Extra crankiness, red gums, and chewing everything they can get their hands on. It sounds like your baby might be teething. We all know the classic teething symptoms, but some babies also keep things interesting by developing teething coughs. Read on to find out why.
In this article: 📝
- What causes a teething cough?
- How long does a teething cough last?
- Is my baby teething or sick?
- When should you worry about a baby’s cough?
What causes a teething cough?
Can teething cause congestion and a cough? Yes, it can. The culprit is all the extra drool your baby produces while they’re cutting a new tooth.
In comparison to the biting, the crying, and the broken sleep, drool might seem like a manageable challenge (even if it does mean five new outfits a day). But it’s actually responsible for a lot of the other teething symptoms your baby might be struggling with.
Although it protects their gums and flushes away germs while they’re busy chewing all the things, the extra drool can give babies a teething rash on their lips and chin. It can also cause diarrhea and diaper rash because it messes with the normal acidity of their tummies. And, yep, all that drool is also to blame for the cough that seems to have come from nowhere.
When the drool collects at the back of your baby’s throat, they have to cough to clear it. It’s also the reason that some babies cough in their sleep when they’re (hopefully) lying still.
How long does a teething cough last?
On average, babies start teething around six months, but some wait until they’re a year old. How fast their teeth come in after that is also different for every child. This means that no two families will have the same experience of teething coughs.
Teething coughs usually appear at the height of teething crankiness. It’s common to notice your baby’s new tooth under their gum up to a week before it actually comes through, and you can expect the cough to start taunting you at around the same time. Once the tooth is through, the cough should disappear within a few days. That is until the next pearly white comes along. Sorry.
Is my baby teething or sick?
Babies can sometimes make it hard to tell whether they’re “just” teething or whether there’s something more serious going on. Are they refusing food because their mouths hurt, or because they feel sick? Is that a rash on their cheeks, or are they just red because of the tooth? Some parents also report that their teething babies briefly run a low-grade teething fever just before the tooth appears. All this to say, it’s easy to second guess yourself.
If there’s one small blessing, it’s that it’s unusual to see a runny nose with teething. Snot and sneezing almost always mean a cold or, if the snot is clear, allergies.
When should you worry about a baby’s cough?
Even when it comes to the cough itself, there are big differences between a teething cough and a more serious illness. First, listen to the sound of the cough. If it sounds like a seal barking, it might be a symptom of croup.
If your baby takes noisy, “whooping” breaths during a coughing fit, they should be checked for pertussis (whooping cough). And if their chest is wheezy, crackly, or otherwise very congested, it might be bronchitis or a chest infection like bronchiolitis. All of these conditions would merit a visit to the pediatrician’s office.
A high fever (over 102) that won’t break or any fever in a child under three months is an emergency. Difficulty breathing (symptoms like bluish lips or their tummy sucking up and under their ribs on the in-breath), rashes that don’t fade when they’re pressed, or becoming difficult to wake, also require immediate medical attention.
More on baby teething:
When Do Babies Start Teething?
What is a Baby Teeth Chart and How Does it Work?
How Long Does Teething Last?
12 Easy Baby Teething Remedies
Can Teething Cause Vomiting?
How To Soothe A Teething Baby At Night
A Quick Guide to Teething Poop & Diarrhea