Your baby’s full set of teeth will appear once you’re done breastfeeding and they switch to solid foods (roughly 2 to 3 years old).
Although invisible to the naked eye, the teething process actually begins at just 2 months. However, the crown of the first tooth will not break through until they’re about 6 months old. Timing also varies based on your baby’s gender as girls tend to grow their first teeth earlier than boys.
The lower pair of incisors usually erupts through the overlying gums first. One single tooth can take as long as eight days to fully erupt, and your baby may experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Fussiness and irritability
- The urge to rub their ear on the side of the erupting tooth
- Gum inflammation in the affected area
- Increased biting of objects
If you notice these symptoms in your baby, your first instinct as a mom is to try and soothe their discomfort. Furthermore, the hormones coursing through your body and the jumble of emotions you’re feeling after birth are exacerbated by a fussy baby. But the only safe and effective remedy that doctors recommend is the use of teethers for babies.
Now that your little one’s pearly whites are on the way, how do you find the best baby teether to get the job done? There’s a wide array of designs and materials on the market, but before you decide on one, be sure to take these factors into consideration.
- Is the teething ring free of chemicals?
Since your baby will constantly chew on their teether and swallow saliva that’s been in contact with it, steer clear of potentially harmful chemicals. Carefully read the packaging label to see what materials were used in its manufacturing. Some plastic teething rings have a soft texture due to the use of phthalates. Others contain fragrances which may cause irritation. For a hypoallergenic option, silicone rings are your safest bet.
- Is it liquid-filled?
Designed to double as an interactive toy for babies, certain teethers come filled with liquid. However, this presents a poisoning hazard in the event that your baby accidentally punctures the ring with their teeth, forcing the liquid to seep out. If ingested, it could introduce infection-causing germs into the body.
- Does it have the right texture?
A quality teether should be a convenient source of comfort and amusement for your baby. Choose a product they can quickly grab and hold onto without any difficulty. Also consider opting for rings featuring a soft, latchable texture which will ease the pain and irritation in your baby’s inflamed gums.
- Does it contain small parts?
When shopping for baby teethers, stay away from anything that comes with tiny embellishments or decorations. Over time and with heavy use, they can completely dislodge from the teething ring and pose a choking hazard for your baby. A plain, unadorned product will give you a little peace of mind.
Doctors recommend taking away the teether when your baby’s teeth begin erupting into the oral cavity, and have broken through the gums. Continued use would only hinder the development of your baby’s teeth. In the meantime, you can gradually wean them off of breast milk, while introducing more solid foods into their diet.