Somewhere around your baby’s six-month birthday, she may begin cutting teeth. But, like many milestones there is a wide range of normal when it comes to teething. So don’t be surprised if your baby’s first tooth shows up when she is two months old (like my youngest), or if she is still toothless at twelve months old (like my oldest).

It's exciting as parents to mark the arrival of baby's first tooth, but sadly, your baby may be less than happy about this new development. As teeth push and erupt through the gums, baby will experience drooling, swelling, and pain in his gums. He may be abnormally cranky and have trouble sleeping and eating for a few days. He may also spit up or develop mild diarrhea or a rash from all of that drool.  Other teething symptoms to watch fo...mild fever, congestion, and ear pulling.  

The good news is that teething is perfectly normal and your baby will emerge with his new set of choppers before you know it.  In the meantime, the best thing that you can do to help him get through it is to find ways to minimize the pain and irritation.  Some parents swear by over-the counter oral analgesics to ease the pain of teething. However the relief from these products only lasts for a few minutes and many carry a small risk of allergic reaction and decreased gag reflex.  Instead, try the following natural teething remedies to ease the pain and swelling associated with teething:

Gum massage
Irritated, swollen gums are often soothed by gentle massage. Using one clean finger, slowly massage your baby’s gums with gentle but firm pressure until the pain subsides.

Greener teethers
Watch out for teethers made from toxic plastics. Opt for teethers made from natural fibers, such as organic cotton, that can be washed and used over and over again. Cool the teether in the refrigerator for extra numbing relief.  A cold banana or bagel may also make a good teether in pinch, but keep a close eye on your baby to make sure that she doesn’t bite off a piece that is too large for her to swallow. Cold spoons and organic cotton washcloths are also great teethers.