A full set of 20 baby teeth can take three years to develop. Symptoms of teething can include irritability, trouble sleeping, sore gums, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, and of course the urge to chew on everything. (And that’s just the moms! Joke. Sort of.) The bad news: With symptoms showing three-five days before the appearance of each tooth, that’s a lot of cranky days and sleepless nights. The good: You’ll have plenty of opportunities to test different soothers and find what works for your little one.
Every baby teethes in her own way. While sucking may aggravate teething pain for some babies (sometimes leading to a nursing strike), others may want to nurse more often for the sheer comfort of it. Is your baby using mama’s nipples as a teething toy? Teething does not need to mean the end of breastfeeding; if your baby seems tempted to bite during nursing, try rubbing a clean finger over her gums before beginning and ending the session once she seems full, but not yet bored.
If your baby has already started solids, try offering him a cold food like applesauce or yogurt to help soothe gum pain and fill him up.
A spoon chilled in the fridge (not the freezer, or it can stick!) can offer much-needed relief. Just apply the rounded part of the spoon to baby’s gums. Best for before any teeth actually break through to avoid the risk of chipping a tooth.
All you need is a clean finger for this old-fashioned teething remedy. Gentle counter-pressure from Mom or Dad applied to a baby’s sore gums can help ease the pain of teething.
Plush Teething Toy
A soft plush toy from an organic brand like Under the Nile is a safe option for baby to chew on when teething is a pain. We love their fruits and veggies line, like these striped bananas, as well as their plush ring toys and “blanket friend” toys because they’re both super soft and machine washable.
Chilled fruit, like apple slices or banana, placed inside of a mesh feeder can provide relief (and a tasty snack) for a baby with sore gums.
Sometimes a change of scenery or activity is all it takes to help distract baby from teething pain, at least temporarily. Try running a bath for baby—the warm water may help him to relax—or even just some giving some unexpected cuddle time.
Another popular option for teething tots is silicone teethers, like those from Born Free or this one from Lifefactory (shown). Dishwasher safe, this teether is BPA-, phthalate-, PVC- and latex-free. It can be stuck in the fridge or freezer, and best of all, worn by mama as a funky little bracelet, so relief is always close at hand. Available in a rainbow of bright colors.
This teether from Sassy is not only multi-textured and water-filled (ideal for chilling in the fridge), but it vibrates when baby chomps on the water-filled section, which helps stimulate gums.
Teething is not a new thing, though it might be new to you. There are plenty of age-old and sparkly-new options available to everyone. Find the choices that best suit you and your baby, and make the most of it.