Dr Kadam says, “The dentition begins from six to nine months of age. It may be delayed in some cases but there is nothing to worry about even if the incisors are the first teeth of the baby. If the first tooth doesn’t erupt by 13 months then a pediatric dental checkup should be done. Though, the myth that tooth eruption is associated with diarrhea is false.” Dr Tirthani, further adds, “Normally the first tooth is the upper or lower incisors. They might come out in pairs or as a single tooth. A baby has six to eight teeth by the time she a year old.”
WATCH OUT! DROOLING: Teething stimulates drooling. Your baby’s clothes will constantly be wet. Keep her comfortable by making her wear a bib, and cleaner by gently wiping her chin and lips.
BITING: Teething babies will chew on whatever comes in their hand. From toys to rattles. Unfortunately, when nursing, your nipples are likely to get bitten, and breastfeeding will become a bit painful. Dr Kadam opines, “This is a natural process so avoid giving teethers to the child. You should rather give her biscuits. As they bite hard, it satisfies the baby’s itchiness, and as soon as it goes in the mouth it becomes soft and the chances of choking reduces.”
FUSSY FEEDING: Your baby’s mouth will ache, as the little tooth will poke the gums and cause irritability and crankiness. This will most likely cause them to refuse feeds as eating will aggravate sore gums. This further leads to distress, neither their pain or hunger has been taken care of.
EAR PULLING: Since gums, ears and cheeks share nerve pathways, the ache can travel to others areas as well.
DEVELOP INFECTIONS: Dr Kadam says, “It is vital to avoid infections at this age. Giving the child bottle to have milk may lead to faulty dentition or the milk tooth may decay. At 16 months, parents should start cleaning the teeth with the use of a soft brush. Till then, it is essential to give her water after each feed, to keep the mouth clean.”
PREPARE: COLD CLOTH: Chilled washcloth is an easy, safe and effective teething toy. Let your baby chew on it she will love gnawing on cold items.
TEETHING TOYS: They come in all shapes and sizes; some are even filled with water so as to be chilled in the refrigerator.
BISCUITS AND COLD FOOD: If your baby is on solids, then anything from frozen bananas, grapes or even frozen yogurt can do the trick. Mash the food so that your child does not choke on the larger chunks. Hard teething biscuits are also great options for babies who do not like to chew cold foods.
Consult your doctor is you want to apply numbing gels or creams on your baby’s gums. Do not take over-the-counter medication without a prescription. Fever and diarrhea are not common symptoms of teething. If your baby has fever and if he is getting worse, please call the doctor.
Sanaa says, “Tarasha took longer than normal to get her first tooth. She started to bite, chew and suck on everything. She had swollen and bulging gums but experienced no other side effects. To ease her pain, I let her chew on cold carrots. I would also massage her gums with honey and gave her homeopathic calcium tablets.”
Dr Shrivastava says, “The first sound which comes from the baby’s mouth is the crying at birth. This is a good sign as it means that the baby is normal. The parents obviously appreciate other sounds their baby makes, which is cooing at two to four months of age. The monosyllables occur at around seven to eight months of age, followed by disyllables like ‘ma ma’ and ‘baba’. Most parents usually confuse this for their first words. In case there’s no form of speech by your baby by eight
to nine months of age with reduced eye contact, bring it your pediatrician’s notice.”
Dr Tirthani opines, “At the age when the child starts crawling, ensure that their skin is moisturised twice a day. Keep them away from the kitchen and bathroom spaces, and maintain hygiene across the house. Hazardous objects like beads, buttons, batteries, nuts and coins should be kept at bay, as the child can choke on them. ♦