Whether your baby is an early teether or a late teether, one thing is certain - at some point in his first year your baby will be the proud owner of some pearly white teeth. Your baby was born with his full set of 20 baby teeth in his gums
The first teeth to appear in your baby's mouth will most likely be the two bottom front teeth. These teeth are then followed by the 2 upper front teeth. The remainder of your baby's teeth will then appear, usually in pairs, on each side of the jaw, until your child is about 2 years old.
Once your baby's first teeth appear it's important to start caring for them immediately by using a soft cloth to wipe them clean at night or use a junior toothbrush and water and gently clean using a circular motion. Toothpaste isn't necessary until he's about eighteen months old.
Signs of teething
Sometimes teeth pop up unexpectedly and you find yourself celebrating that first glimpse of white with little or no warning of its impending arrival. But most parents will be on 'tooth watch' for weeks or even months before their baby's first pearly white puts in an appearance.
Along with excessive irritability, other signs of teething include high colour on your baby's cheeks, a red, swollen spot on his gum, excessive dribbling, and gnawing on anything that fits in his mouth.
Our best tips for teething
It seems that the earlier your baby teeths, the more discomfort he'll experience. Perhaps it's because he can't do anything to help himself cope with the pain, or perhaps it's because older babies can be distracted from their sore mouths more successfully. Whatever the reason, a teething child needs cuddling and patience. Even if you don't realise until after the fact that the cause of his unhappiness was a tooth!
Try using teething rings - there are some that are gel-filled and can be kept in the freezer for extra cool relief - and teething gels can be purchased from the chemist. Some babies hate the taste of the gels but they do have a numbing effect that can calm a fretting baby.
Older babies can also get relief from teething rusks and other hard, chewable toys. But almost all babies, no matter what age, will find the best relief from gnawing on a finger (yours) or a fist (theirs).
Find more about your baby’s week by week development
This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz