It is no wonder that babies do not remember the first couple years of their lives; they have to endure so much pain! Between growth spurts and teething, it seems like every couple of weeks to couple months they are going through the ringer.
Poor, poor baby!
As parents, it rips our hearts out to see them in such pain. Sleepless days and nights worrying that we are giving them the right remedy. As a mother, I wanted to avoid giving my daughter pharmaceutical drugs and to go as natural as possible.
Please let me share my top favorite natural teething remedies with you. Plus, I will tell you some of the more popular teething remedies I choose not to give my baby and why, with citations on my research.
My baby girl has almost all her teeth now, and she has never needed pharmaceutical drugs to help her with the pain.
How do you know if your baby is teething? Signs of teething Include:
- Swollen, bulging gums
- A tooth visible below the gum
- Trouble sleeping
- Trying to bite, chew, and suck on everything
- Rubbing her face
- Rejecting food
- Grabbing her ears
What is Silicone and is it safe?
Not to be confused with silicon, which is found in silica (sand & quartz) and is one of the most common elements found on earth. Silicone with an “e” at the end, is a man-made polymer derived from silicon and chemical additives from fossil fuels. It is a hybrid between a synthetic plastic polymer and a synthetic rubber.
Silicone like plastic is easy to shape and to make into anything. Its smooth surface makes it easy to clean, non-stick and non-staining. Better than plastic, it is more temperature and chemically resistant. Thus, it is often used in medical, culinary and baby equipment including baby bottles, nipples, toys and teethers.
Medical and food-grade silicone has been rigorously tested, and is considered by the FDA to be safe for consumers. It is hypoallergenic and, therefore, safe for babies.
My research has uncovered some concern that silicone bakeware products make leak chemicals into food when used at very high temperatures. However, since baby teethers are not used that way, they are still considered reasonably safe.
When choosing a silicone teether, please avoid any plastic teethers that contain BPA, PVC or phtalates.
Silicone teethers can be kept in the freezer for times of need. I have four of them that we rotate during teething times. I keep them on the bottom self of the freezer. Now my toddler will pull them out for herself, if I have the freezer door open.
These are great for younger children that are not ready for ice or food based teething remedies.
Below are my favorite silicone tethers we use regularly, but there are so many cute styles to choose from.
Wood & Fabric Teethers
Wooden teethers work by just providing a surface for the baby to bite into, relieving pressure for aching gums. They are the go-to for the crunchiest of parents. We bought a couple of these, but my baby never liked them as much as the silicon ones. They do come in a lot different style and color choices.
Frozen Breast Milk
Frozen breastmilk is a great natural remedy for teething. It works by numbing the mouth and gums and has several applications. You can pump your breastmilk and place it into ice cubes, in a popsicle mold, or on a washcloth. Put it in the freezer and give to your child when they are teething.
Below is the popsicle mold I have used for years, and it works great!
Chamomile is an herb that considered safe for kids of all ages. It is a mild sedative that is relaxing to the nerves and soothes pain. Similar to breastmilk, you can use it as ice cubes, popsicles or on a washcloth.
This is my go-to natural remedy. My baby girl LOVES chamomile ice cubes wrapped in a washcloth. She often asks for (chamomile) “ice” when teething.
To make ice cubes:
Make tea in 16oz cup.
Let step for 3-5 minutes.
Take out tea bag & pour into ice cube tray.
Put ice cube tray in freezer.
Wrap ice-cubes in washcloth, and tie end in a knot or with rubber band .
Food Based Remedies
Sometimes it seems my baby loses her appetite when teething. If this is the case with your baby, you might find food base remedy to be the answer.
Baby Fruit Feeders
I first bought one of these containers to help my baby learn to eat solid foods. However, it was too big for her mouth! But now that she is older and bigger, she loves to chew on them when she is teething.
Cucumbers are a great vegetable to freeze and give your baby for teething. Slice a cucumber into half inch sections. Get rid of the seeds by cutting out the middle part. Put in freezer for an hour or two. Give to baby the same day.
Celery is also a common option I see promoted a lot. I always felt the strings of the celery could possibly be a choking hazard, and never used this option myself.
Sophie the Giraffe
Sophie the Giraffe was another teething favor amongst my parent friends. Sophie is so cute, and babies seem to LOVE gumming on her. Unfortunately, there has been some controversy around her.
- She is expensive at $25 a pop. Really? For a silicone teething toy?
- Drool is able to leak through the toy. When moisture gets trapped inside, mold starts to grow. Yuck! This is an issue with some sippy cups and bath toys too.
Hyland Teething Tablets
These teething tablets were often recommended to me by Mommy friends. However, in April of 2017 they were voluntarily recalled by the manufacture. There was concern over the varying amounts of belladonna in the tablets, and that this could be causing side effects.
Hyland is continuing to make teething tablets, and this is their current stance on the matter.
Belladonna is a highly toxic deadly nightshade, but when properly diluted does not have poisonous properties. My opinion is that such remedy should only be used in extreme cases and under the direct supervision of a qualified professional.
Baltic Amber Necklaces
So many of my parent friends swear by Baltic amber necklaces, we immediately put one on our Amazon baby registry when I was pregnant. However, upon further research I decide it was not a good option for us.
Retailers claim that baltic amber necklaces work by releasing a small about of succinic acidwhen warmed up to body tempture. The succinic acid then absorbs into the baby’s skin and then eases their pain through its nerve calming properties and analgesic effects.
All of this is plausible. It is true that baltic amber contains succinic acid. It is true that some medicines absorb through the skin to have physiologic effects. And it is true that succinic acid is found naturally in the body and that alterating the levels in the body could have physiologic effects.
Unfortunately, there have been no studies to prove that the amber releases succinic acid when warmed, or that it has analgesic properties. There have be only a couple of studies on succinic acids anti-inflammatory properties, which is promising. Furthermore, the small amount of succinic acid in baltic amber might not be sufficient enough to produce a quality effect.
Whenever I read the words “there is no evidence,” I take that with a grain of salt. It means, no one has studied it (yet), and no one knows for sure. This is different from the words “studies show” or “evidence proves,” which is much more definitive.
I cannot say one way or another that Baltic amber necklace do or do not work. Nor do I discount the testimonies of thousands of parents that swear by this product.
My concern is their terrible design. They are a choking and asphyxiation hazard!!
The concern is that if a child is chewing on the necklace, they could break it and potential choke on one of the amber beads. Also if the necklace is too loose, a child could potentially get caught on something and suffocate. They could even suffocate if the necklace got tangled while the baby was sleeping.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend that infants wear any jewelry. Suffocation is the leading cause of death for children under a year old and among the top five causes of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
If you choose to still use the baltic amber necklaces, then please consider placing it around a child’s ankle instead of the neck. Never leave the child unattended with any jewelry on. Definitely take off the jewelry during naps and sleeping.
I hope you noticed a common theme among all my recommendations here. I saw what all my other parent friends were giving their babies, and then I did my own research. Sometimes, I found that remedies they were using were harmful or dangerous for babies.
Do your own research!
Also, I found that my baby loved the most natural remedies the best. I most often used silicone tethers and chamomile ice. At 15 months of age, she would ask for (chamomile) “ice.” Just these two remedies would help the pain and crankiness ago away without the need for pharmaceutical drugs.
What is your favorite natural remedy? Please let a comment below and share this article with you parent friends struggling with teething.
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