Signs of Teething

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 29, 2022

Month 5, Week 1


Though you're probably loving your baby's toothless grin, that first tooth can appear anytime between now and after their first birthday.

Here's how to recognize and alleviate the discomfort of teething:

  • Drooling begins months before teeth appear, so don't expect instant results.
  • Don't use pain-relieving medication containing benzocaine on baby's gums. The FDA warns it can be dangerous. Benzocaine can be found in over-the-counter medications. Instead, treat the discomfort with Tylenol or Motrin if baby is older than 6 months.
  • Though some teething babies develop mild fevers, a temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit may indicate something else. Ask your pediatrician.
  • Solid rubber teething rings are safer than liquid-filled ones. To offer cool relief, place in the fridge; frozen teethers can cause injuries. (If you're concerned about the plastic chemical BPA, read labels carefully). You could also try wetting the corner of a washcloth and placing it in the freezer. Allow baby to chew on it. Stay away from frozen waffles or bagels, which are choking hazards.
  • Don't stop breastfeeding when your baby's teeth come in; babies can't bite while suckling. If your baby nips your breast when finished, discourage future incidents by firmly saying “no” and taking away the breast.
  • After your baby has teeth, clean them regularly with a washcloth or baby toothbrush. Use a smear of toothpaste until baby is age 3, then use a pea-size amount.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Half of all five-month-olds regularly sleep eight hours, so there's a good chance that you and your baby are (finally!) sleeping through the night.

If you're not quite there yet, remember:

  • Although it may not feel like it to you, infants who sleep five consecutive hours (midnight to 5 a.m.) are considered to be sleeping through the night.
  • If your baby cries after three hours of sleep, it's probably just a brief wake-up during their normal sleep cycle. They should be able to fall back asleep without feeding or help from Mom or Dad.
  • Babies who are put in their cribs while drowsy but awake are better equipped to fall back asleep without help from Mom or Dad when they wake up in the middle of the night.

Month 5, Week 1 Tips

  • Read to your baby every day. It's a wonderful way to spend time together. You don't have to read every word in the book. Make up stories and point to the characters to keep baby interested.
  • Babies are drawn to human faces and the varied expressions we make. Have fun together by playing peek-a-boo, smiling, frowning, laughing and making funny faces.
  • If you need to leave your baby with a relative or close friend, stay and play for a while the first few times, so your baby will feel more comfortable with the babysitter.
  • Don't try to be a perfect parent; there's no such thing. Create your own parenting style, trust your judgment, be fair and consistent, and your baby will be fine.
  • You're much more than a parent. So nurture your own interests, hobbies, and adult relationships. Depending on your baby for your fulfillment isn't healthy for either of you.
  • A digital thermometer (used rectally) is cheaper than electronic ear thermometers, more accurate than plastic strip thermometers, and safer than glass mercury-filled thermometers. Temporal artery thermometers are also a good option and considered very accurate (although they are a bit pricey)
  • It is good to start routines at an early age. It helps your baby feel more secure -- and help you, as well. Have consistent nap times, feeding times, bath times, and playtimes for a happy baby!

Show Sources


American Academy of Pediatrics: "Healthy Children: Infant Sleep Patterns Throughout the First Year."

Henderson, J. Pediatrics, Nov. 1, 2010.

Ferber, R. Pediatrics in Review, 1987. 

Anders, F. Pediatrics, Oct. 1, 1992.

About Kids Health: "Teething."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Teething: 4 to 7 Months."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "When Your Baby Gets Teeth."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "How Do Infants Learn?"

American Academy of Pediatrics: "A 'Perfect' Parent."

FDA: Benzocaine and Babies Don’t Mix.

Kids Health from Nemours: "Fever and Taking Your Child's Temperature."

News release, FDA.

WebMD: "Baby's First Year."

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