Lack of sleep. Irritability. Drooling.
Sound like someone you might know?
Alright, alright, to be fair that sounds like a lot of us right about now, but we’re talking about your teething baby!
Quarantine life is hard enough without having to contend with a little munchkin that is none-too-happy about their new teeth coming in. The tooth fairy might have been named an ‘essential worker’ in New Zealand, but that doesn’t mean that your little one will see them any time soon to help ease the pain with some of that good old-fashioned bribery.
Although we might not have the same pizazz as that tooth fairy, we at RADIUS have been in your shoes and we’re here to help you out with 13 teething hacks that you’ll be thankful to know!
Before we do that, though, let’s talk about the basics of teething. Teething typically starts at around 6 months old (although in some rare cases milk teeth can even form in utero!) and lasts for a period of about 2 years. Don’t worry though, the teething will not last that entire time, it’s on a tooth by tooth basis. Basically, each tooth will take about a week to emerge and then you’ll have a reprieve until the next tooth decides to make its debut.
And now we’ve got the fundamentals out of the way…onto some helpful tips!
1. Frozen: It’s not just a great movie.
It’s also something to keep in mind when it comes to your teething baby. Certain foods and objects that are easily frozen such as fruit, waffles, bagels, or even a washcloth can be helpful to give your baby to ease some of the discomfort. However, word to the wise, make sure it’s not completely frozen. Let it melt for a couple minutes or even just let it cool off in the fridge for a while instead. Why? If you give them something that’s too hard, you run the risk of bruising their little gums…and no one wants that!
2. Even babies need bubble baths after a long day!
It’s hard being a baby sometimes, and harder when you can’t understand why you’re in pain. The warm water, the whimsical bubbles, the routine…it’ll help them feel calm and relaxed.
3. An Apple a Day keeps the teething at bay.
Some cold applesauce is not only nutritious and delicious, but helps to soothe sore gums! Other apple products that might be useful? Apple rings or slices that you let cool down in the fridge can also ease some discomfort. Some have also recommended a refrigerated apple core, but given the seeds contain a compound that degrades into hydrogen cyanide when ingested, we suggest maybe not going that route to be on the safe side.
4. Put a ring on it!
Teething rings that is! Babies love teething rings particularly when you refrigerate them. A couple tips: 1) Make sure that the rings don’t contain any phthalates, chemical plasticizers which can be ingested and ultimately harmful for your baby and 2) Don’t get the teething rings with liquid in them. Surprisingly, babies can chew through them and you don’t want the run the risk of them ingesting the liquid inside. You may also want to try Curious George’s chewy cousin “Matchstick Monkey”, which is similar to a teething ring, but is easier for your baby to hold and play with while chewing.
5. And speaking of jewelry…
Some people recommend Baltic amber teething necklaces, which they say contains succinic acid that is released into the body when the amber warms up against the skin producing a calming and relieving effect. There is currently no concrete scientific evidence to corroborate this claim, but it has been used for centuries. However, since it is a choking risk, particularly if the beads are small, we recommend you use this remedy cautiously and closely supervise your infant during.
6. Just a spoonful.
Put a spoon in the refrigerator for a few minutes, then apply the spoon directly to our baby’s gums. It’ll give them some much-needed, quick relief. Heck, it might not be the worst idea to keep some spoons in the fridge for emergency purposes.
7. Time for a Fashion Show.
Well, now we’ve made it to the drooling portion of our article. Babies drool A LOT when they’re teething, and you want to make sure it doesn’t stay long on their faces or you can end up with some nasty rashes. Why not help catch some drool and some cute pictures of your baby in an array of handkerchiefs and bibs. If you’re worried about cost because your baby goes through so many bibs a day, try buying plain white bibs, getting some cute iron-on appliques, and making your own! Fox in socks on a bib, yes please!
8. Would you like a cup of tea?
Chamomile tea has long been praised for easing teething symptoms. Why? It contains an antioxidant called apigenin that induces sleep and relieves anxiety. You can either apply the tea directly to their gums or you can give them a few small sips from a spoon. Get the tea parties started early. Speak in the Queen’s tongue while you’re doing it and bam! Instant entertainment for the whole family.
9. …. with some biscuits?
Healthy teething biscuits are great to snack on while teething. There are tons of great recipes out there as well if you’re a whiz in the kitchen!
10. Did someone say popsicle?
Milk popsicle, that is! Yes, we already said frozen foods, but this one was just too interesting to NOT have its own category. It is EXACTLY what it sounds like. If you’re breast feeding, you can put some breast milk, along with a pacifier, in each slot. Wait a few hours and presto! Otter pops have got nothing on milksicles.
11. Give them the finger….
no! Not that one obviously! But if you use a clean finger and gently massage your infant's gums, it can help. Believe us, the drool is worth the relief.
12. Time for the good stuff.
If the pain is unmanageable, you may want to try some western medicine with infant acetaminophen or even teething gels. However, make sure you avoid any products that contain choline salicylate and benzocaine as they can be dangerous because they reduce oxygen in the blood.
13. Mommy (and/or Daddy) knows best!
Sometimes, all your baby needs is to be fed and cuddled. Pain, for all of us, is a lot easier to handle if we feel safe and loved. Sometimes love really is all you need.
So that’s some advice from us parents here at RADIUS.
One more thing, it’s REALLY important to take care of your baby’s gums and their teeth when they emerge. Be sure to clean your baby’s gums regularly since teething can result in some abrasions on the gums and you want to make sure you are actively working to prevent infection. Once the teeth emerge, be sure you are cleaning them regularly. RADIUS offers products to keep your kid’s teeth healthy and happy.
Good luck, parents! You got this.