18 answers

Teething, Hunger, WHATS the DEAL?

I cannot figure out what is wrong with my son! He is just over 5 months and I can't figure out if he is hungry (needs to start rice cereal) or if he is teething or something else???

He has been fussier than normal and waking up at night (not normal). He doesn't want anything to do with his pacifier (which he normally loves). I have felt his gums and can't feel any teeth coming in.

This has been happening for a few days. He also has a runny nose & a tiny once and a while cough.

I haven't been sleeping at night & the only thing that calms him down is nursing or tylenol. I hate medicating especially when I don't know if its necessary. I don't truly know what is going on. I am loosing sleep and my mind.

Any suggestions?????

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

it sound like he might be teething I work at a day care with infants, they do teeth and cry and have runny noses a little while before teeth actually come in, there is a cold and flu out there that some of my infants are getting. If it doesn't get any better, you might want to see the Dr.

Sounds like he might have alittle cold...If it continues he might want to see a doctor....My son had somthing like that..he ended up having an ear infection.

More Answers


It is possible that he is not getting enough food. Yes! I say put about 2 scoops of Rice Cerel in his milk or even feed it to him by spoon.However, you may want to consult his care giver first. Also, he may be fussy because of the slight cough and runny nose. My daughter is 4 months and I am still breastfeeding her. However she was not getting enough to eat. Therefore, I would put a few scoops in her milk. Only in the morning and when she goes to bed. She sleeps so good. Reason being, she is full. She has been teething since she was 2 1/2 months old. So, that could be the cause fusiness. Try teething rings. I also give her crushed ice real crushed or shaved ice. All it is, is water frozen of course, she loves it. I hope all goes well.


It sounds a lot like your son is teething. It is not uncommon for children of his age to have the symptoms of teething without the teeth erupting for a few months later. Runny nose, waking up at night, crying, and the big indicator (drooling) are all signs of teething. Massaging your child's gums with a cool washcloth can help. Since your child is about the age that food is introduced (4-6 months), you can start with rice cereal. If he's just hungry, the rice cereal should fill him up during the day. If he's still cranky even after you have started him on the cereal, he's probably teething. You can give him the recommended dose of Tylenol that your health care provider tells you to measure for your child's weight and age; this should help with pain at night. During the day, many parents give their children teething bisquits or bagels to gum; they aren't really eating the bagels just gumming them to help them deal with the pain. I found the cool washcloth massage worked well. Good luck!


Sounds like he might have alittle cold...If it continues he might want to see a doctor....My son had somthing like that..he ended up having an ear infection.

Hi T.! I went through this with my now 3 year old son. I think, from your description, that he is teething. Babies usually have more pain while the teeth or trying to break through the gums than when they are actually visible. With my son, once the teeth actually came in to where I could see and feel them, he was fine and not in any pain. Because I didn't want to highly medicate him either, I used teething tablets instead. They are very,very, small pills that you just place in his mouth and they will disolve right away. They are not medicated in any way and are safe. In fact, the pediatrition told me I could give him as many as I wanted and it wouldn't harm him at all. But, usually about 3-5 of the tablets at a given time worked for him. I believe they are made mostly of sugar. I know that sounds bad, but the pills won't make him hiper or anything and are made specifically for babies who are in pain from teething. They worked like a charm for both of my younger kids. You can get them at most any pharmacy...even Walmart. I would suggest asking the pharmacy where they are though because they are very small bottles and may be hard to find. I hope your son starts feeling better; and you get some sleep too. I know the feeling. Good luck!

R. W :-)

Hi T.--

I would definately say that your son is teething. My son is almost 1, and has 4 teeth. His 2 bottom ones came in at the same time as did his 2 top ones, and each time they were getting ready to come through the gums he would get just like you are describing with your son: not sleeping through the night when he usually did, not wanting to suck on anything because it hurt his gums, and a little bit of a runny nose/cold-like symptoms. He would have all those things going on for a few weeks before we could even barely see a tooth bud inside his gums, so it's not surprising that you can't see or feel any teeth yet. Especially if Tylenol calms him down, I would say that he's working on some teeth. I was hesitant to medicate as well, but both my dr. and sister (who's an RN) said that as long as you are not overdosing, the Tylenol is perfectly safe and fine to give if he needs it. And if it works, go for it!:) I hope that helps; good luck to you and your little man!

J. D.

I agree with all the posters :)It sounds like teething or maybe an ear infection( i think more teething than the ear infection). Even though alot of people say that they shouldnt get fevers or a runny nose while teething all 3 of my kids did. My son is currently going through all the same thing your son is..but he is 8 months old and eats ALOT so I know he isnt hungry. I have been thinking about calling his Ped. because he keeps playing with his ear, he doesnt seem uncomfortable, just alittle extra fussy. I figure it cant hurt anyone to go to the Dr. if you are unsure. I think he is just teething though, but I would hate for it to get worse and I would have one of those "BAD MOMMY" feelings. Call your Dr. and see what he says. It cant hurt. I hope it gets better soon.

The teething pills are more than likely homeopathic. I use them for my 2 year old. They are mostly made of camomile which is very calming. Check health food store for pills for ear infections also. I was also concerned with over medicating and the homeopathic way made me much more comfortable. I was concerned about her becoming immuned from antibiotics. I friend who practices homiopathy says that this could be true. Also a pediatrian told me that a lot of ear infections clear on their own. My daughter never had severe pain so it was difficult for me to guess that was her problem. But the pills calm and sooth her so that is what was most important to me.

when my son was teething (he got his first tooth at 7 mths)he was fussy, waking up in the night because of the pain and didnt want to eat. The runny nose was the key sign because I kept taking him in to the doctor for it thinking he was sick. Now he has most of his teeth and when I look back for everyone he had the runny nose. When his first molers came in he actually threw up a couple of times because of the drainage from his runny nose. They seem to go thru spurts of the teething with out a tooth and then one day they wake up and it had cut thru. Best thing were the teething tablets. Good luck

I've got to agree that it sounds like teething, but since its been going on for a few days and you're both miserable, it's probably time to see your doctor! Good luck!

it sound like he might be teething I work at a day care with infants, they do teeth and cry and have runny noses a little while before teeth actually come in, there is a cold and flu out there that some of my infants are getting. If it doesn't get any better, you might want to see the Dr.

Ok, talk with the doc and see if it is an ear infection. My oldest started to act strange, and I had no idea what it was. But, apparrently, ear infections run in the family. I found that out the hard way. And, if it is an ear infection, they will give you antibiotics and it will go away!

Teething is not SUPPOSED to cause feavor or coughing. The runny nose is a maybe from what I've read. I say supposed, because some people swear their kids get cold symptoms when they teethe. Go to the doc is my suggestion.

I just had a similar experience with my 4 month old. I found that the air conditioner being on all the time was causing her a little bit of build up in the nose. She didn't sound sick or anything, but wasn't taking her pacifier because she couldn't breathe really well through her nose. I got some nose spray, just regular saline solution and put a squirt up each nostril and then used the bulb suctioner to get the gunk out. You'd be surprised what's in there!!! Then got a humidifier to put in her room at night. The difference in just one day was awesome. Just a thought, but worth a try. Good luck and hopw your little guy feels better.

Also, started my daughter on rice cereal and stage 1 veggies at 4 months. Maybe he just needs hartier foods.???

Good luck, J.


It does sound like your baby is teething. My son started teething that age and he would wake up at night, which was unusual. Also, when my son had a lot of drainage sometimes that would lead to an ear infection. If the runny nose lasts for a week or more, see the doctor. Chances are it's an ear infection. Hope this helps. Also, you could put vicks on his chest at night to help clear up the mucus.

I would do rice cereal- and if he is drooling alot he is teething- minse started at 3 months.
try letting him gum on a frozen otter pop- not a open one if your not comfy with the sugar yet. it will help alot - it did with my daughter

For your peace of mind, I'd highly recommend that you see your pediatrician. Neither of my babies had the classic ear infection symptoms (fever, increased fussiness, pulling at the ear, cold, waking often at night). Every time I was sure they had an ear infection, it was a cold or teething. Each time I was sure it was not an ear infection (no fever or waking at night), they had one. There's really no way to tell until the doc looks at the ears.

Once you've ruled out the ear infection, he/she can give you guidance on teething solutions & feeding plans.

Based on your info, any & all of these can be factors. Isn't this fun :)

Good luck,

I would make him an appointment to make sure he is not sick, then you could probably assume its the teeth.

Is it possible that he may have an ear infection? With the runny nose, slight cough, fussiness and nighttime wakings, it may be a possiblity. The same thing happened with my daughter, and she ended up having an ear infection. You may want to have it checked out.

Babies begin the teething process way before you see any teeth and the first teeth to cut always take the longest. However your pediatrician can give you the best insight and rule out any ear infections or what not.

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