Caring for a Teething Baby

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 by 1 Comment
Caring for a Teething Baby

One thing I definitely don’t miss about the first year of my son’s life was the whole teething process. While they say teething passes quickly for some babies, it was a long and painful process for my son.

Your child’s first tooth will typically arrive when he is around seven months of age, although it’s possible for teeth to appear at as early as three months. It’s also perfectly normal for baby’s first tooth to appear as late as his first birthday.

One clue to help you figure out how early your child may begin teething is the experience of his parents.

Children with parents who began teething earlier or later than the seven month mark typically follow those same patterns. My son got his first tooth just shy of six months, which is about the same time my husband and I got our first teeth.

Teething symptoms can vary. Teething increases saliva production, so drooling is a common symptom of teething. If your baby is drooling non-stop, however, he may develop a chin or face rash from the constant contact with saliva.

Try to keep the area as dry as possible and consider applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to protect skin from further irritation.

Diarrhea, a low grade fever, ear pulling, and cheek rubbing can sometimes be signs of teething. However, they may also indicate another medical condition. If these symptoms persist, contact your pediatrician.

Offering your baby something to chew on or something cold to eat or drink may offer some relief during the daytime hours. When he was teething, my son enjoyed chewing on a wet washcloth. There are also special teething rings that you can purchase and keep frozen to be used as needed.

If nothing else seems to help, infant Tylenol or a topical numbing agent should relieve your baby’s discomfort. However, you’ll want to be sure you read the product label carefully to avoid accidentally giving your child too much medicine.

Older relatives may suggest rubbing brandy or another alcoholic beverage on your child’s gums, but this is never recommended as a good way to soothe a teething baby. Even small doses of alcohol can be harmful to an infant. I was shocked by how many of members of my extended family suggested alcohol as a solution for teething pain!

Photo credit: LittleJack via morgueFile

Posted in: Baby Stuff
Dana Hinders

Dana Hinders lives in Iowa with her husband and son. She has been a freelance writer since shortly after earning her degree in journalism from The University of Iowa in 2003. She writes extensively about parenting, crafts, and creative ways to save money. Visit her at

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  • Penny W.

    I think it’s an old idea of a joke to put alcohol on a baby’s gums. Maybe it was originally to numb the area slightly? Anyway, it’s a silly suggestion now. I found that my babies liked to gum on a chewy bagel or a carrot or cucumber stick — something hard that they can’t really bite off, but harmless if they did eat little pieces of it. Neither of my kids actually used the teethers I bought for that specific purpose!