Somewhere between four and seven months, you’ll notice something hard and white sticking out of your baby’s gums (although if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll probably feel it first – ouch!) Over the next two years, your baby’s smile will sprout 19 more choppers – a total of 20 teeth by the time she’s three. Teeth like to arrive in pairs: the first two generally show up in the front bottom gum and are called central incisors. A month or two later, four upper teeth will emerge (two central and lateral incisors). To complete the set, two lower lateral incisors show up, followed by four molars, four canines, and then a second set of upper and lower molars.
Thanks to her new teeth, your baby can move on from puréed food to more interesting edibles, such as rusks and carrot sticks. Having said that, there’s nothing like teething to put a baby off food – having a hard enamel tooth push through the sensitive gum tissue can be sore. In order to allow the emerging tooth to pass through the gum, the saliva becomes more acidic, so your baby might develop a red rash around her mouth and her gums may also be itchy and red. She’ll be desperate to bite on anything and everything she sees. The best teething ring in the world is a clean finger, but a cold spoon, a chilled carrot (stay with her in case she bites off a bit and chokes) or a wet flannel can also provide relief.
While for some babies teething can bring on a mild fever and diarrhoea (probably due to the acidic saliva), a temperature over 38°C, blood or mucus in the stools, or severe diarrhoea that persists for more than 24 hours is probably due to a virus, so make an appointment to see your GP.