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57 Strategies to Defeat Baby Teething Pain & Get More Sleep

This is war.

It’s you versus the Little White Nubs from the Netherworld.

This baby teething pain is leaching the happiness out of your infant’s eyes and stealing the sleep the whole family needs to function.

No. Mercy.

Mask up.  Strap on a few teethers.  Whip up a couple of home remedies.

Let’s show those little fangs they better start behaving.

I’ve called together the War Council and strategized 57 different ways we can defeat our enemy (baby teething pain) and win the sleep that everyone is yawning for.

Conquer Baby Teething Pain with Food

Our first strategy to beat back the hordes of crankiness flooding from his tiny mouth, is to use FOOD, nature’s first defense!

I must, however, offer a strong caution. 

As great as food is for teething, placing ANYTHING inside your baby’s mouth can lead to choking.

If your baby is biting things, meaning he has more than 4 teeth, than I would put all pieces of food into a feeding teether, just to be safe.

This feeding teether is one of my favorites because it comes with a cover, so you don’t get nastiness all over the diaper bag when you’re coming home from a restaurant.

The following food suggestions have been borrowed from my experience, from friends, and a lot (a LOT) of research.  If you try one, please leave a comment at the bottom and let everyone know how it worked!  Good or bad, it would be helpful to hear about your experience!

  1. A peeled a cold carrot ~ Should be as long as his hand, baby carrots are too small.
  2. A pickle pop ~ Sounds gross, but some babies LOVE them.  Due to the acidity, it’s best for babies over 1 year old.
  3. A frozen cheese stick
  4. Slices of cold peaches in a feeding teether
  5. A cold cucumber slice
  6. Bagel slices ~ Microwave it for 30 seconds and then let it completely cool down, it will be as hard as a rock.
  7. Barley water and strawberry popsicles ~ Did you know barley water is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help those swollen painful gums? Grab the recipe at Small Fry.
  8. Momsicles ~ Freeze your breastmilk in cubes and put in a teething feeder, or freeze around a pacifier in a cube tray.
  9. Cold celery sticks ~ Did you know celery is a natural pain killer?
  10. A frozen banana wrapped in a towel
  11. Frozen pineapple in a teething feeder ~ Pineapple is also an anti-inflammatory with the extra ascorbic acid your baby needs to help soften the gum tissue and help the tooth break through faster!
  12. Diluted chamomile tea frozen and placed in teething feeder or tied inside a washcloth for gnawing
  13. Rub a slice of peeled ginger root on your baby’s gums
  14. Breastmilk slushie
  15. Fruit juice slushie ~ If your baby is struggling with constipation, try a slushie made from apple and prune juices!
  16. Ground cloves and allspice mixed with water (or unsalted butter) to form a gum paste ~ Try this on yourself first, to make sure it’s not so strong it burns.
  17. Homemade teething biscuits ~ This recipe at Wholesome Baby Food is really simple, really healthy, and really effective.  (Really.)
  18. A cold whole pickle (dill or sweet gerkins)
  19. A scallion ~ Cut the green part off a green onion, lightly salt the white part and let your baby gnaw on it like a 4-inch stick.
  20. Pure vanilla extract (not imitation) ~ Put a little on a Q-tip and spread on sore gums.
  21. Tahini spread ~ A sesame seed paste that resembles peanut butter, but without any nuts!  A little on the gums goes a long way.  (Btw, a healthier substitute for PB sandwiches!)
  22. Frozen banana inside a baby-safe teether.
  23. Olive oil on the gums
  24. Ginger paste ~ Ground ginger mixed with water, formula or breastmilk until it forms a gum paste.
  25. Nonpeppered thick beef jerky ~ Make sure the pieces are so large they can’t put it in their mouth! Use with caution!
  26. Breastmilk ~ Normally, I encouraged moms not to nurse to sleep for older babies…but in this case NURSE AWAY.
  27. A frozen upside down bottle ~ Fill it with breastmilk, formula, juice, etc. tip it upside down and freeze it for a perfectly safe ice cube to gnaw on!

Serbian mom (and faithful reader!) Dusana recommends honey:  “Honey is the best support remedy, because it’s natures perfect food that can’t ever go bad- it’s full of enzymes, proteins and good sugars.”  A great option, but only for babies over a year old!

 

Conquer Baby Teething Pain with Teethers

As I’ve shared in my article on the 9 Sure-Fire Signs of Teething, babies are smart little pain relievers.

They’ve figured out that by pushing DOWN on a tooth nub, they balance out the pain it’s causing pushing UP.  That’s why they chew and gnaw on pretty much everything.

Some of these you purchase, some you can make at home.  I stocked good teethers pretty much everywhere.  I had some in the diaper bag.  I had one in the minivan (with my emergency binkies).  I had some in a basket in the living room, and a few stashed in the nursery.

She’s going to teethe on something, and I figured the faster I could grab a teether I approved of, the less likely I’d find her gnawing on dog toys.

10 Awesome Homemade Baby Teethers

  1. Your clean finger ~ It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to mastering a DIY project.
  2. A semi-frozen washcloth ~ Semi-frozen, because 100% frozen washcloth could burn the gums.
  3. Ice chips placed inside a knotted washcloth
  4. A brilliant handmade NO-SEW crib teething guard cover that will protect beautiful wood cribs from tiny teeth scrapes ~ See the simple tutorial over at Simply Abby.
  5. A handkerchief with one corner knotted
  6. A semi-frozen washcloth that has been dipped in diluted chamomile tea
  7. A wooden stirring spoon ~ Never let your baby walk around with spoons in her mouth, she could hit something on the other end and scrape up the back of her mouth.
  8. Submerge a binky in water, squeezing it to soak up enough water as possible, then freeze it ~ Not for recommended for bedtime.
  9. A rubber spatula
  10. Take two clean socks, placing one inside the other, then knot the outside sock and throw it in the freezer for a few minutes.

10 Uniquely Designed Baby Teethers

These are the teethers that you’ll keep at Grandma’s house, in your diaper bag, in the glove compartment and other In Case of Emergency locations.

I’m a visual gal.  So I thought it may be handy to collage all the top-rated teethers together in one pretty graphic.

1. Fruit Teething Set  |  2. Banana Teething Toothbrush  
3. Teethe-eeze Teether  |  4. Comotomo Teether
5. Food Pacifier & Teether  |  6. Snuggle Teether
7. Wacky Teething Ring  |  8. SweeTooth Teether
9. Zoli Bunny Dual Nub Teether  |  10. Otto Octopus

Conquer Baby Teething Pain with
All Natural Teething Remedies

Sometimes chewing on stuff just doesn’t cut it. Here are some all-natural teething remedies you could use to escalate your fighting approach towards relieving baby teething pain.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between something labeled as a “homeopathic” remedy and those labeled as “herbal” remedies. In a homeopathic remedy, the original herbs are highly diluted.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate homeopathic or herbal remedies. This means that the claims being made by the company selling these items have (most likely) not been been verified by a governmental agency.

Homeopathic teething remedies have no side effects and don’t react to other medications, and are non-toxic.  Unlike pharmaceutical medications, homeopathic medicines aren’t dependent on body weight to be effective and avoid overdoses.

Oral Assist

Oral-Assist is a little dropper of liquid that you add to your baby’s bottle and helps alleviate throbbing gums.  It also promotes healthy tooth development.  It’s like giving your baby pain relief and vitamins at the same time.

Hylands Teething Tablets

Hylands Teething Tablets is the most well-known of the homeopathic teething medications.  Their teething tablet contains chamomile, coffea cruda, and belladonna.

In 2016 the FDA announced they are investigating a relationship between Hyland’s and the death 0f 10 children.  (Read about it here.)  In January 2017, Hylands refused to recall their teething tablets and so the FDA has issued a warning against them.

Camilia

Camilia is benzocaine, paraben, and belladonna-free.  It’s also vegan.  They come in in single-use liquid doses that you squeeze out into your baby’s mouth.

Boiron’s Camilia is a combination of three concentrated plants:  German chamomile, Poke, and Rhubarb.   Together, these herbal concentrations help alleviate baby teething pain associated with sore gums (chamomile), irritability (poke) and tummy troubles (rhubarb).

Essential Oils for Teething

Another popular all-natural remedy for baby teething pain is the use of pure essential oils.  Specifically…

  • clove essential oils
  • peppermint essential oils
  • a special blend of oils called Thieves

Essential oils are extremely potent, so you should always blend them with a pure carrier oil like coconut oil before applying.

They are very helpful in a variety of health issues, but very person-specific.  Meaning, the same oil will help (or not help) different people in different ways.

For this reason, if you’re interested in exploring essential oils as an all-natural remedy for teething (or cradle cap, or colic, or plenty of other ailments) you should talk to my good friend Jeralyn Mulkey.  She is one of the sweetest, most caring people I know and would LOVE to teach you how to use these oils most effectively and safely with your baby.

Conquer Baby Teething Pain with Drugs

So it’s 2 am and NOTHING is WORKING and you’re eyes feel like they’re on fire, and your limbs are limp and you think you’ve just drooled on the carpet.

Time for the Big Guns. 

The good thing about using pharmaceuticals to treat baby teething pain is that they are 99% guaranteed to work.

The bad thing is that there’s always this “I hope this is okay to give my baby” feeling that goes along with using them.

After all, parents accidentally overdosing their babies was such a huge problem just a few years ago that companies like Johnson & Jonson actually stopped making infant medications until they could redesign the bottles and have better dosing guidelines.

The perfect dose is determined by your baby’s weight.  Weigh yourself, weigh yourself holding your baby, and then subtract.  Don’t use your baby’s age.  Use weight.

Using Topical Drugs for Baby Teething Pain

Topical drugs are the ones that you place directly onto your baby’s gums to numb them.  Baby Orajel and Anbesol are the two most popular topical teething drugs.

The “magic ingredient” in topical baby teething medications is something called benzocaine.  Benzocaine has been linked to a life-threatening condition called methemoglobinema.  In an effort to avoid ever EVER having to spell/type that word again, here’s the copied and pasted description:

Methemoglobinema is when the body has trouble getting the required oxygen to different areas of the body.  So the blood stops being bright red and turns chocolate-brown, leading the skin to start turning blue.  There could be trouble breathing, rapid heart rate, and extreme tiredness.

That-big-M-word-which-I-refuse-to-retype is a rare condition.  But it can be serious if it happens.  So I’m sharing it with you.

The best way to avoid that M-word from occurring is to make sure you don’t use the topical gel too frequently.  I used Orajel with my children.  I just used it wisely, never more than 3 times (four times MAX) in 24 hours.

We would use it once at night, right before bed, and only if things were really bad and our other efforts weren’t working.  We found, that on those particular tough nights, they took the bite away just long enough to help her fall asleep, and then the Tylenol would help her stay that way the rest of the evening.

Using General Drugs for Baby Teething Pain

These are the kind of oral drugs that kind of seep into your baby’s body and take care of everything all at once. These are acetaminophen (Infant Tylenol), paracetamol, or ibuprofen (Infant Motrin).  You give them a liquid, and it goes throughout the whole body.

The one general drug you should never give your baby is aspirin (Bayer).  It can give your baby Reye’s Syndrome, a rare but fatal illness.

Always ALWAYS triple check the dosing if you’re going to give your baby a general medication to help with baby teething pain.

Sometimes Experts Need Other Experts

I strongly believe that you are the best expert on your baby.  No one knows your infant the way you do.  His foibles.  Her preferences.

That said, sometimes experts can help experts.  Sometimes it helps to hear how the other experts have done in their battle against baby teething pain.

Consider this a symposium of baby brilliance.  Let’s start by comparing war notes.

Which remedies worked best in your house? Which were utter failures?  Share your expertise in the comments below!

Related Articles:

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Citations

FTC Steps In Where FDA Fears to Tread: On Homeopathy. Forbes.com
Homeopathic Product Regulation: Evaluating FDA’s Regulatory Framework After a Quarter-Century. FDA.com

 

71 thoughts on “57 Strategies to Defeat Baby Teething Pain & Get More Sleep

  1. My LO is 22 weeks old and has started teething. I had purchased a raw baltic amber necklace for her and within 30 minutes of putting it on I saw a huge improvement in her demeanor. She was smiling, not as cranky, seemed more relaxed, ate easier and laid down for a nap herself (that never happens!). She’s been wearing it from morning to night for about a week now and I swear its made a tremendous difference! I’m a believer! Advice- if you order on be sure that each bead is individually knotted so if necklace breaks beads don’t go flying. Also, order raw baltic amber not polished. Polished beads may seal off pores and will not dispense the oil as easily.

  2. I’ve used the core of a cold pineapple pretty successfully (I cut the entire core into four sections length wise so that i get 4 long strips) and cold watermelon rinds… Baby loves the sweetness and its hard enough that i don’t worry that she will break off a piece…

  3. Thank you so much for this article. My now 4month old has a tooth thats itching to pop out. I want to try the carrot idea, but am wondering if I give her the whole carrot (peeled of course) out of the fridge? Or get the mini ones ?? I haven’t started her on any foods. Also a commenter above suggested freezer pops (otter pops where I’m from) are those safe to give her? It seems like it would be perfect. Thank you bunches!

    1. Personally, I would give her the larger carrots because I’m terrified of choking, and can see a smaller carrot being dangerous. The key is to make sure that if she starts biting off chunks, it’s time for the carrot (which is hard and not chewable without molars) to go away. This is just for “first timers”. Same thing with the freezer pops. They are good to use when your baby can’t chew off chunks, but after that I’d set them aside for something else, that can be chewed, but not bitten. Hope this helps!

  4. This article just saved me. All the research plus links on one page. I have a 6 month old that’s had the symptoms of teething for 3months due to a calcium deposit. Now it’s gone and the tooth is trying to come through. I didn’t even think about the cold carrots etc. She loves her baby food carrots right out the fridge so why not give her whole ones. We have tried a home made ice pack(alcohol+water) in 2 freezer bags and a thin towel and she chews it until it melts, of course only under supervision. And banana cream cookies are great but gone too quick. So far a cheap teething ring for seriously $1 has worked the longest. I can’t wait to try the camilia and other great ideas.

  5. My lo has started teething (8mo). I started with a wooden rattle (still chews on it), Sophie giraffe (still chews on it), and a semi-frozen wash cloth (she prefers more wet than frozen). When she had a fever I would alternatr Tylenol and Motrin. Turns out she was allergic to ibuprofen. Now we use the boiron homeopathic camilia and refrigerated cooked carrots and she loves them.

    1. Katherine,

      Thanks for sharing what has worked for you. I’ll have to check into the Boiron Homeopathic Camilia, I haven’t heard of it before.

    1. I encourage parents to breastfeed their children to sleep – but be careful that after the age of 6 months it doesn’t become a sleep crutch that disrupts EVERYONE’s sleep, which isn’t good for anyone. Breastfeeding a child to sleep is a perk of breastfeeding. 🙂 It’s not something I would deny any mother, but is a caution I offer to parents who are feeling the stress of disrupted sleeping habits. (I’m a fan of breastfeeding on demand, particularly in the first 4-6 months.) I think most readers, who read more than one article, understand my feelings on that subject. Thanks for commenting, though! It allows me to reiterate my position on something that was clearly misunderstood.

  6. I love the gummie glove & the amber beads for teething. They really helped early on in teething.
    Anything cold I feel helps now, ice cream if your baby is old enough, cold yogurt, frozen yoghurt in a dummy feeder. Carrots. I love your ideas thanks for sharing.

  7. Since my baby is about to be 3 months, I didn’t want to give her something too strong. I’m all about natural remedies and I can’t wait to try more. I did chamomile, milk slushy, and upside down bottle with milk and chamomile. I even did celery with breastmilk. Anywhoo I’m think the best was slushy if tea and breastmilk in bottle. I will day though she had that green dehydrated poop so Idk if it was too much.
    Do you have any more advice on teething and sleeping well..

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