Teething is one of those stages that’s probably just as uncomfortable for parents as it is for their baby. While cutting teeth is a major milestone that every baby goes through, the first few teeth tend to be the most painful — not to mention the most memorable for parents as they try to soothe their fussy babes.
As your baby looks for sweet relief from new-tooth pain, they’ll want to bite and gnaw to soothe their irritated gums. Your little one might start reaching for dangerous household objects — or your hands or shoulders, ouch! — and teething toys are a great and safe alternative.
If you’re a first-time parent, you might wonder when your baby will begin to get their first few sets of teeth. Most babies get their lower central incisors first between 6 and 10 months of age, followed by their upper central incisors, which appear between 8 to 12 months.
Even if you’re used to your baby’s fussiness, teething can feel like a whole new ballgame. You’ll most likely notice a few specific symptoms that let you know that they’re teething.
While most people think that teethers are only necessary for the first few sets of teeth, the molar eruption can also be very painful. So, don’t be surprised if you find that your baby needs a teether again when their molars begin to appear around 13 months.
Teething toys and safety
While there are plenty of safe ways to ease your baby’s teething pain, there are also a lot of bad practices that shouldn’t be used.
Always inspect your teether
Considering how much gnawing and biting a baby can do, some teethers may not stand the test of time. Always inspect the surface of your baby’s teether for tears and if you find them, throw it away. A broken teether can become a choking hazard.
Chill, don’t freeze
A cold teether can be very refreshing for a teething baby. But experts agree that you should chill your teethers in your refrigerator rather than freezing them. This is because when frozen, the teether can be too hard and end up damaging your child’s gums. It can also damage the durability of the toy.
Avoid teething jewelry
While these are a popular category that many parents swear by, the FDA recommends avoiding them as the small beads and accessories on teething necklaces, anklets, or bracelets can become a choking hazard.
Keep a bib close by
Babies are drooly, but it’s doubly true when they’re teething. All of that saliva can create skin irritations. So, when your baby is teething, keep a bib on hand to wipe up the excess dribble.
A teether is an essential item for any parent of a small baby. Teething can be a rough time for babies and parents, but you can make life easier by finding a teether that can be easily cleaned, is durable enough to last through your baby’s entire first round of tooth eruptions, and keeps them engaged.