Embracing Baby Teeth Through the Grumpiness

I can remember many of my children’s teeth. It would be one thing if teeth grew in by suddenly appearing one day with no other symptoms. But, alas, most kids don’t grow teeth that way. I think of my 5 kids, only 1 ever got teeth without complaint.

When Does It Start?

One of my kids got a first tooth at only 4 1/2 months! The others were 6 months old. I started noticing lots of drool, grumpiness, and swollen gums anywhere from 2 weeks to a few days before the tooth actually came through.

What to Give for Pain Relief

My go-to medicine is ibuprofen! If all the signs of teething are there and the child gets really grumpy, I might give a dose around bedtime. During the day, I try to keep the child happy with cuddling, books, cold things to chew on, or other distractions.

When Do Teeth Stop Hurting?

Though children will grow new teeth for years to come, I think there’s significant improvement after 1 year. It probably helps that I’m not breastfeeding at that point, so I’m no longer the direct source of comfort for a teething child.


Dealing With Biting During Breastfeeding

Since my kids had 6-8 teeth by a year old, I dealt with my fair share of biting. A few tips I have to minimize it:

  1. Accept that it’s going to happen a few times, and it hurts, but it’s not your fault or your baby’s fault (at first).
  2. When you get bitten, immediately remove the baby and stop feeding. (I usually say “no!” very firmly, but I don’t think young babies really understand it yet.)
  3. Always check the baby’s mouth for other food or objects before he/she latches on. I got bitten a few times for this reason alone.

The baby is more likely to bite with the first tooth or two, but if you stop feeding him/her, the message will sink in most of the time. I did have one child who continued to bite me just for the fun of it, but I persisted in teaching her not to. It did finally sink in!


Babies and their first teeth can be really tough, but the grumpiness is temporary! For the most part, I find teething to be easier than any illness. Remember that teeth mean your baby is growing up, and we all know how hard that can be sometimes. On the bright side, it means solid foods soon, which means more independence for both mom and baby – a wonderful thing to look forward to after the haze of sleepless nights and constant newborn feedings.

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