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teething baby

What to Expect When Your Child Is Teething

By Ilana Wiles

My daughter is 4.5 months old and she has just begun some of the telltale signs of teething, such as gnawing on her hands, her blankie, toys, myself and anything else within arms reach of her mouth.

Typically, teething begins anywhere between 3-12 months… which basically says there is nothing typical about teething.

Babies can display many symptoms such as extra irritability due to soreness of the gums as the tooth is trying to poke through. They may try to bite fingers or toys in an effort to relieve pressure from their gums. Some parents report rashes around the mouth which is most likely due to the massive amounts of drool being constantly wiped from their chins.

But babies can also display no symptoms whatsoever. (Lucky parents!)

Teething symptoms usually last from about a week before the tooth makes an appearance and disappear as soon as the tooth pokes through the gums.

Well, until the next tooth tried to enter the scene and the whole symptom cycle starts again. Kids continue to get their baby teeth in up to the age of three, which means, you’re going to be dealing with this teething thing for quite some time. (below is a handy baby Tooth Tracker).

I don’t remember my first daughter being excessively fussy when she started teething but I do remember insane amounts of drool. Like Niagara Falls levels of drool.

Because every parents’ experience with teething is different, I asked a few of my fellow parent blogger friends what they went through when their babies were teething:

1) Ellen from Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms had an especially rough time with teething. She had these words of warning, “You thought you knew miserable? NOW, you know miserable… at both ends. Don’t be surprised if your little one develops a wicked diaper rash to go with those throbbing gums.”

2) Brenna from Suburban Snapshots remembers a little known side effect of teething. “Expect that even if your crib hasn’t been recalled, your child gnawing on its rails will render it unsellable.”

3) Nicole from Ninja Mom was constantly confused as to whether her child was teething or not. “Not until your child gets her first tooth will you ever be so wrong about when something is going to happen. ‘I think I see a tooth poking through! No, wait, that’s just a Cheerio.’ ”

4) Although, most parents report that teething brings a certain amount of misery to their home, Bethany from Bad Parenting Moments looks back on the time fondly. “When a baby is unhappy, you have approximately two years to blame all personality unpleasantries on teething. Runny nose? Teething. Non-stop crying? Teething. Low-grade fever? Teething. Biting friends and neighbors? Teething. After age two, when your child tantrums for no apparent reason, you’ll long for an excuse as all encompassing as this dreaded milestone.”

Baby Teeth Tracker

To make teething more fun (yeah…haha), I designed this printable Tooth Tracker so that you can record the dates of your child’s baby teeth eruptions and losses, along with a handy time table of approximately when you should expect them.


Print the tooth tracker, fill out the dates and put it in a keepsake box. Eventually, you can use it to rehash war stories to your child about what you went through when he was teething.

He’s gonna want to know the truth when he has kids of his own!

source: American Dental Association

About the Author

Ilana Wiles

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertisin...

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertising for the past 15 years. She lives in the East Village of NYC with her husband, her two-year-old daughter and a rapidly growing pile of stuffed animals.

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Hi, I'm Natalie.

Also? If you’re anything like me, charts that track when teeth should/do come in will drive you CRAZY. I was convinced that my first daughter was teething from about 8 weeks on (the DROOL, my gawd) – but the little bugger didn’t cut her first tooth until 11 months. In the meantime, I caused myself untold stress googling reasons for late teething, the chances of her needing surgeries, the chances of her not having teething, WOE, etc, etc. In the end, she’s perfectly fine – and we were those lucky parents who didn’t have to deal with any teething “symptoms”.… Read more »

Isabel Kallman

I’m sorry to hear you were so stressed out about your first daughter’s teeth coming in! Me? I was totally surprised when my mom called me over and was all, look what’s peeking out of his gums. Then I was all, ahh, that was why he’s been fussy? or, maybe it’s just regular babyhood. ha! But, i really do wish I had written down when my son had gotten his teeth. I thought I would remember it all. And, poof, it’s been erased from my memory. All I can remember now is that it was somewhere around the 6 months… Read more »


Baltic amber teething necklace all the way!


Those charts are all backwards for us. Our little man consistently gets them back to front. We usually work out after the event too that, oh yeah, grumpy, bad sleep, dodgy nappy – all explained by those teeth we’ve just spotted. Expecting another set of molars soon. Yay!

Isabel Kallman

That’s so interesting. Of course, this chart is what the ADA says is the “typical” tooth eruption and loss schedule. As we all learn, there a wide range in typical and even when things don’t work on the “typical” schedule, everything usually turns out alright.

Ninja Mom

That tooth chart is impressive!!! Wow.

Thanks for including me in this piece. Excellent work as always from the fantastic Ilana Wiles!

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

This is really a very good, straight-forward post about teething. That tooth tracker chart is awesome! As with all things human, those ages are just averages. Nothing to get worked up about if your child doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo about what he is “supposed” to do. 🙂 It’s interesting to record the tooth information because teething patterns are more of a familial thing. Your little darling is more likely to follow your teething pattern than the chart’s.

(and yes, I have a medical background)

Isabel Kallman

had no idea that tooth eruption patterns (also, i can’t believe i just wrote that) follow familial patterns. Thanks!