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9 Signs of Teething to Watch For (Beware the Lurking Monster!)

Do you know the signs of teething? 

There’s a very good chance that teething is the reason your chubby Dr. Jiggles suddenly transformed to an epic Mr. Hyde monster.

Still…chances aren’t answers.  And judging from the fingernail scrapes on the armchair and the wild look in your eyes, you need ANSWERS. As a good friend, who hates to see nice furniture ruined, let me present to you 9 teething signs that will predict a tooth is just over the horizon.

The 9 Sure-Fire Signs of Teething

  1. You actually see a tooth. #TheMoreYouKnow
  2. Buckets o’ Drool
  3. Chewing. And Chewing. (And Chewing)
  4. Constant Coughing
  5. All Hail Queen Crankypants
  6. Sleep Schmeep
  7. The Fake Ear Infection
  8. A Rash Beard
  9. Vampire Mouth

There’s the Cliffs Notes Version. Now let me explain what they actually mean.

Teething Sign #1:
BLOW ME OVER!
I Durn-Darn See a Tooth!

Perhaps the surest of the sure-fire signs of teething is actually seeing a tooth. (You can always count on me to share the tricky tips!)

If this is your baby’s first teething rodeo, start poking your finger around the bottom front and feel for a little ridge.

If this isn’t your first teething rodeo, the chart below will give you a general idea of where to search for the next tooth.

If you don’t feel anything, try to get him to smile REAL-BIG (we have such tough jobs…) and peek at his gums. Swollen and red means a tooth is about to erupt.

Signs of Teething #2:
Buckets ‘O Drool

Drool.

It’s slimy.  Sticky.  Unpleasant.

Fortunately though for Defendant Drool, it has a helpful purpose that I can actually argue for.  Firstly, drool protects those tender gums from the various things he will try to teethe on.  (Think: a cushion of saliva.)

Secondly, the antibodies found in drool actually protect him from the evil germs camping out on all the crap he finds to chew on. This is especially comforting when you find him happily gumming the dog toys.  (It will happen, friend.  Even to the most vigilant of mothers. Thank God for drool…) Accept the inevitable and buy some good drooling bibs.  They will absorb the flood and prevent you from having to change his outfit every 2 hours.

There are a few other reasons for excess drooling you should be aware of.  If your baby has been drooling like a factory for months and months and isn’t showing any of these other signs of teething, speak to your doctor.

A Deviated Septum

My brother was diagnosed as an adult with a deviated septum…which meant he couldn’t breathe out of his nose as a baby…which meant that his mouth was open constantly…which meant that his salivary glands were in overdrive trying to keep his tongue moist…which explains why he was covered in drool slime like a slug until he was three. Your doctor can do the dirty work of checking your baby’s nose for this.

Blocked Adenoids

Another cause for late droolers are blocked adenoids.  Adenoids are close to the sinuses, so if they are blocked, your baby isn’t going to be breathing well out of his nose.

Childhood sleep apnea has been shown recently to be a lot more common than previously thought.  Researchers have shared it may be more common than asthma – affecting as many as one child in 10.  If your child is older than 9 months and still having significant sleeping issues, check for these sleep apnea signs.

Teething Sign #3:
Chewing.  And Chewing.
(And Chewing.)

I swear, I once saw an infant army-crawl herself across the kitchen to a cabinet just so she could chew on the knob.

She looked.

She saw.

She gnawed.

All that effort.  All that determination.  Just to get that silver knob between her mandibles.  (Who knew platinum was so delicious?)

Babies, because they’re so smart, have figured out that chewing is a pain reliever.  The tooth is pushing up. So by pushing down, they relieve some of the painful pressure.  That’s why you should gather a collection of good (non-knob) teething options like…

Awesome Baby Teethers Worth Trying

1. Teething Wafers 
2. Bite & Brush Teether
3. Otto Octopus 
4. Batman Teether
5. Teething Feeder and Rattle

If you’re not a fan of the Sophie Giraffe dog baby chew toy, check out these 10 unique baby teethers other parents have fallen in love with.

Signs of Teething #4:
Constant Coughing

There are three reasons why babies typically cough, but only one is a sure-fire sign of teething. Here’s how to tell the difference between them.

I dedicate an entire post to cracking the Baby Cough Code. It’s definitely worth reading,  plus you get to download a free Call Your Doctor printable for the fridge!

The Allergy Cough

The allergy cough is caused by a runny nose drip drip dripping down the back of your baby’s throat, irritating it.  The easiest way to distinguish an allergy from a cold is the color of snot.  If it’s clear, he’s allergic to something (usually pollen, dust, or something else airborne).  Speak to your doctor about allergy treatment options.

The Cold Cough

The cold cough is accompanied with yellowish, greenish mucus oozing down the back of the throat.  This picture of Elena greeting me first thing in the morning will give you an idea of what I’m talking about.  (WARNING: SUPER GROSS PICTURE.)  You don’t have to watch him suffer from the sidelines.  Try some of these infant cold combat strategies.

The Teething Cough

Unlike the allergy and cold coughs above, the teething cough is not caused by the nose drippage.  It’s caused by mouth drippage.  If his nose is clear and dry as a bone, than the cough is due to drool, and the most probable cause to all that drool is a tooth or two (or four).

Teething Sign #5:
All Hail Queen Crankypants

I always knew when Elena was about to pop a tooth. No, I’m not psychic. I just noticed one very obvious thing:

She got CRANKY.

I’m not talking about the usual occasional “tired and grumpy”. I’m talking about throwing toys, screaming, and looking at me with all the fury a cute munchkin could muster.

There was no pleasing her.  If I picked her up, she wanted down.  If I put her down, she wanted up. Eating was a nightmare.  Sleeping was non-existent.

Honestly, knowing her now as a nine year old, it makes total sense she would react this way.  When I get hurt, my first reaction isn’t usually tears.  It’s ANGER. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that this little Mini-me reacted to teething in a similar way.

How did I survive the temporary reign of Queen Cranky Pants?

  1. I deliberately thought about how she was feeling.  She has known very little pain up to this point in her little life, and now little teeth are drilling holes in her gums. By thinking of how she was feeling, it helped me get beyond annoyance & frustration and into compassion & understanding.
  2. I used earplugs.  It’s like an out-of-body experience.  You hear all the fussing, but it seems far far away… (Get ones with a cord like this one.  The loose earplugs are choking hazards.)
  3. I gave her more teething medications than I gave the other kids.  They were easy teethers.  She needed more help.

For the sake of your sanity, assume any baby schedule you’ve developed is worthless during and shortly after teething.  Whenever your baby doesn’t feel well, it’s going to take some flexibility to get things back on track.

Signs of Teething #6:
Sleep Schmeep

For the babies who are particularly sensitive to teething, sleeping is the usually one of the first things they chuck out the nursery window.

They shift from being Rip Van Winkle to an insomniac zombie within just a few days.  It’s a shocking transition.

Normally, parents begin weaning off night feedings and starting to sleep coach between 5 and 6 months old. (As always, any night weaning should be done with the permission of the doctor.)

Ditch that plan during Teething Time.  He needs all the comfort he can get.  Nurse or bottle feed at 2 am if you have to in order for him to sleep.  Sleep and comfort is the name of the teething game.  🙂

Bedtime was also the time you should break out the big guns and offer some kind of medication (OTC or all-natural) for pain management.  I go over all those options in this article.  Your baby is likely to be more aware of teething pain at night, when he has less distractions.

Teething Sign #7:
The Fake Ear Infection

The nerves under the gums that your baby’s teeth are pushing against travel all the way up the jaw line and behind the ear.  Babies (again, because they’re so smart) have discovered that sometimes if they tug on their ear, their mouth will feel better.

Unfortunately, parents often see this and assume these signs of teething are really the signs of an ear infection.  So they bundle up little junior, fork over a $30 co-pay, only to hear that the doctor can’t do anything because it’s TEETHING.  (Are you reading my bitterness?)

If your baby has these other teething signs, but the ear canal isn’t bright red, save yourself the co-pay and give him a good teether instead.

Signs of Teething #8:
A Rash Beard

Since the Drool Factory is working overtime, spilling over that cute little chin like Niagara Falls, it’s common for babies of both genders to grow a Rash Beard. Little red bumps may start popping out in various beard designs: from the Cowboy Handlebar Mustache to the infamous Iron-Man Goatee.

You can protect against the Rash Beard by slathering on Vaseline or (even better) Aquaphor on his chin and neck.  The saliva will slide right on top of his skin without irritating it.

Signs of Teething #9:
Vampire Mouth

Once in a full moon, a little tiny blood blister can form between your baby’s upcoming tooth and the top of his gums. As the tooth moves up, it breaks the bubble, and a little blood will appear in your baby’s mouth.

Yes.  It’s freaky.

Fortunately though, since it doesn’t hurt, your baby won’t even notice.  (Unless you over-react, in which case expect frightened tears.) Do, however, poke your finger around in there though to make sure it’s a popped teething blood blister and not something else more sinister.

Teething? Pshw!
You’ve Got This.

Teething touches on one of our deepest mothering fears: That our baby will need something and we won’t know how to give it.

Here’s the good news:  According to your baby, you’re doing a great job.

Doubt me?

  1. Do you smile at your baby?  Looking at your face has been scientifically proven to increase his serotonin levels – helping him feel more peaceful and relaxed.
  2. Do you hold your baby close when he starts to cry?  Again, studies show that babies held by their mother during shots experience less pain anxiety. Your smell and presence is a comfort when your baby is feeling pain.
  3. Have you just spent the past 10 minutes reading an article on how to figure out if all this is about teething and how to handle it if it is?  That’s a giant A  for AWESOME EFFORT, friend.

Teething can be extremely stressful.

…and it can be hard on the baby too.

Personally, Teething Time was consistently one of the hardest parenting stages for me.  The lack of sleep.  The feelings of helplessness.  The trying-everything-but-nothing’s-working.

The key is to keep moving forward. Keep trying things. Experimenting with remedies. The law of averages promises that something is going to work, right? You just have to find your lucky number!

Have You Read These Yet?

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129 thoughts on “9 Signs of Teething to Watch For (Beware the Lurking Monster!)

  1. Can teething cause lack of eating? My 1 year old has 4 teeth so far, she’s just gotten over a cold but is totally off her food but seems to be trying to bite everything else! She’s also a bit whiny, could it be her teeth?

    1. It could be, absolutely, or it could be because she had a cold. It’s common for babies with stuffy noses not to eat as much. (Because breathing is preferable to food.)

      I would keep a food log for a few days, jotting down what she’s eating, when, and how much (bottles and breastmilk included). Then stand on a scale with her and subtract your own weight, doing it again after a week. This will help you make sure she’s not losing weight. Have you seen this article on teething remedies? It may come in useful, if it is teething!

  2. When I was teething I was so bad they thought I had meningitis. My kids (4 kids) I used ice pops. The kind in the clear plastic wrapper you push up. They would chew on those for relief. When they got a little older I’d slice a corner off so they got the flavor too. Works well. Better than the freezer toys.

  3. Lol, I needed this … a good laugh. Thanks Heather. That pic of Elena made me literally laugh out loud. My boy is almost 14 months, and usually a happy little chap. But he’s been gnawing on everything he could find, including my leg, and a few days ago he woke up drenched in sweat with a smooth, dotty red rash on his cheeks, and some on the rest of his body, but mostly on his cheeks. He’s snotty, coughing (yellow, greenish slime) and generally miserable. I’m taking him to the Dr this afternoon because I’m worried that it might be something other than teething – the cheek rash is what worries me. He’s been eating OK, but this morning he didn’t want to eat anything and just slaps the spoon away. I’ve put a steamer in his room with some eucalyptus oil, which seems to help him breathe. Any advice or comments?

    1. Marli, I’m glad the post encouraged you, Marli! 🙂 The yellow, greenish slime is usually a sign that he’s got an infection. A trip to the Dr is probably a good idea. The rash is usually impetigo, because of all the drool. Slather on some vaseline or (my personal favorite) Aquaphor to protect and moisturize the skin and it usually clears up after a little while. (But while you’re at the Dr you might as well have that looked at also.) Hope this can help!

  4. Ladies, I have found something that helps when all else fails. My LO has been ferociously chewing on EVERYTHING blankets clothes etc. I saw her chewing on her sock and took it away. She cried like I broke her Lil heart into pieces. Made me start crying to. So I gave her one of the brand new infant socks. I thought if I soaked it in ice water maybe she would like it better……20 minutes later she put it down and was back to crying. So I dipped it in ice water and wrang it out, then I broke off some banana popsicle pushed it in the sock tied a good knot in the end and poof baby LOVED LOVED LOVED it! I rotate between ice water and a sugarfree popsicle. I use the really thick white terrycloth baby socks so it doesn’t get too cold for her to keep knawing on it! I only moisten the end of the sock so she can hold the other end without it making her hand cold. Ahhh at last she is happy again!

  5. My daughter teethes for MONTHS before a tooth pops through. She is ridiculously grumpy and mean because of it. It is draining. I feel like I’m going crazy. She is on her 2nd set of molars now and I just want to run away. Lol

  6. My daughter is 16 months old but i did’nt find any problem during teething she did not put anything in her mouth ,i even dont use any teether ….lucky one

  7. hi so relieved to have come across ur site. my son is 4m and he has all d signs of teething but what am not sure is he stools 3-4 times daily for sometime now but look healthy and hydrated should I be worried, have been to d Dr and gave me some antibiotics but hasn’t stop could it be teething? thanks.

    1. Darby,

      Is he having diarrhea, is that why you are concerned? I’m glad to hear that he’s healthy and hydrated, that, of course, is the first concern.
      You might want to try adding probiotics to his diet. These can help his little intestines find balance.
      Also, yes, it could be teething!

  8. my 10 month old no teeth yet daughter is crying since yesterday. mild fever, watery red eyes are from not enough sleep.runny nose .red cheeks. still not sure if she is teething?

    1. Preety,

      Could be! However, I recommend you take her to see your pediatrician if things don’t clear up soon.

    1. Oh my! I can only imagine. Do you have any kind of a support group (family or friends) that can step in so you can catch a nap now and again?
      Also, you might like this article we have on twins. If you find it’s not applicable for your little ones (they might be past this) feel free to pass it on to your mothers of multiples friends. 🙂

  9. Oh no, I had a feeling my baby was teething. After reading this, I am 99% sure he is. He is only 4 months, I feel like that is a little soon for teething! I guess a trip to the dentist it is!

    1. Kate,

      Sounds like you have a precocious little guy! My first born cut his first teeth at 4 months too. It can happen! 🙂

  10. Ok so ..I am kinda lost. My little one is 2 months. He just had his wellness visit with his Dr 2 days before this post. He did get shots in both legs and had to swallow a different vaccine. He was ok without crying or being grumpy, the day after the vaccines …all heck broke loose :(. Our baby is a real meanie!!! No sleep last night and yesterday all throughout the day he was crying, no getting comfy or sleeping at all.

    He isn’t drooling very much really but has started to chew on his little hands more. Aaand like I mentioned ..he’s super GROUCHY!!! Now I am grouchy too and I’m ready to leave him on a doorstep ( just kiddung..but not really lol…jk jk)

    Is this possibly a tooth cuttin’ in? HELP MEEEEEEEEE!

    1. Vanessa,

      I hope you both are sleeping again. However, anytime you are concerned about crying being related to vaccines don’t hesitate to call your doctor right away!

      I am guessing that you are on the right track with teething being the case, though it’s a little on the early side. Some babies start the process really early (like 2 months!) and continue for a couple of months before the tooth actually pops through. Be sure to check out some of our other teething articles (here and here) for more help on this new adventure!

  11. Great article! You officially reached Mongolia tadaaaa!
    My little girl is 13 months old. For the last 2 weeks I can see that her molars are all about to cut through anytime soon. Her upper and lower gums are white and puffy, she’s been extremely cranky, clingy, drooling all the time AND having this dry honking cough few times a day. Her cough doesn’t bother her at night but it’s just that honking sound i’m worried about. We’ve been to her doctor. The doctor said her lungs are clear no sign of croup, cold or other infections as she has no fever, no sneezing, no congestion, no mucus or phlegm. OR it could be an allergy because we have a fish tank, lots of plants, carpets, air freshener, scented candles, scented incense like sage etc and she’s often exposed to smoky polluted air. Her nose is dry but her throat is little her the doctor said. So, my question is that does teething cough has a honking sound?
    Thanks!

    1. Miiga,

      How fun to be communicating with Mongolia! 🙂

      The thing about teething signs is that they are SO varied from child to child. There is a very good chance that the cough is because of the extra drooling! However, if you can do anything about the quality of air in your house that would be good to, huh? If you are able, I would recommend looking into diffusing essential oil instead of using air fresheners and scented candles. That, right there, could really help.

  12. Thank you for your article! My husband and I have been at our wits end!! Our little girl is 4 and 1/2 months old and was sleeping 6-7 hrs at night since 2 months then at 3 months I noticed drooling and suspected teething…little did I know what was in store. For the past three days she’s barely slept, and has been so unhappy all day. Crying and screaming and we’ve been unable to console her. We caved last night and gave her infant motrin for the first time and she finally slept 5 hours! I was so nervous that we’d be judged for “drugging” our baby.

    One question, I’m convinced a tooth must be coming in because her pain intensity seems to have sky rocketed over night but I’m not sure what Im looking for…her gums look a tiny bit red (she won’t let me look for long) but I don’t feel a bump…help?

    1. Amanda,

      My experience has been it’s often hard to get a good look inside those tiny mouths. If she is drooling a lot and chewing on her hands then I think you are on the right track. I remember so well the first time I had to give my little one pain meds, ach, the guilt! My baby was just SO glad though. 🙂 One other thing, have you seen this article? We tried an amber necklace with our youngest with good results.

    1. Thanks Em, for sharing that link. I wasn’t aware of those things, so I’m thankful for your willingness to leave a comment and share it with readers!

  13. Do you have any ideas for dealing with a long time teether? I saw comments saying that they don’t exist… We don’t know what we’re talking about… I assure you they do and it’s one of the most annoying things in the entire world. My boy has been teething since June. He’ll stop for like, a week, then starts up again. The rash on his face, the red gums, the chewing, the restlessness, the drool, the ear tugging, the teeth that just won’t come all the way down to save my life…. Yes he’s been to the doctors. Yes teething is what his doctors said. His teeth are like a slow waterfall falling into his mouth. My friends babies all just do these things for a few days, maybe a week. This is driving me nuts!

    1. Bunny,

      You are right! They do exist! Two of my children have teethed for months before they had anything to show for it. 🙂
      Have you tried the amber necklace route? It worked well for us. Look over this article if you are interested.

  14. Great read! I can def. recommend The Sleeping Baby Trendy Teether’s. My little girl is obsessed with the fun colors, and she never lets it out of her precious chew-mouth! You should definitely check it out. They have some amazing products!

  15. My 23 month old has been coughing at nap time and at night for about 3 to 4 days now. The flight sounds kind of like a choking cough. He does drool a lot, his chin, neck and chest are always slimy 🙂 could this just be a teething thing?

    1. Melissa,

      This does sounds like it could be related to teething. If you are concerned though, I would call your pediatrician and see what they say.
      You also might be interested in reading this article. I have heard people say that amber necklaces have cut down on drool a lot for their baby. It makes sense to me as drool is the body’s way of soothing during teething.

  16. Teething Sucks this Article has been very helpful my baby won’t eat anything & all she wants is her daddy & he works All week so when he leaves its the worst tantrum ever even when I try to comfort her it literally takes a good 20 mins to get her calm & then she’s at it again she barely wants anything by her mouth she won’t Even chew on her teether or anything . it just sucks seeing her like this because its definetly not her normal behavior I feel sad & really helpless because it seems like nothing is working ???

    1. Lavada,

      So sorry! You are right, teething can be such a hard time and make you feel so helpless to help!
      Have you seen our other articles on teething? Maybe you will find something that could do the trick. You can find three of our articles here. You might also be interested in some information about amber teething necklaces.
      Hope your little one gets some relief soon!

  17. My baby is now 4 1/2 mos. and he has been drooling and sucking his hands since he was 1 month old.. When he was two months I ask the doctor if she could check if my baby will possibly get a tooth soon since he’s drooling a lot.. But then she said that it could take a loooong time before he can get a tooth.. She dont even bother to check him.. Now he already have 2 teeth!! 😀 🙂 We just found it out when he bit my husbands finger!! 😀

  18. Great article!

    One thing to point out though. Thieves essential oil is a hot oil and should not be used on children, especially babies. It isn’t even safe to diffuse it in the same room as a child.

  19. Thank you so much for all your advice! As a new mom, with my first child, it is difficult for me to make sense of everything that seems to change on a daily basis. I found your article extremely helpful and found some products that I am going to try with my little one. As I tell my friends and family, I would much rather take the sleepless nights over this teething business.

  20. My little one is 5 almost 6 months. Until now he has been a brilliant sleeper… Small catnaps during the day and 10-12 hours at night. He still sleeps well at night (occasionally has a bad night of waking up and wanting an extra feed) but the main issue are his day time naps. He starts showing the usual signs of tiredness so we kick into nap routine but then he will scream until he eventually gives in. Sometimes this can take 30 minutes other times upto 2 hours! Other times he will just fall asleep by himself which makes me wonder if these episodes are
    teething related? He is definitely teething and we use various remedies to help but no sign of a tooth. He has been like this for around a week now. Picking him up when screaming doesn’t help either. It’s exhausting and getting to the point where I won’t take him out in an afternoon to avoid the screaming episode in public! Any thoughts would be gratefully recieved 🙂

    1. Rachel,

      It does sound as if he is fighting the “teething monster”! This is a tricky time. I have two things to recommend. First, take a look at this article. Some of our subscribers (my 9 month old too!) have found these amber necklaces really help. Second, I recommend that you try to get your little guy into bed for his naps a little sooner during the day. It’s easy to miss that window and then the screaming starts! Keep a sleep diary for a couple of days and notice when he usually goes down. Then try getting him into bed 15 minutes sooner and see if that helps.

  21. Hi there, my baby boy is nine months old (five weeks preemie, though) and “full time teething”. With three teeth already out and one more on its way, he doesn’t seem to have had a break since he first started to show signs of teething, at about five months old. That means, sleeping problems (he was the perfect sleeper before, and he still is when pain/discomfort give way for a night or two), fussyness for any and every reason, and most of all difficult – when not impossible – weaning. Most of the time he doesn’t allow anything into his mouth, he barely tolerates milk, and gags furiously if compelled to eat. Since he’s been seen by at least a score of pediatricians/speech and language therapists/dieticians, and he’s been found absolutely fine (left aside a bit of reflux for wich he’s under medication), and since he’s growing fine, we started wondering if his lack of appetite might be another weird sign of teething? It even comes and goes in time with teeth, so I gradually shifted from “Oh, my, what’s on earth going on with you?” to “Never mind it’s just another one coming out…”. 🙂

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for your amazing blog. As parents its way too easy to get overworryed and surrender to tiredness, and here we can find useful tips and advices and, from time to time, a badly needed smile. THANKS!!!!! 🙂

    1. Evelyne,

      OH, it is hard, isn’t it, when your little one stops eating well! As long as he’s gaining (and the doctor isn’t too concerned) then I am sure that he will be fine. Teething can certainly get in the way of eating! Have you seen this article about amber necklaces? You might find it interesting…

    2. I was glad to read your comment. My son will be 8 months old next week and his appetite for solid food has significantly decreased over the last month. He will still take his bottle but doesn’t really want anything else is his mouth. I have an appointment this Friday at the pediatrician. I’ve been super stressed the past week or so but I’m hoping these are all just teething symptoms.

    3. Rena,

      So glad the article helped! I think it’s also a good thing that you are checking in with your doctor.

  22. Great stuff you got here! My daughter has 4 teeth currently thrashing through her gums, as she is not too cranky she is super drooly, snotty and coughing. Your articles are very helpful. I just wanted to mention something that my daughter loves. I cut up fruit and freeze it, then put it in her little mesh food bag to gnaw on. It’s perfect. She gets to eat/try new fruits while helping her gums. She is 8 months though and eating soLids

    1. Noelani,

      What a great idea! I’m going to try it with my 8-month-old who is also teething. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  23. Loved this article. Mostly because I couldn’t work out what the cough thing was all about. I thought it was attention. But nothing I do is helping him. Only one thing missing from this article. How long after the teeth appear does baby go back to being happy???? I need a happy baby again before I lose my mind.

    1. Oh Sam!

      If only there was a formula!!! Every baby is different, as you know. We do have review on amber teething necklaces coming out the beginning of April. I’m using one for the first time with my fourth and it really seems to be helping. (!) If you are interested in reading the review when it comes out be sure to subscribe and it will come straight to your e-mail.

    2. Sam, Danielle’s right those necklaces may be helpful to you, so watch for that article. Usually once the tooth actually breaks through the gumline things tend to improve…but (also like Danielle said) some babies can still be cranky several days later. If he’s still cranky a week after it’s broken through, I would start looking at other possible causes, like being overtired. Good luck friend!

  24. Wow my baby girl is 5 1/2 months and started teething she would wake up 1 or 2 times a night I was so happy and now that she is teething she wakes up every hour to hour and a half. I have to nurse her back to sleep because she opens her eyes and won’t go to sleep by herself. This post has been helpful thanks.

  25. Now he has a runny nose too, clear, just like all the other times he got new teeth. The cough is new though and it is hard to imagine he is getting MORE teeth.

    1. So, it looks like my initial comment never went through so you are probably confused by my update.

      I have a 6 month old that has 8 teeth! The first few times new teeth came in he had a very runny nose. A few days later, teeth came in. He had 4 by the time he was 4 months. He just turned 6 months and he has 8 teeth for almost two weeks now.

      So, a cough started yesterday and it wakes him up while he is sleeping. I started doing research as to why that might be and cable across your excellent article here. Earlier today, he had a cough only. Now his cough is accompanied by a very runny nose which he has only had when getting new teeth.

      Is it possible this little guy is getting even MORE teeth? Or is it more likely allergies or a cold?

      Thanks!

    2. Brent, thanks for posting again. It is possible for him to be cluster teething. The cough is probably the runny nose, dripping down the throat and irritating his throat tissue. I’m going to be posting about this in a few weeks, but here’s the short version when it comes to allergies/cold. If the snot is clear, it’s most likely just allergies. If the snot starts going opaque, or yellow, or green, it’s a cold. Yellow or green is a sign of a sinus infection you’ll probably want the doctor to take a peek at. I hope this can help!

    3. Whoops! I just read this, sorry Brent – okay, to build off my earlier reply… Since it’s clear it’s more likely to be allergies. You could call your doctor and get his thoughts about ways to dry up that little nose, which would also help with the coughing. But keep an eye on the snot color, if it starts moving to yellow you’ll want to mention that to the doctor. In the meantime, give him lots of lovin’ – perhaps consider babywearing for comfort?

    4. Hi Heather, thanks for your replies. I just got back from the doctor since we didn’t get much sleep last night due to the coughing. They said pretty much the same thing. They tested for a respiratory virus but it came back negative. They told us just to keep an eye on him to see if it worsens. Time for me to go back to the office, I’ll see if my wife has the energy to do some more babywearing today! Haha

    5. Brent,

      Stepping in for Heather… sorry about the cough! It’s always a good idea to see the doctor when your little one has a cough this time of year. I have a 6-month-old and we have already seen the doctor on two separate occasions for a cough (only to be told we just needed to wait it out too). It’s been a tough year for sickness! I hope your little one is feeling better soon and you all get more sleep in the not-so-distant future!

  26. You had me until you said to stop nursing a 4.5 month old at night. You lost all credibility after that and I stopped reading.

    1. Some babies are ready to begin nighttime weaning at 4.5 months, but that is a decision best made by the parent and the doctor. If you are breastfeeding I don’t recommend weaning off all night feedings because your milk supply will suffer. If you read that, I must have typed that before completing my Sleep Coaching Certification. That is definitely an error I will need to rectify in the article. Thanks so much for letting me know.

  27. Great advice, so too was the sleeping tips. Although I think the use of the word parent or parenting would be better than saying mother or mothering as it leaves us dedicated fathers feeling a bit under appreciated as equal carers for our precious little ones. Still helpful advice though “mothers”:)

  28. I’m probably the oldest one posting  hehehe.. but I came across this site looking for information on how to make a teething necklace , which I might add, I had NO idea existed 😀 and thoroughly enjoyed reading !  I have a pretty darn new grandson (nov 4th birthday) and I’m his daycare 🙂 I know he’s got a bit to go , but won’t it be wonderful to have so many great tips and ideas when it’s needed!  Site bookmarked, ty! 🙂

    marlene

  29. Goodness I love your site Heather. My 1 yr old, Tallulah got cranky one Friday (2weeks ago) and started vomiting, loss of appetite and just wants to shove whatever she can in her mouth. We recently found out the vomiting while teething was due to the amount of saliva being swallowed & upsetting the PH balance in her tummy. Antacid helps keep her milk down but she cries so hard from the pain she works herself into a vomit.
    It’s been a bit scary when your kid does not really eat for 2wks, but she’s hydrated and takes bottle. I’m also worried she now associates food with being sick. I put any purée near her & it’s melt down before it touches her lips. Any advise is welcomed…

    1. Katie-Jayne,

      Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment! I hope your little one is feeling much better now. I’m guessing the reason she was turning down food is because her tummy was still a bit upset. Giving her a couple of days to heal hopefully did the trick. If she has continued to act upset or throw up during eating this week then you should take her in to see the doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to hydration!
      It always amazes me to see how children vary in the way they respond to teething! Some children don’t have any symptoms. You just notice one day that a tooth has come through, surprise! Other kiddos are much more dramatic! I hope that the drama is done and Talllulah’s tooth has made an appearance by now. If so, you can celebrate!

  30. Well I was wondering.. my bubba fell off the bed 3 days ago bumped his lip and nose, his lip bled lots but his nose was jus red for the day. He was teething before that happened, the top two. Since he bumped his nose/mouth he can’t breath out his nose & it’s super runny (clear). When he’s sleeping he snores sooo loud and stops breathing then he stirs and snorts and breaths again. And he can’t breast feed very easily. I’ve tried saline drops in his nostrils and a hot shower running for steam to clear the blockage but it does nothing. Do you think it’s just the teething or something in his nose from the bump? Or am I overthinking it all?
    Awesome website thingy 🙂 it’s so great to read stuff like this! 😀 thank you.

    1. Holly,

      I would definitely get it checked out. Anything to do with breathing (or not breathing well) is worth taking your little one to the dr. Best case scenario, it’s just the teething and you will sleep better at night for knowing!

      So glad the website has been a help!

  31. My baby is almost 2 months in a week.. and 3 weeks ago she would be NON STOP crying and fussy until I pick her up she would calm down a bit..I thought she was colicky cause she would. Cry and hardly sleep. turns out about a week ago she, started drooling a little and I looked at her gums and sure enough she has little ridges on bottom and tbeyget inflamed.. but now that I found the problem she seems to sleep all day but eats good and has plenty wet diapers..but gets fussy at night forsn hour or two till fallssleep… is that normal? Could she have her nights And days mixed or could her teething hurt more at night.. her nose has dry boogies but I’m not sure the color..and her face is and hands are coolerthan her body most the time…

    1. Yes – this is normal. I would try one of these teething remedies, especially perhaps some kind of teething medication or aid at night before putting her down for bed. It’s very normal for teething pain to intensify at night because there is less to “distract” babies from the pain at night. I hope that makes sense!

  32. Thank you for this guide! We are in the grip of teething hell the divine comedy has nothing on us!! Reassuring to know that our dribble monster is in good company! !

  33. Thanks for the great article and very well written! A 2am it was nice to laugh and see such great insight and reassurance.

    Now I’ll need to scour your site and see if you have any good “how to nap at your desk without the boss knowing” tips!

  34. Thank you so much for a fantastic article, so “readable” and hit home so well!

    I’m just about past it and beside myself with knowing what to do with my 12 month old! She’s not eaten or slept for 3 days (and consequently neither have I of course!). She’s beyond irritable most of the day with brief periods of smiles, lasting about 5 minutes if I’m lucky and is now on the olympic team for crying!!!!

    Wow! I don’t remember her other teeth being this bad! And I certainly don’t remember her 2 year old sister being like this, but like you said, every child is different – I shouldn’t compare!

    I’ve considered cows milk intolerance, given I’ve just switched her to cows milk, but, no, I don’t think so. We’ve been checked for (yes you mentioned it!) an ear infection, but no – all clear! I guess me, the tylenol, motrin, and teething toys are just going to have to ride it out with her!

    She better produce some spectacular teeth after this!!!!

    Thank you again, a great read!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jackie! Ugh! I wonder if she’s getting her molars a little early. Have you tried a molar teether like the teethifier? Perhaps that will help. I hope it gets better friend!

  35. Thanks for the great article. On baby #2 who is 8 months old and has turned into a total… Well, you get it. She is normally the most smiley, loving thing. I appreciated how you spoke about the difference of this child vs your other children and that their comfort is of the utmost importance. Child 1 is already 5 and was a teething champ, so I forgot entirely about its “rock your world and not in a good way” potential.

    Angela R.
    Edina, MN

    1. You’re welcome Angela! Isn’t it just amazing how you can see their little personalities showing up at such a young age? They truly are unique little miracles! 🙂

  36. Am so glad I came across this post. Last Tuesday my LO woke up at 10pm (he usually sleeps through the night ),with warm red cheeks and chin. I was close to sprinting to the nearest doctor but the hubby calmed MW down. True enough the next day he was back to his peachy self. Today it happened again but he wasn’t wailing or anything. He was in fact in the best of moods. I’ve been googling everything from food allergies to slapped cheek symptoms but nothing made sense and then this aha moment with your blog. He’s sleeping soundly now with some balm on his cheeks and chin. He has been biting away on everything from his bib to raw carrots and has never had these red warm cheeks before. My gut says teeth. I ought to listen to Mr. Gut no?

    1. I would give Mr. Gut a good listen to, at least for a few days. If he gets a fever or starts to seem limp and listless, call your doctor and ask for an appointment. Hope those red sweet cheeks will be the extent of his teething symptoms! It’s always nice to have a happy teether! 🙂

  37. My daughter is 6 months 2weeks had diarhoea a week ago and was a bit drooling and biting things the diarhoea stopped and all of a sudden her temp is 38 and she is restless and looks weak.

    1. Lovely I’m so sorry I’m just seeing this! I would take her in to the doctor right away. You want to make sure she is not dehydrated. That can be very serious for babies. If you think she’s looking weak, follow your gut instinct that something’s a little off and take her to the doctor or hospital right away to be checked out. I hope things are better! (hugs)

  38. I have to say, with respect to the ear infection part, it really is worth the annoyance and copay of a doctor’s visit. When a baby is pulling his ear but the canal isn’t red or there aren’t other external signs of an infection, there can still be a small amount of fluid in the ear which can blow up into a full-on infection if not treated properly. I would be sure to rule it out, particularly if your baby has suffered from an ear infection in the past.

  39. My daughter is 4 months old. At 3 1/2 months she caught a cold…nothing bad…clear snot but just lots of it. She had a gagging/coughing episode during that time that scared me to death. It lasted for about 3 minutes, she could not seem to calm down, she was coughing and gagging with short shallow breaths in between. I was seconds away from calling 911 when she finally started to breathe normally. It happened again today, she is 4 months, and grandma was watching her. My daughter woke from her sleep crying loudly and started to gag/cough again, was inconsolable for 15minutes, arching her back, shallow breaths. She was calm by the time I made it home. This is just not her typical behavior. She is an easy going baby, smiley, sleeps well. I do think she might be teething off and on with lots of drool, chewing on everything, could they be related? I have cut out all dairy, soy, gluten, and peanuts as she was fussy when younger, and the diet seemed to help. I did cheat this weeken on butter and gluten, perhaps that upset her stomach? Any insight or thoughts would be appreciated! I am bookmarking your site to refer to more as I try to figure out this first time mom thing. 🙂 thank you for making such a great resource

    1. Lauren, I would definitely get her in to the doctor just to make sure. This is above my pay grade. 🙂 I can tell you, though, that usually clear snot is a sign of allergies, not a cold. (A cold causes the yellowish/green crusties.) This may support your question about the diet. In the meantime, I would have her sleep on an incline – either in a swing, a Rock ‘n Play, or by inclining the crib mattress. (See how to incline a crib mattress safely here.)

      Thanks also for bookmarking and reading the site! I really appreciate it. Please let me know if I can be helpful in any other way! If you ever have a question you’d like me to research or write about, let me know!

  40. I have a question my son is 1 yr old and his gums keep bleeding i went to doctor’s and he had told me my son some kinda mouth problem and gave him magic wash but my sons upper gums are bleeding atleast twice a day.can you give me advice to what i should do please?

    1. Leanna, this is above my pay grade. I would seek a second opinion. It sounds like you’re a little unsure of the first doctor’s advice. Trust your instincts. 🙂

  41. My little girl Elaina is 6 months old and still no tooth. I keep expecting to see one any day but nothing yet :/ she is drooling and fussy and she has had phases like this and still no tooth. When I do finally see that tooth I will probably jump for joy lol.

    1. Becky, I know what you mean! My husband and I started betting each other on when that first tooth would show up! (I totally won, btw. He had to buy me one Starbucks every week for a month!)

  42. So first and foremost this article helped me feel less calm. So thank you!
    My daughter is 13 months and is a medical mystery. She has this cough that has been with her since about 3 months. Took her to 2 different allergist who both agreed she’s allergic to dairy, eggs, mold and possible peanut also has “asthma and allergies” which is expected bc I am a victim of hayfever and allergy induce asthma. We have done EVERYTHING you could imagine to help her and NO RELIEF!! We are so stressed out and now were at each other’s throats bc it’s gone on for like her whole life. It’s stressful beyond words. No teething product,humidifier, crib wedge to elevate her head, allergy medication, pain medication (Tylenol, Etc) inhaler, breathing treatment or food helps. We have become neurotic…we started feeding her things that don’t have dairy but it got way to hard and we have figured out what she can and can’t have…so we thought. She goes from full blown congestion/coughing non stop for a good 1-2 wks and then nothing. Sleeps through the night and all and then BOOM back to square one. In a nut shell is this teething or is it really her allergy/asthma? Like has anyone’s gone through this? I’m so tired of doctors and their “by the book not experience” advice. HELP!!!!!

    1. Barb – did the article make you feel LESS calm? or Less worried? I was little confused, and I certainly don’t want to add stress on top of all the struggles you’ve been through! I can’t give you any specific encouragements, but I CAN say that you should trust your judgement. You both know her better than ANYONE on the planet. If you’re instincts are telling you it’s teething, go with it. Try some homeopathic remedies, or just offer extra grace and hugs to get through it. I’ve learned, over the years, that “Sleeping through the night” is something that ebbs and flows with some temperaments. My Elena would sleep through the night great for months, then stop for a few weeks. We’d do some adjustments (like the Shuffle) and then she’d do great again. It was never “one and done” with her. Perhaps your baby is similar? Keep plodding along, making adjustments where necessary, and follow your “Parent Gut”. I bet you’re a much better “guesser” than 99% of the world out there. 🙂

  43. Loved this.. Great read.. Made me feel a bit better.. I’m a second time mom but it’s been 4 years so sometimes a refresher is needed… Babe number 2 is basically the devil spawn lately and one or two weeks ago she was the easy one …. Yeahhhhhhhhhhh…

    Hopefully the next ones aren’t as hard as the first!

    1. Jax, I’m glad this post can help! Don’t you wish all babies where the easy teethers? Where one day the just smile at you and POP! a tooth? (sigh) 🙂

  44. My daughter is4 1/2 months. She used to sleep through the night. that stopped about 3 weeks ago. now she drools like crazy,chews on everything and is super cranky. Her sleep has gotten much worse in the last week also her mood. We just made a big move from one State to another. How do I know if this is teething pains or the move?

    1. Lori, it’s very common (if not expected) for there to be sleep disruptions between the 4-5 month periods. Your baby’s brain is going through a huge growth spurt (have you noticed her being a lot more alert and “interested” in things?) and so babies will commonly start waking more as they start to practice new sleep skills (like how to fall back asleep on their own). So you’re in good company. 🙂 The move could also be a major factor, depending on how alert & sensitive your baby is. I would give it a week – keeping a sleeping/feeding log so you can spot patterns and see if she’s needing more feedings than normal. Plus that will help you get past the “just moved” disruption a little bit. Then watch for those signs of teething and see if anything starts to sprout. I hope this can help!

  45. my baby is nine months and has no teeth yet but always have this white stuff on her gum every morning, I clean them but is back the next morning. Is it something I should be worried about? how do I make it go.

    1. Abby, I would mention it to your doctor. It sounds like something called thrush. Here’s a medical article about it. It’s not usually a serious condition – but it can sometimes lead to feeding problems, which can contribute to weight loss, etc. Give your doctor a call and share the symptoms. He will either call in some antibiotics or encourage you to come in for an appointment.

  46. I liked everything you wrote EXCEPT telling people to make babies self soothe. There is a lot of literature talking about studies proving that is not the case. Babies don’t self soothe, they get themselves so stressed they shut down. Each day is less time of crying because they give up. Teach your babies love and trust they you will be there when THEY need you. Not when YOU think they need you. Do your research. 🙂

    1. Erica, thanks for the comment. I obviously need to do an edit because I totally agree with you. Baby’s needs first, parent’s wants second. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll go back and read it through again, obviously I’ve miscommunicated. Update: I did change a few sentences to be more clear. Thanks again Erica! I wrote this article a year ago, before I finished my sleep certification coursework. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned since then. 🙂

  47. My son has been drooling and chewing for 2 months now but still no sign of teeth. He has also started making clicking sounds with his tongue, and am not sure whether this is a part of teething.

    1. I can’t tell you for sure if he’s teething, but the clicking noise is a developmental milestone. He’s experimenting with his tongue and getting ready to make sounds! 🙂

  48. omg heather thank you this site helped me figure out why my son was so fussy turns out he has all his molers coming in at once with alergies if i hadnt found this site i would have gone crazy
    ps my son is 12 months old and teething has been going on literally 5 months now it gets so tiring

    1. Brittney, I’m so glad you found it helpful! Molars are the PITS OF DESPAIR! The good news is that molars usually means you’re almost done with teething…yay! Did you see the strange-looking teether above – “The Teethifier”? That is a great teether for those back molars. 🙂 Hang in there friend, you’re almost through! xo

  49. Sounds like my little man, almost 7mo now. Was sleeping great until about 4mo. Then NEEDED paci to sleep, 3 days before 5mo old he popped both bottoms at same time. Then he quit paci for awhile. Now we are back to paci all the time, no sleeping, and overall crankiness so I’m pretty sure he’s popping more. I always just go in there, reposition him, put paci back in and rub his back to sleep. when he gets his screaming fits where I can tell it’s anger and not tired I give him Tylenol because I figure it’s from the pain. I try to only give it at night and during the day use washcloths, or I freeze Apples/Bananas and put into a mesh feeder for him to chomp on. As soon as you think you have a handle on things….just give them as much love and attention as possible during these painful times and you try to get some damn sleep!

    1. So true Candace! The moment you think you’ve got some parenting thing under control…SURPRISE! Those are some great suggestions, thanks for sharing them! Alternating Ibuprofen and Tylenol with our tough teether was the only way we got through some nights. Hang in there!

  50. I am having a hard time figuring out if my daughter’s sleep issues are because of the mommy attachment issues or due to her teeth. She is 6 months old and was sleeping great from 8 weeks-4 months. Then, the sleep regression hit and never ended until we did a little sleep training (based on your advice.) it only took about 1 night of her crying in the middle of the night and she put herself back to sleep. She was always very easy to put down at night time, it was more her night wakings. During the regression, we would go put her pacifier back in and she would go right to sleep. Then, we did some training so that she wasn’t just used to the having the pacifier.

    During the holidays, we were traveling and she was in our room and she also popped her two bottom teeth. Since then, she has been waking up in the middle of the night screaming and now not going down as easy. She usually goes to sleep fine for me, but not for my husband. Also, during the day, she usually goes down for naps easily for me, but no one else. She has given me a hard time on a few occasions, but not normally.

    So, this week has been pretty rough. Hard going down and hard time at night. She gets hysterical and can’t calm down. Sometimes she gets more upset when we are in the room, until we eventually pick her up. The other night, She didn’t fall asleep even after crying for an hour and a half for my husband, He tried going in every 10 minutes and when hysterical, every 5, but she continues to scream. I went in after an hour and a half and she calmed, then fell asleep. So, there are so many different things going on and I don’t know if it’s just that she only wants me to put her to sleep, if it’s her teeth (because she doesn’t always calm for me at night) or what it is. Some nights I’ve had to nurse her to soothe her because she can’t calm. She hasn’t been having night feedings since 8-9 weeks old. Ever since her teeth started coming in, she has been pretty miserable. If I put her down, she wants me to pick her up.

    So, I felt it was an attachment to me, but then after reading your teething page I don’t know if that is part of the issue as well. I don’t want to make her even more miserable by sleep training if it is her teeth. I just don’t know how to figure it out and to know when it is her teeth and when it isn’t.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

  51. My daughter is 6 months right now and I don’t think she’s teething yet. She’s been uber drooly and chomps on everything she can get her hands on for months(2-3). I have to keep a rag nearby at all times to wipe it up or she’ll get rashes under her chin. Everyone who sees her says “OH she must be teething!” I don’t think people realize that some of these things babies just do… She sleeps pretty well, isn’t super fussy, no ear pulling, no red gums or anything so when people say that their kid has been teething for months I’m not entirely sure that’s accurate… Lol just my experience.

  52. Also Chelsea, while Heather’s answer is totally right (unfortunately!) I found that my baby teethed for EVER with her first tooth (like 3 months of chewing on everything etc before anything came up!). After the first ones though she now just gets cranky for a day here and there. If you’re lucky yours will get used to it except for the perhaps the day or so right before they poke through, which is understandable, it can’t be pleasant.

  53. I always found my little one to be particularly clingy when she was teething. She was usually very independent till days when she was obviously hurting a bit, and I couldn’t put her down long enough to go the bathroom! At least I had fair warning of a pending sleepless night!

  54. My youngest is 8 months old and started teething (bumps and all) at 4 months… but no teeth yet. I think she’s gotten used to it. I just want to strangle the toothfairy to give her teeth already… a word of caution about Sophie the Giraffe. She’s latex. Natural rubber latex. If you have a latex allergy in your family or just want to be careful then avoid her. If you want a test, try putting a Bandaid on your baby (with latex glue, they mark them in the stores…) and leave it on a day to see if there’s any redness or reaction when you remove it. I personally would not use a latex-rubber toy with a baby, just to be careful.

  55. My baby is 4 1/2 months old and has been drooling and chewing like crazy for the past month. No sign of teeth yet, how long will this last? *tear* Now his sleep is being interrupted. My daughter was a very easy teether, I didn’t even know until I saw the tooth! My poor little boy is much more sensitive I guess. You are so right, it is frustrating!

    1. Chelsea – awesome question with a disappointing answer. It really depends on the baby. Some babies will show the signs of teething for a day or two (or none) and then POP! While other babies like to prolong the misery as long as possible…in those cases, it could be a week or more. Wish I could be more precise, but I’ve learned the moment I say something definitive, some baby out there says “OH YEAH? I’M GOING TO TEETHE FOR 3 WEEKS! SHOWS YOU!”

      If you’ve been suspecting a tooth for 2 weeks and it hasn’t shown up yet, poke around with your finger and a flashlight if you have to, and start looking for other causes, just in case. 🙂

    2. Just an FYI, my baby is 4 months old and has been drooling and gnawing like crazy for over 6 weeks. Pediatrician said that this can go on for MONTHS as the first teeth make their way up. Fun……

    3. LOL – I’m with you Kerry. Teething was bane of my existence with Elena. That and growth spurts. Terrible. Some kids just have to tougher than others. It’s a long haul sometimes…

  56. For me, every teething experience so far went something like this.
    Me: What on Earth is going on with him? He’s so cranky and isn’t sleeping anymore!
    …about a week later…
    Me: Oh! A tooth! Oh yeah, I should have known it was teething *doh!*

    1. Same here, Sophie. Some teethings signs are easily mistaken for example with fever. But who should know? 🙂 It brings smile to our faces every time we think about it.

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