Watching your baby grow is among the most exciting times of parenthood, and teething is one of the most critical milestones in your baby’s life. Teething means that soon you will stop feeding your baby only milk and graduate to various new foods. However, this exciting time for parents can be daunting for the baby. Just like adults, babies are different, so they experience different teething symptoms. Some might not experience any symptoms at all but the most common symptoms include loss of appetite and irritability. A number of parents have claimed that their baby has been vomiting as a result of teething, but can teething cause vomiting?
While many parents believe it is normal for babies to vomit while teething, no scientific research supports that claim. Researchers and experts have found that soreness and pain may occur, but teething does not directly cause vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, and ear infections. It is advisable to visit your paediatrician or doctor if your baby is experiencing vomiting or any other serious symptoms, so that they can determine the cause of the symptoms.
When does teething start?
Teething happens when your baby starts to develop its first set of teeth. Their first teeth begin to break through the gums at around six months. Children are all born with 20 primary teeth below their gums. When they start teething, the bottom teeth come up first, then the top center teeth. The American Dental Association states that the teething process takes two years. By your baby’s third birthday, they should have all 20 primary teeth.
Because the teething process happens over time, parents blame teething for many symptoms.
However, more often than not, those symptoms are usually caused by an underlying condition or disease, such as an infection. Parents need to understand which symptoms of teething are typical and which are not. Usually, when babies start teething, they experience symptoms like:
- Crying more than they usually do
- Chewing on things to relieve itchiness
- Finding it difficult to fall asleep
- Drooling more
- Becoming noticeably fussy
- Losing their appetite and refusing to eat anything
- Gums becoming sore, tender, and swollen
- Body temperature might increase slightly, but it should not go over 101°F
It is understandable for parents to be very concerned when their baby cries more often than normal. They tend to look for explanations for their baby’s sudden behaviour change and symptoms. The American Academy of Paediatrics shows that teething symptoms peak between 6 to 16 months when the front teeth appear. As the baby gets older and grows more teeth, the symptoms become fewer and more mild. However, some symptoms are not directly related to teething, such as:
- Diarrhoea or an increased amount of bowel movements
- High fever
- Loss of appetite for liquids
- Disturbed sleep
Why might your baby vomit during teething?
The teething process occurs during an extensive part of the baby’s life. During this time, the baby is exposed to many things. As a result of this, teething is often blamed for many symptoms, including vomiting, which sometimes occurs during this period. Even though parents often blame teething for the baby’s vomiting, research has shown that the two are not related. Many research reports agree that teething can be pretty uncomfortable for babies, but is not likely to make them vomit. When parents and doctors assume that vomiting is caused by teething, they often overlook the underlying cause of the illness.
When your baby is teething, they are exposed to many other childhood illnesses. The passive immunity transferred to the baby in the womb begins to decline at this time. Due to this dwindling immunity, it is possible that vomiting during this time is a result of a bacterial or viral infection. Several illnesses can cause your baby to vomit, including:
- Flu or cold
- A stomach infection
- Infection in the ear
- Urine infection
Because this is also the time that weaning starts, it’s possible that your baby might have a food allergy that can cause vomiting. Your paediatrician can diagnose food allergies in the baby, so you can avoid feeding them food that makes them sick. Even though vomiting is usually not a severe symptom and passes with time, you can help your baby recover by:
- Giving them lots of water
- Letting them rest
- Waiting at least 12 hours after they last vomited to resume their regular diet.
If your baby vomits for more than 12 hours, you should take them to the doctor. Furthermore, it’s wise to take the child to the hospital if other symptoms accompany the vomiting, including fever, a rash and shortness of breath.
How to manage teething symptoms
Teething symptoms can be easily managed at home using simple remedies, including:
Try gently rubbing the gums using clean fingers or a wet gauze pad. You can also buy your baby a teething ring to chew on, which will help with the pain and discomfort.
If your baby is already eating hard foods, you can give them chilled pieces of fruits and vegetables to chew on. Monitor them carefully, so they don’t choke on small pieces of the food.
Drying off their drool
Drying off their drool: Take a clean cloth and gently dry off excess saliva from their mouth and chin area because it can cause skin irritation.
Refrain from giving the baby pain medication to suppress the situation. Moreover you have to be careful not to provide the baby with drugs containing lidocaine, benzocaine, and belladonna, as they harm the child when swallowed.
The FDA warns parents against using any drugs, herbs, or medications to treat teething because of the potential side effects they may have on babies.
When you should see a doctor?
Usually, teething symptoms are easily treated and managed at home using simple home remedies. However, if your baby develops an exceptionally high fever or vomits for more than 12 hours, you should seek medical attention immediately. It is also advisable to visit the doctor if your baby is experiencing any of the above symptoms that are not attributed to teething, as they may be developing a sickness.