Parent Time

Infant Teething Timeline and
Baby Development Schedule Related to Cutting Teeth

About the time many parents have gotten their babies to sleep through (most) the night, baby's timeline moves right on into teething.

Infant development experts say that teething usually starts when your baby is around four months old, and continues until he or she is about two years old, at which time you get a reprieve until about five years old when the baby teeth start being replaced by grown-up teeth. Some babies teeth early—around three months old, and some teeth later, granting exhausted parents a few extra nights of well-earned sleep which they may spend worrying about the fact that the baby has yet to teeth when everyone else at Mommy and Me has already gained the admirable but odd-looking lower central incisors that make baby grins look hilarious to people who don't have children.

Premature babies may teeth later—count it as a blessing. Some babies don't develop their first teeth until 7 months or more, and a few may even be a year old before showing a single tooth. Like many things about babies, you can't schedule progress on someone else's age chart: your baby will develop teeth when he or she is ready—and whether you're ready or not.

When babies start teething, the order of the process generally proceeds along in fairly predictable stages. First come the two lower middle teeth; next, the four upper middle teeth arrive, and after that come incisors, the furthest forward molars and finally the back molars. The first teeth may be the easiest for many babies because the teeth are sharp and thin, so they make it through the gum tissue with less trouble than the broad molars do.

An infant who's cutting teeth can be one miserable companion, but some babies hardly seem to notice the change. Because the tooth is breaking down and cutting through the gum, it's normal for babies to experience throbbing pain, swelling and the urge to bite. Biting might be ascribed to crankiness, which is also a symptom associated with teething, but in fact, putting pressure on sore gums from the outside equalizes the pressure exerted by the rising tooth and numbs the pain—until the outside pressure stops.

It's a well-known fact that, once a baby reaches teething age, everything goes into the mouth. For nursing mothers, it can be a frustration when the child you've been waking yourself every two hours to feed suddenly bites you hard, but try not to take it personally. Do stop your baby and so, "no biting!" in your "I mean it" voice. (If you don't have your "I mean it" voice in place yet, here's where you develop it). Don't worry: you won't traumatize your child and you may be able to get the message across and continue to breastfeed in an atmosphere of mutual respect and (guarded) trust. Some babies won't stop biting when nursing, in which case, moms usually decide to wean their children. This is one of the first times you will have to decide whether you're going to be an assertive parent who manages to meet the needs of her baby while maintaining her own need not to be injured, or a resentful martyr who bears unnecessary bruises and whose child will go on to bite babysitters, grandparents and even pets in her quest for something firm to chew on.

Baby Teething Articles and Infant Information

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