Q: Can you tell me if it’s possible for a 3 month old to already be teething? He drools a lot, and bites down on his hands.
A: The first tooth usually appears at about 6 months, usually one of the central teeth in the lower jaw.??? Some babies get their first teeth by four or five months. It is possible for a baby to begin to teeth at 3 months, but there may be other explanations for your baby’s behavior.
Developmentally at 3 months your baby is becoming interested in what his mouth can do. He laughs, he smiles, he eats, he cries. He can’t quite use his hands yet to reach and to put things to his mouth — he’ll do that at about 4 months.??? But he can drool, and he can have move saliva around his mouth, and he can even do the “Bronx cheer”??? (a silly noise made by fluttering his lips).
Your baby has already found his hands and may like to put them in his mouth. His mouth is the place where he will “check things out” next month when he starts to move objects — rattles, small toys, his bottle, his mother’s finger — to his mouth. He may be putting his hand to his mouth now because he can suck momentarily, or because he wants to explore his hands. He may occasionally put his hand to his mouth when he is hungry.
Babies vary a good deal in how much discomfort they have when they teeth. Some babies are very uncomfortable, and some don’t seem bothered at all. There are a lot of symptoms that are sometimes said to accompany teething — fever, diarrhea, runny nose, etc.??? But because children teeth from early infancy till they get their wisdom teeth at age 18 or 20, it’s likely that many of these “teething symptoms” are just coincidental, and that children have mild illnesses at the same time they are teething. There is no good evidence that teething is associated with fever.
You can check the baby’s lower gum for swelling, which will usually be present before the teeth erupt.??? I don’t recommend “teething medication” to be rubbed on the gums, and I don’t recommend acetaminophen unless the baby is very bothered.??? If your baby is teething, he’ll enjoy biting on a hard rubber teething ring, or on a frozen bagel or other hard food.
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