled rather than warmed, such as pureed fruit or yogurt

·         * Raw fruits and cooked, cooled vegetables, such as apples, carrots, broccoli florets straight from the fridge

·         * A piece of bread or toast, or unsweetened biscuits or wafers (I have to say, our Yummy Wafer Wisps have been an absolute lifesaver in the Heavenly household and Lily loves them!)

·        * Cool water to drink, especially if your baby is dribbling excessively




It’s normal that your baby has a poor appetite or refuses food when they are teething but they shouldn’t want to skip every meal. Continue to offer them their usual milk feeds and solid meals and ensure they are getting enough fluids to prevent dehydration. If you are concerned, always consult your GP.


There’s no set timeframe for when your baby’s first tooth should cut through, nor for how long a time they may experience teething for. Generally, they’ll have their full set of milk teeth by three years old.


Dentists recommend brushing infants teeth as soon as they appear. Clean their teeth twice a day with a very soft brush and a smear of baby toothpaste. Two minutes of brushing twice a day is recommended once a child has teeth. The main objective with a baby is to get them used to tooth brushing as part of the morning and bedtime routine. We try and sing little songs so that tooth brushing is associated with parents’ attentions and an enjoyable time. I’ve blogged about the Brush baby products before (see here) and Lily loved the little soft chewable toothbrush, which she could hold herself to soothe and massage her gums.






All in all, plenty of tender loving care, attention, kisses and cuddles should improve the teething experience for both baby and you. The main thing to remember is that every baby is different and you may have to try a few different things until you find something that works for you and yours.


We’d love to hear from you about you and your babies’ teething experience!


Good Luck.