You’ve made it through the first months, you’ve finally got your baby into a routine where they are feeding and sleeping well and you’re just about to pat yourself on the back for getting to grips with this whole new world of parenting. Then – Bam! – Along comes teething to give you a rude awakening and throw a complete spanner in the works. But, don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do to help ease your baby’s pain and get things back on track.
Here are some top teething remedies to try:
There are so many different teething toys that you can buy. Some are made from silicone rubber and others of natural wood. Others are waterfilled so that you can pop them in the freezer and give them to baby while they are cold. You may find your baby prefers one to the other. Try teethers that are the right size for your baby to easily hold in their hands. Different textures on the teethers are good too, with smooth, hard bits to gnaw on and knobbly bits with rougher edges to give relief to itchy gums.
Silicone teething necklaces
These are necklaces to be worn by mum, which have silicone rubber beads for your baby to chew on to soothe their sore gums. They are a really clever way of making sure you always have a teething aid on hand when you need it and they come in some gorgeous designs that mums will probably want to wear even when their baby isn’t teething.
If your teething baby keeps on trying to put their hands in their mouth to chew on in an attempt to soothe their pain, then you might want to try teething mittens. These are especially helpful for young babies who find it harder to hold onto traditional teething toys. These little mittens are secured onto your baby’s hand and they have bumpy silicone rubber parts to chew on. Many have crinkly fabric pieces to provide distraction too.
Ashton and Parsons Infants’ Powders
This is a teething remedy that has been around for 150 years and has been trusted by generations. You simply pop half a sachet of powder on your baby’s tongue in the morning and half at night. It is a herbal remedy and is described on their website as ‘a gentle, natural, traditional remedy to relieve babies teething pain.’
It’s worth bearing in mind that in 2016 parents were advised not to use unlicensed homeopathic teething tablets or gels, which are available to buy online due to the risk of side effects. Ashton and Parsons powders are herbal rather than homeopathic and have been deemed safe for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Chilled vegetable sticks
If your baby has started solid foods you can cut sticks of fruit or vegetables, such as banana or cucumber and pop them in the fridge to give to your child to chew on and to provide relief for sore and inflamed gums. Always stay close and supervise your baby when they chew on hard vegetable sticks to minimise the risks of choking.
These look a little bit like dummies with a rubber ring at the top for your baby to hold onto and mesh holders at the bottom, which you can fill with chilled fruit or vegetables for your baby to chew on to provide pain relief. The mesh means that the food comes out mashed so you don’t need to worry about them chewing on hard chunks.
Handmade ice pops
You can make your own ice popsicles by blending fruit with water and popping it in an ice-lolly mould. The frozen ice pops will soothe sore mouths and are a fun, safe and tasty way to provide relief.
Rubbing your finger on their gums
Rubbing your finger on your baby’s gums can help ease the pressure of their teeth pushing down. Make sure your finger is clean and simply rub your baby’s gums in small, circular motions as well as back and forth. This is a good remedy to try when you are out and about and don’t have any other teething aids handy. If you’re at home, you could also try silicon toothbrushes that fit on your finger. These help you clean baby’s gums while gently scratching them.
Chilled water or breast milk
Chilled drinks can provide comfort for sore mouths. Try giving your baby a sippy cup filled with either chilled water or chilled breast milk. The spout of the sippy cup provides another chew aid to help sore gums. If you’re using a baby bottle you could fill it with water, turn it upside down and chill it. Your baby can chew on the icy teat and then enjoy the feeling of the cold water.
Cold or warm soaked muslins
An easy teething remedy is to securely tie an ice cube in a clean muslin and give it to your baby to chew on. Alternatively you can wet and chill a muslin in the fridge, then give it to your baby to bite down on. If you want to try a warmer remedy then you can try soaking a muslin in warm water or camomile for your baby to chew on. The warm water can provide comfort and is also thought to actually help teeth push through the gums!
Chewing on a toothbrush
You don’t have to fork out on expensive teething toys. You can simply give your baby a small toothbrush to chew on. The bristles give their gums a good massage and the handles are nice and hard for them to chew on. Also it gets your baby used to the feeling of having a toothbrush in their mouth, which helps when their teeth do come through and you have to start daily brushing.
This doesn’t provide direct relief but if your baby is really miserable with teething pain try giving them a warm bath. It relaxes their body and provides welcome distraction from the pain.
If your baby drools a lot when they are teething keep a bib (or two or three) to hand to catch and mop up the dribbles and stop their little chins or necks getting wet (and then chafing). There are many ‘dribble bibs’ available to buy, which are more like bandanas in style than traditional bibs and which give more waterproof protection to mop up the extra drool that is common with teething babies. Some also have chewable silicone triangles for your baby to chew down on too.
If your baby wakes a lot at night and is very hard to settle then (if they are older than 3 months of age) you can give them infant paracetamol to help ease the pain and help them settle. Always read the dosage guidelines printed on the back of the bottle.
Teething pain doesn’t last forever
Teething can be a testing time with increased crankiness and broken sleep (and that’s just the parents). But remember that it’s just a phase and it doesn’t last forever. Also find a bit of comfort in the fact that the first teeth coming through will probably be the hardest and after that teething pain will get easier for both you and your baby. If you are suddenly facing sleepless nights again and are finding it hard to cope with a grumpy baby in the day then remember this too shall pass. And when it does you will get your happy baby back and a bit more sleep and feel altogether more human again.
If you’re in the throes of teething misery it always helps to know that you’re not alone and it is great to swap top tips and find out which remedies worked for other mums. Join in the chat over in our forum.