Teething is another milestone in your baby’s life; it can start at six months right up to the age of two years old. In some cases, teething can even begin around 12 weeks of age, however this can be rare. When the first tooth is on its way, you will notice several different symptoms e.g.
- Baby loses interest in their food.
- Awake during the middle of the night.
- Big red rosy cheeks
- Dribbling and hands continuously in their mouth
- Temperature increases
- Their stools may change / diarrhea
- Nappy rash
- A little restless and irritable and just not their happy selves
If your baby goes off their food, they may be teething. You may have to increase their milk during the day; so baby does not wake up during the middle of the night hungry. They also may have gone from eating their solids well to wanting to eat only purees as their gums are sore and sensitive. I find if you can pacify the gums and teeth during the day with toys, food and teething gels it helps a lot.
Safe Baby Teething Remedies
All you need is a clean finger for this old-fashioned teething remedy. Gentle counter-pressure from Mom or Dad applied to a baby’s sore gums can help ease the pain of teething. Baby tooth brushes with little curves on them; both “Nuk ©” and “Mam©” make these brushes. As soon as your baby cuts the first tooth and it is noticeable in their mouth, start brushing their teeth twice a day with baby toothpaste and water. Look after your baby’s milk teeth as they are important for things like speech development, chewing food, and their permanent teeth.
Cold Spoon or Silver teething ring
A spoon chilled in the fridge (not the freezer, or it can stick!) can offer much-needed relief. Just apply the rounded part of the spoon to baby’s gums. Best before any teeth actually break through to avoid the risk of chipping a tooth. Also silver teething rings can provide relief, again silver stays cold and it will help give comfort to those gums. Simply wash in warm soapy water after each use.
Frozen or merely chilled, a cold wet washcloth (dipped in water, breast milk, or—as some mom’s swear by—chamomile tea) can be comforting for baby to gnaw on.
If your baby has already started solids, try offering him a cold food like applesauce or yogurt to help soothe gum pain and fill him up. Use a ‘Munchkin’© food feeder, as these are great for teething or when you are getting ready to introduce finger food. Try putting fruit like frozen pineapple, watermelon or banana as they are lovely and cool and will ease the pain in the gums. Other chilled fruit, like apple slices or banana, will also provide relief (and a tasty snack) for a baby with sore gums. Chilled raw vegetables like cucumber can be successful too. Always make sure your fruit is ripe and never leave child unattended with food.
Every baby teethes in her own way. While sucking may aggravate teething pain for some babies (sometimes leading to a nursing strike!) others may want to nurse more often for the sheer comfort of it. Is your baby using mama’s nipples as a teething toy? Teething does not need to mean the end of breastfeeding; if your baby seems tempted to bite during nursing, try rubbing a clean finger over her gums before beginning and ending the session once she seems full, but not yet bored.
Plush Teething Toy
A soft plush toy from an organic brand like ‘Under the Nile’© is a safe option for baby to chew on when teething is a pain. We love their fruits and veggies line, like the striped bananas, as well as their plush ring toys and “blanket friend” toys because they’re both super soft and machine washable.
Over The Counter Pain Reliever
Be sure to ask your G.P. first (especially for early tether’s, as doctor’s approval should be given for acetaminophen in babies less than 3 months of age and ibuprofen in babies less than 6 months of age), but some parents find that a dose of infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen can work wonders, especially during a tough middle-of-the-night screaming episode. Make sure to read the product labeling fully, especially in light of changes to the formulation of over the counter versions of acetaminophen for infants.
Teething Jewelry for Moms
Moms of teething babes know that their little ones will grab just about anything within reach and start chomping. Fortunately, specially designed teething jewelry like Teething Bling from Smart Mom Jewelry is made to be gummed by little mouths. Made from silicone that is free of phthalates, BPA, PVC, latex, and lead, it is non-toxic and dishwasher-safe and made from the same material as many teething toys, but way prettier hanging around your neck or wrist. Available in a rainbow of colors.
Baby Oral Gel Naturals
Free of benzocaine, alcohol, and dyes, Baby Oral Gel Naturals is an alternative to the regular version of Baby Oral Gel, which does contain benzocaine, an ingredient the US Food and Drug Administration has recently issued a warning about because of its association with a rare but serious condition called metheminoglobinemia. The active ingredient in Baby Oral Gel Naturals is eugenol, which is derived from the oil of the clove plant, which is known for its antiseptic, analgesic, antibacterial, and local anesthetic properties. (You may have read suggestions for rubbing diluted clove oil on baby’s gums for teething; this takes the guesswork out of the potency for mums in desperate need of a remedy while baby is shrieking in pain.) Available at major retailers and chemists.
A widely available alternative to teething products containing benzocaine is Camilia, a homeopathic medicine from French company Boiron©. Camilia containes homeopathic preparations of German chamomile (for relief of teething pain and irritability), Poke (to soothe painful gums) and Chinese rhubarb (for help with minor digestive disorders, like diarrhea, sometimes associated with teething). Comes in 5 or 20 dose single-use dose packages. Reminder: be sure to check with your G.P. before administering any over the counter teething remedy.
Babies like to gnaw on all kinds of things, especially things that really don’t belong in their mouths. Next time baby reaches for the remote control as a snack, hand her a sweet wooden teether, like one from HABA ©, Camden Rose©, or a Sweet Owl Teether from Etsy© or direct from Little Alouette©. They’re handmade in the US from locally sourced hardwoods and are available either unfinished or finished with certified organic flaxseed oil.
Sophie the Giraffe has been helping babies get through teething for more than 50 years. Made of 100% natural rubber (BPA- and phthalate-free) and food paint, this squeaky toy made in the French Alps will likely prove to be one of your baby’s favorites. We are also fans of the Hevea© Panda teether, made from 100% natural rubber latex.
Sometimes a change of scenery or activity is all it takes to help distract baby from teething pain, at least temporarily. Try running a bath for baby—the warm water may help him to relax—or even some unexpected cuddle time.
Placing a solid or liquid-filled teether in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before offering it to baby can amp up its soothing powers. We like the sweet easy-to-grab BPA- and PVC-free apple-shaped teether from Green Sprouts©.
Another popular option for teething tots is silicone teethers, like those from Born Free© or Lifefactory©. As well as being dishwasher safe, both of these teethers are BPA-, phthalate-, PVC- and latex-free. It can be stuck in the fridge or freezer, and best of all, worn by Mums as a funky little bracelet, so relief is always close at hand. Available in a rainbow of bright colors.
This innovative teether from Sassy© is not only multi-textured and water-filled (ideal for chilling in the fridge), but it vibrates when baby chomps on the water-filled section, which helps stimulate gums.
Encourage your child to drink water from an early age, rather than fruit juices as added sugars can cause tooth decay. Once your baby has been established on finger food, avoid sugary snacks like biscuits and fruit juices between meals.