How teething affects your baby

While you may have heard about the discomfort associated with teething, you may not know just how much chaos teething may cause for your baby and you. It’s a tough time for your baby, and of course it’s going to cause a disruption in the already delicate routine you may have going.

What is teething?


Teething is simply when your baby’s first teeth, that have simply been hanging out beneath the gums until now, begun to appear. This is a slow gradual process, that causes significant discomfort to your baby as the gums erode to make way for baby teeth.

What effect does it have on my baby?


To put it simply – it causes them significant oral discomfort. As they try to soothe the irritation in their gums, they’ll put anything and everything they can get their hands on in their mouths, so take extra care to make sure they are staying safe.

How will it affect their sleep?

As with any source of major discomfort, it will cause significant disruptions as and when their discomfort flares up. All you can really do is soothe them, help them with their discomfort, and be patient as the process continues.

What can I do to help?

While there is no way to speed up the process of teething, you can help your baby be more comfortable. It’s common for tender gums to cause more crying than normal, along with fussing and interrupting sleep. Using a teething ring, soother, or simply running your finger gently along their gum can help ease their discomfort – just make sure to sterilize and wash your hands as their gums are sensitive to infection. If they are consistently fussy, or unable to sleep, a pacifier and/or soother may help you to get them settled once again.

Teething Symptoms


Is your baby acting extra fussy during feeds? Do they pull off abruptly? Or do they nurse extra? Chances are, your baby has started teething. Here are a few symptoms you can look for in your baby:


  1. You can see a little white tooth emerging from the gums
  2. Teething sleep problems can lead to increased irritability at night.
  3. More drool than usual
  4. The need to bite everything is stronger than ever
  5. Gums that look swollen or red

If the baby abruptly stops nursing in between feeds, they may be experiencing gum discomfort. The opposite could also happen – they nurse extra – because feeding soothes them.

Apply Slight Pressure


A little massage seems to fix any sort of physical discomfort. This applies to teething babies as well. You can start by gently rubbing the tender gums with a clean finger or a soft, wet cloth. This will alleviate some of the baby teething pain, as applying slight pressure provides temporary relief from soreness. However, if getting your fingers icky with baby drool isn’t up your alley, try giving an alternative for them to gently nibble on, like a wooden spoon or a wooden teething ring. Avoid plastic or silicon-based materials as organic, earthy materials are safer to chew on.

Offer Baby Anything That Is Slightly Cool


Baby teething is a period of great discomfort, and will intermittently pop its ugly head throughout the baby’s formative years. However, if you have a fridge, you’re in luck. Cold things are often used to alleviate soreness, and the same applies for the baby’s swollen gums. There are several ways this can be done. Keep a teaspoon in the fridge until its cool, and then rub it against the baby’s gums. Alternatively, if your baby has been introduced to solid foods, give your baby some chilled mash fruit (bananas, apples, mangoes). This doubles as a tasty, nutritious snack, and an instant pain-relief method!

Wipe the Drool


Drooling is often one of the first few signs that a baby’s teeth are coming. Protect your baby’s clothes by adorning them with soft bibs – which can also be used to wipe their wet chins. By making sure you keep their face clean and dry, you can prevent any rash or irritation. Although, don’t wipe too often, as this might just cause further irritation, rather than being a preventive measure! Follow this up by giving your baby plenty of love and cuddles, as this is a crucial period in their development, and they need all the emotional support they can get.



If your baby is chewing down on your nipple when nursing, perhaps it’s time to let her chew on something else. Take a clean cloth and submerge it in water. Wring it until it is damp, and then place it in the fridge. Once it’s cold, you can give it to your baby to chew on to help mitigate their aching gums.


Before nursing, try giving your baby a finger. If they suck, they are not in discomfort, and can nurse fine. If they bite down, perhaps you should give them something to chew on before they nurse on your breast.


Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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