The Debut of Teeth

When your baby is between 3 and 6 months old, you may notice that she is doing a fair amount of drooling. This does not necessarily mean that the appearance of her first teeth is imminent. The ongoing flow of saliva serves partly to protect the mouth from being traumatized by the various objects, including her feet, that your baby will stick in her mouth. Antibodies in saliva may also help prevent bacteria and viruses on those objects from gaining a foothold in her throat or intestinal tract.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of six months, the first two lower front teeth, called the central incisors, will poke through the gums. (However, don't worry if you don't see any teeth for the first year. After that, if none have appeared, check with your baby's doctor.) The central incisors will be followed sometime later by the four upper incisors and then by two more lower incisors. Your baby may ease through this or display a lot of fussiness. She may drool somewhat more than usual and may also try to gum the nearest firm object. Contrary to popular belief, teething does not generate a temperature over 100.4F taken rectally. If your baby has a fever, something else is wrong.

Rubbing your finger against the gum through which the tooth is erupting may help the pain, or she may prefer a teething ring — which should not come from the freezer because it will be too hard.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) can help, but topical preparations that are supposed to numb the gums don't usually provide impressive relief because they can't remain in place for long.

Background Information

Journey of No Return
Sometimes as parents, we have a knee-jerk response to our kids as we're barraged by their numerous inquires and desires. Maybe it's time to stop being so negative.

When Not To Discipline
Parents should recognize when they should and shouldn't discipline their children.

When You Feel Like Calling in the SWAT Team
Are your children constantly testing you? This classic parenting advice will help you regain the upper hand.

Questions and Answers

After I spank my child, she usually wants to hug me and make up, but I continue to be cool to her for a few hours. Do you think that is right?

We'd like to be more unified in our approach, but how do we successfully move from two financial approaches to one?

How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being punished? Is there a limit?

I have never spanked my 3-year-old because I am afraid it will teach her to hit others and be a violent person. Do you think I am wrong?

It just seems barbaric to cause pain to a defenseless child. Is it healthy to spank him or her?

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