At more than one point in time I have had as many as three children teething in my home. The older children are able to understand what is going on but the baby just doesn’t understand why there is an aching pain in his mouth.
It seems to happen the same way every time. After several days (sometimes weeks) of the baby being irritable and fussy, I noticed a red bulge in baby’s mouth and have the ah-ha moment. Teething, of course! Now all the fussiness and whining makes perfect sense.
Natural Teething Remedies
Teething is hard work and unfortunately it is something we all must go through. Thankfully, most of us don’t remember the pain! But what can you do to help your little one through this milestone?
I’ve found the following teething remedies to work well and give some much needed relief for our children.
Applying something cold to help numb the gums is very effective and soothing for teething pain. There are several easy and virtually free ways to do this with things you probably already have in your home.
- Partially freeze a clean, wet cloth. Let your little one chew on the cold cloth to help numb the area and reduce swelling.
- Some children experience a lack of appetite when they are teething. It may help to offer soft, cool foods such as homemade applesauce, chilled pieces of fruit (for older babies already eating solids), and homemade yogurt.
- Offer your baby an ice cube placed in a securely tied small muslin bag.
- I am not a fan of mesh baby feeders because they are very difficult to clean, but there are silicone ones available now and they are handy for teething babies. You can put partially frozen fruit (bananas work well) or even breastmilk ice cubes in them to give baby something cold to safely munch on.
2. Apply Pressure
It is often easy to tell when a baby starts teething because they really begin to chew everything, quite similar to a puppy. The counter-pressure seems to help soothe the pain. They chew on fingers, toys, furniture (here is a great tutorial for protecting crib railings), and even siblings!
There is no shortage of options for colorful, soft baby teething toys, but there are certainly some that I would never want my baby to chew on. However, I have found some that I am comfortable with and that are still fun and cute.
- The most convenient teething tool out there is your own clean hand. If you can stand the gnawing, offer your baby your clean knuckle and he will happily chew away. You might think twice however, if your little one already has teeth. Those little chompers are mighty powerful!
- Make your own! I bought a maple wooden ring made in the U.S.A. (like this one) and cut several strips of organic knit cotton. The knit doesn’t fray very much so I didn’t even finish the edges. Cut 3 or 4 strips (about 2″ x 10″) and knot each end. Loop it through the ring, fold the strip in half, and tie 2 or 3 over hand knots so that it leaves little tails. Here is a cute one if you don’t want to make it.
- Haba Toys are made to much stricter European safety standards and offer a colorful array of toys for children and babies.
- My daughter loves these soft silicone teething toys. They are easy for her to hold but also are shaped in a way that allows her to reach her back gums.
- No teething toy list would be complete without Sophie the Giraffe. This natural rubber teething toy is irresistible to babies and mommies alike. In fact, it has gained enormous popularity in recent years. Made with natural rubber and food grade paint so it is safe for teething (though the colors do fade over time).
3. Teething Jewelry
Wear a teether! A friend of mine gave me a silicone teething necklace after I had my last baby and I really like it because it is so handy, doesn’t fall on the ground, and it distracts the baby from pulling at my earrings. She also really loves to chew on the soft beads and they are surprisingly cute to wear.
Chamomile is naturally calming and helps relax nerves and soothe pain. I am never without chamomile in my home. There are several ways you can use chamomile to soothe teething pain.
- Tea – make a weak tea and freeze it in ice cube trays. Place a frozen tea cube in a muslin bag and secure it tightly. Now your baby can gnaw on the bag and benefit from the chamomile as the cube melts.
- Tincture – this is quite easy to make yourself and you can place a drop or two on your finger and rub it onto your baby’s gums to soothe teething pain.
- Essential Oil – I am very cautious when using essential oils, especially on children, but when they are used correctly and at the proper dilution, essential oils can be a very helpful home remedy. Mix 1 drop of chamomile essential oil into 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil (such as coconut or olive). Rub a small amount on baby’s gums to help relieve pain.
5. Amber Teething Necklace
Amber necklaces have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. The theory is that the warmth of the baby’s body releases the succinic acid found in Baltic amber. Succinic acid can have analgesic properties which help relieve pain in the body. It is difficult to prove one way or another whether these necklaces are effective but there are many, many testimonials and reviews sharing success stories.
It goes without saying that extreme care should be taken when anything is placed around a baby’s neck and they should be removed for sleeping. I personally use an amber necklace for our daughter but it may not be successful for all babies.
6. Topical Pain Relief
- Homeopathic remedies like Hyland’s Teething Tablets can provide great relief for sore gums. They are readily available in most stores and the active ingredients are safe and natural. At one time there was a recall but the product was reformulated (out of an abundance of caution). You can read about the recall here.
- For children over the age of 2 you can use clove essential oil. Clove oil has a numbing effect on the gums that studies have shown to work as well as benzocaine. Mix 1 drop of clove oil with 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil (coconut or olive) and rub on the gums a few times a day. This would be helpful for adults with tooth pain as well, just increase the clove oil.
Cutting teeth can be a rough time for both mom (and dad!) and baby, but with a few natural teething remedies like these, it can be much easier and less painful to get through.
Have you tried any of these teething remedies? What remedies have you found to be helpful for teething babies?