In the midst of teething for my second little one and a nice summer cold I am quickly reminded how similar the symptoms can be. Let’s face it, both suck. It is horrible to feel helpless when your little one is suffering, but determining whether you are dealing with teething or a cold can help you better address the symptoms and help baby feel better quicker!
PSA: I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be. If your baby’s symptoms or condition is ever alarming or raising your “mommy red flags” call your pediatrician. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
Here’s the problem: both teething and a cold have pretty similar symptoms. It is not uncommon to see any or all the following with both a cold and teething.
- Trouble sleeping
- Decreased appetite
- Puling on ears
- Stuffy/runny nose
- Difficulty nursing or taking a bottle
In my house, I also just described an average Thursday.. I kid, but seriously some of these symptoms are so common in babies that they barely even register on my concern list. The trick here is to keep an eye out for more than one of these. When baby is showing a few of these symptoms that is a pretty clear indicator that something is going on.
What’s the Difference?
There are a few key differences to keep an eye out for, but do keep in mind that every baby is different plus every cold is different so your little one may or may not exhibit all the symptoms and they may still have a cold. So what should you look for? GREEN OR YELLOW MUCUS. Mmm so lovely, right? Anytime you start getting color in the boogers you are likely dealing with some level of infection which means your little one is likely suffering from a cold and not snot filled because of teeth. Along with that you would like see more congestion (though I have seen some babies who are snot fountains from teething) which will cause coughing, sneezing and possibly even some wheezing. All of this means a cold versus teething.
There are a few signs that would also indicate teething versus a cold. Generally babies will not get swollen gums from a cold. You will eventually start seeing little white tooth buds along the gum line and then a tooth with teething, obviously, and this would not happen simply from a cold. Drooling is also a symptom that tends to be exclusive to teething (but I do not rule it out for a cold).
Focusing on these differences should make it easier to determine if your little one is suffering from teething or a cold a lot easier. Remember not every baby will get all the symptoms but relying solely on the symptoms that babies can develop from both teething and a cold is not going to get you very far in providing relief.
When to Call the Doc?
As I stated in the intro: listen to your instincts. If that red flag is raised just give a call. In general, there is not much to be done for a cold, mostly just riding it out. Your pediatrician can give you medicine recommendations to help manage symptoms but there is no cure for the cold. And same goes for teething. I would definitely go in to the pediatrician if you suspect that your little one may have more than a cold. Neither a cold nor teething would result in a high fever (anything over 100-101). If your baby develops a high fever you are no longer dealing with a cold nor teething. I would also recommend calling the doc if your baby seems to be struggling to breathe, not eating at all or not sleeping at all. These could be the result of teething, a cold or something more severe but those issues need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Both colds and teething suck. What sucks even more is having a cold while your baby is teething… ding ding ding, welcome to my summer vacation. But at least I can say definitively that baby girl is just struggling from teething. Tooth #4 and counting! If you have determined your little one is suffering from teething check out some of my natural remedy recommendations here. Comment below if you have any questions about teething and/or a cold and I will do my best to help answer them!