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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:

We  honesty!  This post contains affiliate links that provide extra money for our mutual coffee habits addictions. Click here to learn more.

We 
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. Great article! Just purchased the infant toothbrush & hope it helps. Would like to point out that the FDA DOES NOT regulate homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic remedies, like “herbal remedies,” are completely unregulated. I take homeopathic remedies, but I think it’s important to know that sometimes there is more/less of the active ingredients bc there is ZERO regulation.

  2. I think this article is great! My baby is four months and just got in his first tooth. We are so blessed to have such a great baby…but the other day he was a nightmare checked his gums and sure enough! Before reading this I did some looking on Pinterest. Went to target bought Hylands baby teething tablets–so far have worked great! Mesh–I already make his baby food so now I can just stick the cubes in there which is awesome and if you have the time every parent should try! jarred food I’m not a fan of–this way you know exactly what’s going in your baby’s tummy! So far all I’ve given him through the mesh is my breast milk frozen in a ice cube tray–worked great! I bought teethers plenty! I also bought chamomile tea have yet to try going to call my dr first see his thoughts. Last but not least a jumper (the ones that hang from the door) and some toys! I am not a fan of the idea of medicating my baby with Tylenol so if you can distract the pain I think that’s another great thing–he is absolutely loving the jumper!! If weather permits going to try taking him on walks too. Only thing I felt this was missing is some TLC! Who doesn’t want to be played with and loved on when not feeling well! And who easier to give that love and attention to than your beautiful baby! Be patient and loving 🙂 God bless

  3. I gave my teething baby cold beef jerky to chew on. Since beef jerky is tough to chew for adults I figured to give it a try. It worked. I now use cold beef jerky every time he starts teething. I placed it in my freezer for 30 seconds.

  4. My 4 month old LO has not been a fan of any of the teethers we have tried. He likes his hands and my fingers so far. Infants’ Tylenol (we give him half the dose the doc said he could take and it gives him just enough relief!) works great. The amber teething necklaces I had heard about from a friend. In my experience, they don’t work at all. I feel like it was a total waste of money. Looking forward now to getting a mesh food teether to try the celery, carrot, and cucumber ideas!

    1. Sheryl,

      Interesting that you should mention the amber teething necklaces. We tried one recently with our 4th child (hadn’t really considered it before). We are happy with it but I have heard mixed reviews through the years. Heather just wrote a post about Amber Teething Necklaces and I learned a lot about them and why the reviews are so varied. Here it is if you are interested in reading it.

  5. Freeze pops work great. Just re freeze them when they melt and you will always have something to grab. It might not be so good once they have a few teeth since it might get messy (puncturing the plastic) but for gums it’s perfect.

    1. Just make sure it’s in a feeder or something else, so he/she can’t bite of pieces. That would be a choking hazard. Good luck!

  6. Thanks for this article – My baby still has a few more weeks of ‘baking’ yet to do before birth, but I’m trying to get my research in ahead of time and this gave me a great place to start. I hadn’t even thought about using food as a teething soother, and that sounds about as safe as you can get. From my limited exploration so far, I think I’ll try food as the main day-time help and maybe rotate through some of the other products (like the Camilia doses and the Infant Tylonal) at night and hope for the best. You always worry that just as soon as you finish using a product that new research will come out telling you that you’ve been a horrible parent and accidentally poisoned your kids by using something toxic. Oh well. Fortunately most of us survived our own parent’s mistakes, so I’m sure my baby will too.

    Thanks again for the article!

  7. I loved the article! My almost 3 month old (who is the size of a 6 month old) just started teething. We used a teething necklace with my firstborn and it was amazing! (Made sure to get the kind that is knotted between every single bead) Barely knew he was teething! As he still wears his, I just ordered one for my 3mo…but won’t arrive for another week, will definitely be trying some of these in the meantime!

  8. I love your writing and helpful tips although I do find it ironic that you aren’t all for the teething necklaces…However you do refer to essential oils as “potent” yet a great option for teething remedy. I’m a cosmetic formulator my profession and am always alarmed when I see things like that given as safe advice. Just because a DoTerra or other essential oil MLM company rep claims they are safe, they are not. Potent is the wrong word. Try poison. Peppermint is poison and can cause fatality in infants. Clove is up there with cassia on the irritant levels. People like myself work in labs formulating with these components so they are not just blended willy nilly by people at home then shoved into children’s bodies. Essential oils should not be ingested. Period. Please do the proper research and perhaps read some disturbing case stories to help dissuade yourself and your peers from causing serious damage to yourselves and children. When I handle these materials at work I’m wearing impenetrable gloves and a respirator. They aren’t for us to consume.

    1. Thanks for your expertise on that Rachel. As always, it’s listed here because some parents have shared that it helps. I’m happy to approve your comment and share it here to help provide another perspective, however I do wish you would list the research that you say I’m missing. That would be helpful to readers in making their decision. If you have time, could you reply to my comment with some places for them to read or share their own thoughts about?

      In regards to the teething necklaces, we are in the middle of a product trial for teething necklaces right now in order to find out whether parents felt they helped or not. The results of that trial will be shared in an article coming up next month.

      Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts. If you wouldn’t mind replying with some of the research I’m missing, I’d be happy to go back and do some editing to include those studies next to those suggestions.

  9. Hi Heather, great article lots of stuff I’m keen to try! My little one is just over 3 months old, he has been teething for about a week now, he has all the classic symptoms and is very unsettled, especially at night! I was going to give the cold washcloth and chamomile tea a go but i didn’t know if that was advisable at his age? He doesn’t have any solids yet of course, and he is still a little wobbly when it comes to controlling a heavier teether. I am going to try the cool cloth anyway but wondered if it would be ok to use chamomile tea as well if he is old enough for me to do so?

    Thankyou, Emma 🙂

    1. Emma, I would just give your doctor’s office a quick call about the chamomile tea. Especially since he’s so young, you’ll want to check in with the pediatrician’s office first on that one. You should be able to get an answer over the phone. Glad the post could encourage you Emma! Hang in there friend!

  10. I’m curious why you honk nursing a baby to sleep is bad? It isn’t bad to comfort your child? Also, cloves have been prove to be harmful for babies….lavender around the gum line works….also amber teething necklace does work and he never touches it.

    1. Brittany, I think you’re missing something here. I’m great with nursing a baby to sleep. That’s one of the perks of motherhood! I especially think nursing a baby to sleep is good when they are teething or sick. My concerns are always towards babies older than 5-6 months who REQUIRE nursing in order for them to fall asleep. In THOSE instances, some gentle sleep coaching methods may be necessary to help them learn how to fall asleep on their own.

  11. As a distributor of essential oils, I wanted to pass on some information regarding peppermint oil. Essential oil companies are now suggesting that peppermint oil not be used on babies and infants under age 5 (some say age 3, due to the fact it has caused some babies to go into respiratory distress. It is also suggested that nursing and pregnant women not use peppermint oil as it can cause breastmilk supply issues. Just wanted to pass that on 🙂

  12. Teething tablets are amazing! I also before my daughters teeth popped in i gave her celery to chew on it really helps it was cold and soothed her quick thank you for all your advice my daughter is 10 months now and I’ve not slept in days her teeth are coming in one after another so this was very helpful thanks God Bless

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