There are a lot of joys to experience with a baby – teething is not one of them. Babies can actually cut teeth as early as three months. Like Mel Gibson in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, it is important to figure out the signs – the sooner, the better. While the symptoms may vary from baby to baby, here are a few general telltale teething signs:
- Irritability – Cutting a tooth is painful, so naturally your baby may be fussy. You may find that your baby is irritable for a week or so, as the tooth slowly rises to the surface causing pain and discomfort. This extended irritability is a good sign that your baby may be teething.
- Drooling – Drooling, while common for most babies, can increase during the teething process. The more drool, the more likely your baby is teething. This excessive drooling can cause chin rash, which is caused from a baby’s skin being wet from saliva. To avoid chin rash, be sure to use a cloth or bib to protect your baby’s skin, and periodically wipe your baby’s mouth and chin area.
- Chewing or Gnawing – Much like a puppy, a baby will want to gnaw or bite down on anything she or he can find. Whether it’s your fingers or a toy, your baby is looking to lock down on something to relieve the pressure from under his or her gums. This mouth-seeking counter pressure is a very good sign that your baby is teething.
- Cheek Rubbing or Ear Pulling – If your baby is rubbing his or her cheeks or pulling their ears, this is not a sign of cuteness. The pain your baby is experiencing in his or her gums may travel to the ears and cheeks. This particular sign is often associated with a baby getting molars, which is why they fuss with their cheeks and ears.
- Diarrhea – This particular symptom seems to be up for debate. Some pooh-pooh on this symptom, but some parents swear that this is a common sign of teething. While there is much disagreement among doctors, it is believed by some that excessive swallowing of saliva causes this symptom. It is important to monitor this symptom, and call your pediatrician, if necessary.
- Tiny Fever – Some babies develop a small fever when teething, and therefore, it is important to be aware of this symptom in conjunction with other symptoms mentioned. It is important to monitor your baby’s fever and contact your pediatrician if it persists.
- Not Sleeping Well – Sweet dreams are replaced with the nightmare of teething. The teething process doesn’t sleep, which means your crying baby could be up at night too. If you find that your baby is up for Late Night with David Letterman, this could be a clue that your baby is teething.
- Cold-like Symptoms – Simple cold-like symptoms, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, may be an indication that your baby is teething. These cold-like symptoms may result from your baby’s fussing more with their mouth their hands in their mouth more often. Like the diarrhea and fever, it is important to monitor this symptom, and contact your pediatrician, if necessary.