Along with the joy and wonder of bringing a baby into the world, comes a seemingly endless series of milestones and developmental phases. One of the first of these is teething.
This is a perfectly natural process where the baby's teeth begin to emerge from their gums. This can cause discomfort and soreness before the teeth eventually settle into their correct positions and become less problematic.
When Does Teething Begin?
Teething typically begins between four and seven months of age, although some babies can start as early as three months or as late as even twelve months. The first to ‘erupt’ are usually the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors and then, gradually, the rest of the teeth.
As babies go through the teething process, they may exhibit various signs and symptoms. Parents need to recognise these symptoms and provide appropriate support and comfort. Common signs of teething include:
- Teething stimulates saliva production, leading to excessive drooling.
- Discomfort from teething can make babies more irritable and fussy than usual.
- The gums may appear swollen and become tender due to the pressure of emerging teeth.
- Babies often seek relief by gnawing on objects or putting their fingers in their mouths.
- Teething can disrupt sleep patterns and cause temporary changes in appetite.
All these symptoms are perfectly natural and nothing to worry about. The good news is that with things like fussiness and tender gums, teething toys can help considerably.
How Teething Toys Help
Teething toys offer a safe and appropriate object for babies to chew on, relieving the pressure and discomfort associated with teething. The gentle pressure applied by the toy can soothe sore gums and provide a sense of relief.
In addition, they also encourage sensory exploration. The toys come in different textures, shapes, and colours, which all play a role in cognitive and motor development. Babies grasp, manipulate, and explore their toys while chewing on them, enhancing important things like hand-eye coordination.
Types of Teething Toys
Like most things to do with babies, there are lots of different choices nowadays when it comes to teething toys. Having a selection is a good idea before your child reaches the moment when their teeth start to push through so you are well prepared:
Silicone Teething Rings
Silicone teething rings are a popular choice among parents as they are made from a flexible material, which provides a soothing and gentle surface for babies to chew on. These rings are often designed with textures, such as bumps or ridges, to help massage the gums effectively.
Babies love a blanket and these combine the comforting aspects of a soft cover with teething-friendly features. They usually have attached rings and teethers that allow babies to chew whenever they need to.
Natural rubber teethers are classics that have been used for generations and they come in various shapes. If you are looking for something that is eco-friendly but also perfect for teething babies, then this should be top of your list.
Refrigerated Teething Toys
Finally, these teething toys are designed to be chilled in the refrigerator before use and can provide a great deal of comfort when teething is at its height. The colder temperature provides an additional numbing effect to soothe sore gums. These toys are generally made silicone, filled with water or gel and all you need to do is pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours.