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.
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!
- A peeled a cold carrot ~ Should be as long as his hand, baby carrots are too small.
- A pickle pop ~ Sounds gross, but some babies LOVE them. Due to the acidity, it’s best for babies over 1 year old.
- A frozen cheese stick
- Slices of cold peaches in a feeding teether
- A cold cucumber slice
- Bagel slices ~ Microwave it for 30 seconds and then let it completely cool down, it will be as hard as a rock.
- 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.
- Momsicles ~ Freeze your breastmilk in cubes and put in a teething feeder, or freeze around a pacifier in a cube tray.
- Cold celery sticks ~ Did you know celery is a natural pain killer?
- A frozen banana wrapped in a towel
- 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!
- Diluted chamomile tea frozen and placed in teething feeder or tied inside a washcloth for gnawing
- Rub a slice of peeled ginger root on your baby’s gums
- Breastmilk slushie
- Fruit juice slushie ~ If your baby is struggling with constipation, try a slushie made from apple and prune juices!
- 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.
- Homemade teething biscuits ~ This recipe at Wholesome Baby Food is really simple, really healthy, and really effective. (Really.)
- A cold whole pickle (dill or sweet gerkins)
- 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.
- Pure vanilla extract (not imitation) ~ Put a little on a Q-tip and spread on sore gums.
- 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!)
- Frozen banana inside a baby-safe teether.
- Olive oil on the gums
- Ginger paste ~ Ground ginger mixed with water, formula or breastmilk until it forms a gum paste.
- Nonpeppered thick beef jerky ~ Make sure the pieces are so large they can’t put it in their mouth! Use with caution!
- Breastmilk ~ Normally, I encouraged moms not to nurse to sleep for older babies…but in this case NURSE AWAY.
- 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
- Your clean finger ~ It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to mastering a DIY project.
- A semi-frozen washcloth ~ Semi-frozen, because 100% frozen washcloth could burn the gums.
- Ice chips placed inside a knotted washcloth
- 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.
- A handkerchief with one corner knotted
- A semi-frozen washcloth that has been dipped in diluted chamomile tea
- 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.
- Submerge a binky in water, squeezing it to soak up enough water as possible, then freeze it ~ Not for recommended for bedtime.
- A rubber spatula
- 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 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 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.
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!
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