Newborn Basics

How Do I Deal With Teething?

My baby is super fussy.  How can I tell if it’s teething or something else?  What can I do to help him?  

When your little angel turns into a cranky devil, there's a good chance he's teething. Is he drooling a lot? Rubbing his mouth or ears? Trying to gnaw anything he can get his lips on? Does he have an unusual amount of diaper rash? Is he running a mild fever? (101 or less — anything more isn't from teething and merits a call to the pediatrician.) Pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, says to run a finger along his gums to feel for hard raised bumps or sharp bits. His gums may also appear swollen or bruised. The two front bottom teeth are usually the first to come in, followed by the two front top ones.

You can help by giving him something cool and hard to gnaw on (like a spoon or teething toy you’ve popped in the freezer). Acetaminophen can help with pain relief, but check with the doctor for the right dosage.

New AAP guidelines say that as soon as those teeth come in, you should apply a shmear of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) to keep them healthy. By age three, you can upgrade to a pea-sized amount.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Do Teething Tablets Work?

Baby Teething Chart

When Teething Affects Baby's Sleep

By Paula Kashtan