There are many milestones that the baby will go through that can cause Mom to stress out, but none are as painful to both Mom and baby – both physically and emotionally – than teething. Every mom will tell you about how difficult it is to get through the often long, seemingly endless months it takes for your baby to cut teeth. Since they’re often moody, irrational, and tired, the shift in personality can seem more like PMS, rather than symptoms of cutting teeth. Your baby will probably show you many different signs that they’re suffering through the surfacing of a slow-moving tooth, but these symptoms are often difficult to pinpoint as simply teething, or something else.
Some signs that your baby’s teeth are on their way out might seem obvious, but there are others that no mom would expect to be the cause of some tender gums. Since babies can’t tell us what’s wrong, it’s up to us to drive ourselves crazy over whether our babies need medical attention or a stick to gnaw on.
If you’re trying to determine whether or not your baby is teething, the easiest way is to look at and feel their gums. If they’re bright pink or red and swollen, get ready to greet those choppers, because they’ll be ready to say hello real soon. But if you’re still having a hard time distinguishing between whether or not your baby is ill or just going through the worst phase of babyhood, look to these signs to help you determine the whether or not it’s teething.
15 Blood Blisters On The Gums
When a baby’s tooth starts to pop through their tender gummies, the pressure can sometimes cause a tiny blister to form around or near the new tooth. This can be super scary to see for new moms, but it’s a normal reaction to your baby’s formation of his soon-to-be toothy grin. Our body’s natural reaction to wounds – even in the mouth – is to bruise, swell, and cause pain. This tells us that the body is doing it’s job to send blood to the area to help it heal. This is exactly what happens when you see a little blister, or cyst, form along your baby’s gum line. It will go away, but don’t try and force it or it can lead to an infection. It might even end up popping on its own, so don’t be surprised if you look at your baby and her mouth is full of blood. It might scare the crap out of you, but keep in mind that it’s probably just because your baby’s stubborn tooth has finally appeared for its dramatic debut.
14 High Temperature
While doctors might deny that teething causes your little one to run a high fever, as there is very little evidence to support this, many seasoned moms will tell you otherwise. Between their personal experiences and discussions with other moms, they’ve cracked the phenomenon that causes their babies to heat up without the accompaniment of any other symptoms. If your baby’s forehead is warmer than usual, or if holding them feels like you’re holding a hot water bottle, that’s okay. Most of the time, fevers tend to be a reminder that your babe is cutting teeth, which is a pain and an unnecessary cause of additional worry for Mom. The best way to tell if that fever is worth worrying about is if other symptoms are present, such as congestion, fatigue, or body weakness. If you’re still unsure, make an appointment with their doctor or take them to emerg if the fever is very high for more than three days.
13 Swollen Glands/Lymph Nodes
This took personal experience to figure this one out. When my twin girls started developing tiny, pea-sized lumps behind their ears, I naturally freaked out. What is this? Why is it moving? I checked with nurses and read online forums to finally breathe a sigh of relief to discover that it’s a common reaction to teething. It’s also a common reaction to viruses and infections, so determining the exact cause for the swollen glands could take a little detective work. If your baby is otherwise healthy and is due for a new tooth, the cause of the swelling is most likely due to teething. So don’t jump to conclusions when you cradle your baby, rub her soft head, and end up running your finger over something that you know shouldn’t be there. It will likely go away once that pesky tooth shows up.
12 Common Cold Symptoms
If your teething baby starts showing signs of the common cold, such as a runny nose and coughing, don’t overreact to these frequent teething symptoms just yet. Many babies end up with a runny nose while their bodies work to get their pearly whites out from under that soft surface. Due to the inflammation around the teeth and gums, the saliva will start running wild, and so will their little noses. While it’s entirely possible that your baby could have a cold and be teething at the same time (aka, a week of torture for everyone), it’s most likely the teething that’s making your baby miserable and not the runny nose. You might also hear more than a few coughs from your little one throughout the teething process. This is frequently because of all that extra drool. If you’ve ever experienced the cough you get from accidentally inhaling your saliva, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
11 Excessive Drooling
Babies are naturally pretty drooly. Their gummy smiles don’t do much to contain their saliva when they get excited over their next meal or sharing giggles with Daddy. A little drool is to be expected. But when your baby’s face starts leaking more than usual, the teething fun is about to begin. All that extra drool might soak more than a few onesies, but arm yourself with additional bibs to catch the run off and you’ll save those teensy clothes from getting so wet that your baby's neck and chest start to develop a rash from the friction on the moist skin. It turns out that the drool is a great thing for your baby, as it produces antibacterial properties that prevent the germs your baby will eat off of every surface from entering their immune system. It also acts as a little cushion to make the teething pain a little more tolerable.
10 Rashes In Odd Locations
A baby getting a rash is not an unusual occurrence. They can develop rashes for many different reasons, so it might be difficult to tell if it’s caused by teething, or something else like an allergic reaction, sensitive skin, or a poopy diaper that has stayed on a little too long. Since teething symptoms are often difficult to diagnose, you’ll have to go off of your mommy instincts and rule out what you know to be true. It’s possible that your baby could have a high fever and a full body rash due to teething – at the same time! – but when those two symptoms show up together, it could also mean a variety of other things. A rash could pop up on your baby on their face, bum, chest, or all over. There’s no limit to the level of surface area the rash could cover. However, the face and bum are the most common areas and are largely due to drooling and diarrhea; two other reactions of your teething baby.
9 Diarrhea &/Or Vomiting
Diarrhea is a nasty present all parents must open and face more often than they care to. This is another symptom of teething that can also be the cause of other issues; allergies, food poisoning, heat/dehydration. A baby’s stool is always at risk of becoming a little too loose, and it’s made even more possible when your baby starts to teethe. Again, the additional saliva levels your baby experiences is the cause of this mess. Because their mouth is creating more drool than normal, a lot of it is ingested and is the reason behind the mushy diaper. This symptom can be made more common if the baby sucks or chews on a pacifier regularly. The sucking action will cause your baby to swallow even more of their own saliva, so mom’s tend to recommend keeping the pacifier out of their mouth throughout the day and save it for bedtime, if you can.
8 Disrupted Sleeping Patterns
If right when you thought you’ve mastered your baby’s sleeping schedule – morning nap, afternoon nap, down at 7pm and sleeping through the night for twelve hours – your baby will revert back to newborn sleeping tendencies; up every hour, crying at 3am, awake earlier than normal (and much earlier than you would prefer). Their aching gums are the cause of restless sleeps and can make it difficult for them, and you, to concentrate on catching those Zzz’s! It’s a frustrating reality, but understandable when you think about the pain they must be going through. There’s not much we can do but to be supportive, loving, patient, and they will reward us with a looooooong night’s sleep the moment that terrible tooth pops through. That is, until the next one decides it’s ready to start its ascent/descent from their roots. They say to cherish these years, but it’s hard when every parent wishes for their baby to grow up and out of their teething phase.
7 Personality Changes
When your baby suddenly flicks a switch and they seem more like a stranger than your sweet, darling little one you know and love, don’t fret. Yes, they’re growing, learning, and coming into their own, and they will probably change a little over time, but if they go from hot one day to cold the next, it’s a good chance that their burgeoning teeth are causing them a lot of discomfort. So much so that their focus on the pain and uncomfortable feeling might cause their mind to wander or make them seem distracted or uninterested in the things they normally enjoy. It’s a sad reality to witness for dear Mom, but it’s one you’ll both survive. Even if the personality change feels like it’s creating a distance between you and your baby, don’t worry so much. It’s not. In fact, your baby will likely still want to be around you, if not more, while they attain this painful milestone.
6 Monster-Like Chewing On Everything
If your baby is bouncing from one object to the next in a puppy-dog like fashion looking to chew everything to bits, that’s not a sign they’re copying your family pooch, but it is a sign that your baby is teething. If everything from toys to blankets to your slippers end up going in your little one’s mouth, let them gnaw away. It soothes their gums and is a nice distraction from the pressure and pain. There are many objects that can help with this, too. Try using a cool washcloth, teething ring, or a raw peeled carrot. The chilled object will help to numb the gums and the biting down will help relieve the sore spots. You can also use your finger, but beware if a few teeth have already popped out or it might actually feel like you’re being bitten by a dog.
Babies have a natural love for their parents and a desire to be cuddled and warmed by the ones who protect them. They also love to be independent when it comes to playing with their toys and others. For babies, it’s a great balance for their growing minds and bodies. But sometimes, babies can get clingy in iffy situations, such as meeting new people or becoming frightened. If there is no understandable cause for the extra limb that is your baby, you can probably chalk it up to teething. The pain and fatigue is not fun for them and they may want to be comforted while they get through this rough patch in their life. Don’t worry if you’re giving in to the cuddles and closeness too often. Pretty soon they’ll be over their troubles and will be reaching for their toys instead of for you.
4 Wanting To Nurse/A Bottle
Babies find relaxation in the act of nursing or being given a warm bottle. The cozy, warm feeling can help settle them down, ease their raging nerves, and the nipple is a great comfort on those swollen gums. Being more demanding when it comes to this snack can be a pain in the neck. You don’t want to overfeed your baby, but you want to do what you can to calm them and make them feel better. Some moms have found that giving their babies warm water from a bottle is a nice replacement and will trick babies into tapping into that same level of contentment. So, just because they’re reaching for your tata’s or screaming at their empty bottle, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re hungry. This is another tricky symptom that can easily be confused. You may think your baby is in for a growing spurt, when they’re actually just looking for relief.
3 Refusal To Eat
On the opposite end of the spectrum of overeating is the chance that your baby might not want to eat at all. This will most likely be during sit-down meals fed by a spoon, rather than refusing their bottles. The act of chomping down on food and the spoon itself can be extra painful for a teething baby. They’ll push your airplane spoon away, turn their heads, and might even cry over the agony of this inevitable time of day. Even if they do take a few bites, their hands might reach up to the food so that they can control where it goes in their mouth. A good solution to this is to let your baby feed themselves with their own hands. They can avoid the spoon and be more strategic about where to bite down on the grub. They’ll feel independent and proud for doing this themselves, so make sure to reward them with lots of smiles.
If your baby turns up the volume in attitude and tests your patience more than usual, their sass and brattiness might not be ingrained into their personality. It could just be the way they choose to deal with all this annoying pain. Babies will get a little cranky when something bothers them enough, and the same can be said for adults. If we’re weighed down by pain, stress, or a problem we just can’t find a solution for, it might put us in a bad mood, no matter how hard we try to fight it. It’s extremely tough times when your baby teeths because it puts a damper on everyone’s lives and it can be difficult to enjoy the time you spend together. It’s not always going to be Crank Town at home, so keep on trucking, Mom. Continue to comfort and be patient. The light at the end of the tunnel is near.
1 Phantom Ear Infection
Normally, when a baby or child gets an ear infection, the uncomfortable pain of it can cause your little one to reach up and tug on their ears to find relief. Since this is usually a significant sign of an infection, most moms will take their baby to see their doctor to diagnose it and find some alleviation. However, these moms are shocked upon arrival to find out that their baby is completely healthy. So what’s with all the ear pulling, tugging, and fidgeting? Because the nerves in the gums are all connected throughout your body, the ones that are making your baby’s gums sensitive are the same ones that run up to their ears. Poor baby. So not only do they have to suffer through the gum pain, but also the sensitivity in their ears. Luckily, this is not a constant symptom you’ll notice while their teeth emerge. It is most noticeable when their back teeth and molars begin to appear.
Sources: MightyMoms.Club, Momtastic.com, Babble.com, WhatToExpect.com, CYH.com, Healthline.com, Parents.com