Anyone who has ever raised an infant knows the hell that is teething. Our babies can’t tell us when they’re hurting, so they communicate the only way they know how: constant crying. The discomfort can wreak havoc on a schedule. Suddenly your great sleeper is waking for comfort every two hours, like the day they were born.
The drool is out of control. Everything they wear gets totally soaked. Bibs are not miracle workers; they can only do so much. Your poor baby’s chin, neck and cheeks might even get a rash from the constant moisture and wiping.
My oldest son got blood blisters on his gums before some of his teeth erupted, and a couple of his molars left hanging flaps of skin. My middle son was breastfed, and he started biting when his first teeth were coming through; It was painful for both of us.
If your baby is in the throes of teething, never fear. We’ve gathered some of the best home remedies and teething products available to give your sweet baby some relief until their little chompers come in.
Need help now? You probably have things on hand already that can help relieve your baby’s pain.
These at-home teething solutions are tried-and-true.
Try a frozen washcloth.
Saturate a soft, clean washcloth with water and toss it in the freezer. The combination of the cold and the texture will provide your baby’s little gums with sweet relief. Some moms even put a tiny bit of juice in the water if their baby isn’t interested in the wash cloth alone. Pro Tip: If your baby loves this, try saturating a few washcloths and laying them flat in the freezer, separated by sheets of wax paper.
A mini bagel for your mini me!
A plain mini bagel straight from the freezer provides a smooth, tasty surface for a teething baby to gnaw on. You’ll want to be sure your baby can tolerate all the ingredients, and keep an eye on when it starts to defrost. When pieces start to come off, it’s time to take it away.
What’s better than a popsicle?
Stick to the homemade kind for babies of teething age. A frozen juice pop is a yummy way to give your baby a little teething pain relief. If your baby hasn’t tried juice yet, a “milksicle” made with breastmilk or formula will work just as well. This handy little gadget can help you make a perfect baby-sized freezer pop.
Make a DIY teether out of a bottle you’re already using.
If your baby is resistant to the new shapes and textures of teething toys, try filling a bottle they already like halfway with water. Put it into the freezer upside down. The frozen nipple will be a familiar shape, and they’ll get the same relief as they would from a washcloth or teether.
Chill a few metal spoons.
Rubbing a refrigerator-chilled metal spoon along your baby’s gums is an age-old teething pain remedy. Out in public with no fridge handy? Order a glass of ice water and ask for a couple extra spoons. You can keep them in the glass, and you’ll have a fresh, cold spoon every time your little one needs it.
Home remedies and DIY teethers are awesome, but don’t sleep on some of the really cool teething products available for your baby’s comfort– no freezer required.
Vibrating teethers provide comfort without the cold.
A vibrating teether gives those sore little baby gums a nice gentle massage. Try this adorable one, shaped like a plump strawberry or a bunch of smiling grapes. Aww.
Natural rubber teethers are the perfect texture for chewing.
Sophie La Girafe has been soothing teething pain since the sixties. She’s made of natural rubber, and babies love her. If giraffes aren’t your fave, check out one of her friends, like the adorable FanFan the Fawn.
Have you heard of the banana brush?
This thing is amazing. My second baby lived with one of these bad boys in his mouth for months. It’s a training toothbrush and teether that provides a chewing surface and gets your little one ready to practice good oral hygiene.
Two Words: Silicone. Feeder.
You might have heard a seasoned parent recommend putting a bit of frozen fruit or a homemade popsicle into a mesh feeder for your baby. That’s a great tip, but mesh feeders are really hard to clean. They get gross super fast. An easy-to-clean silicone feeder does the same job, and cleanup is a cinch. They’re great on the go. An ice cube from your own drink turns a silicone feeder into a frozen teether in no time.
Your baby’s hands are going in their mouth anyway.
Might as well turn them into a teether! This cute little teething mitt is the perfect addition to a teething baby’s collection.
Sometimes, cold and pressure just aren’t enough.
If your baby is really struggling with teething pain, call your pediatrician and ask if you can give a little bit of OTC pain relief. Depending on their age, they may be allowed to have a bit of medicine to take the edge off and let everyone get some much-needed rest.
Now that you have some great suggestions, you can avoid some common remedies that aren’t quite safe and effective.
My old tried-and-true method of teething pain relief was to stick my clean finger in my baby’s mouth and massage the gums. That is ill-advised during a global pandemic. Wash your hands — and then don’t stick them in your baby’s mouth (or your own.)
Contrary to what our grandmothers told us, you should not give your baby whiskey. Not even a little on the gums. Whiskey is for grownups.
Skip the herbal teething remedies. The FDA has warned against them for years. Not only are they completely ineffective, but they fall under the supplement category and are largely unregulated. They’re just not your best bet.
Amber teething necklaces are popular with the crunchy crowd, but there is no scientific evidence to support their use. There are, however, some really scary choking and strangulation stories. There are safer, more effective ways to help your baby with teething pain than beaded jewelry.
Teething is tough. Your baby is hurting, and so is your parent heart. With these tips, tricks and handy products under your belt, you and your baby will get through it. The adorable pearly whites in their happy grin will all be worth it.