Are you in the throes of teething? I am, for the second time… sigh. He only has 2 at the moment but the top two are coming through at exactly the same time and they are driving both me and him mad! There are so many remedies on the market and yet teething continues to be an issue because you probably won’t find that just one product will help. Medicines, gels, powders, toys, rings, natural remedies, old wives’ tales, endless advice from others… It can become overwhelming and even more so when you are sleep deprived and worn out from trying your best to calm your baby down. It can be a case of trial and error to work out exactly what works for your little one but once you get that balance right between medicines and natural teething remedies, you will start to crack it.
Before I go into these natural remedies I wanted to start by acknowledging the fact that there are a lot of people who may be feeling a bit reluctant to give their teething baby medicines, especially as during this stage it feels as though you could give it non-stop but I want to let you know that it is ok to administer pain relief as and when they need it (as long as you follow the guidelines on the box, obviously) If you have a headache you will happily pop a couple of paracetamol, if you have toothache you know exactly how excruciating that can be and will probably be reaching for the ibuprofen. It is no different for your little one and with teething comes pain in other areas too; ears, mouth, gums, head, rash (nappy and dribble) so they will need something to take the edge off.
What I want to cover in this post is what else is available to help your teething baby in-between giving medicine or on the days when they may not quite require paracetamol but may need something else just to soothe them. So here are 13 natural teething remedies for your baby:
If they are sticking their fingers in the mouth (which they all do) it is because that rubbing sensation is providing some much-needed relief from the pain. To help them out you can either use your own clean finger to target the troublesome area or maybe try wrapping a muslin around it to give some texture and of course teething gel will also help. Some people also recommend using a little bit of vanilla essence as vanilla has a calming ability. I’ve not tried it myself but it may be worth a go!
So simple. A damp, cold flannel is amazing for your baby to chew on. It satisfies that biting need, the texture helps to soothe their gums and the cold (either from cold water or from being placed in the fridge) will work on the inflammation.
Breastfeeding is a huge soother for babies. Whether they are ill, tired, in pain or teething, they will always find comfort from your milk. The combination of warmth and smell from your body, the feeling of being cuddled and the ‘magic’ (technical term there!) in the milk provides everything they need. You will often find that a teething baby will want to suckle all night long to make themselves feel a bit better and sometimes this is what you’ll need to do just to get some sleep and to get through that period.
There are plenty of teething ring options on the market and it can be a case of trial and error to work out which type your baby likes the most. Not all babies like cold on their gums. It can be quite shocking for them and if this is the case going for a natural rubber may be better for them. Other choices include water filled, wooden, plastic and ones with textured sides. Just please do not place them in freezers if the brand does not say to do this. The cold can affect the strength of certain materials, frozen water will expand and perish rubber over time and you will be at risk of giving your child ice burn.
As long as your baby is at the weaning stage, cucumber is a great natural remedy for teething. It is cold, it is lovely to bite down on and it is also very healthy! Remove the skin and slice lengthways so you have 4 easy to hold pieces for your baby.
Licorice can be found in health food stores and online (the root not the sweet!) and is known to be soothing to chew on but also aids in numbing those painful gums.
Teething biscuits can be bought over the counter, online or you could even make some yourself. The most well-known in the UK are Bickiepegs which are baked hard enough so that a baby cannot break it but they provide such relief through biting.
However, if you like to bake and if you have the time (and energy!) you can make some lovely biscuits to help soothe your teething baby. German Zwieback Toast is so widely used in Germany that you can even buy it in their shops. However, if you wanted to give it a go, I have the recipe right here for you straight out of my book:
Homemade Ice Lollies
Shop bought ice lollies tend to be full of sugar and colourings but if you make your own, you can make them as healthy as you choose. There are so many recipes available online and you can even tailor these to suit your baby’s tastes and needs. Breastmilk is a great first choice but other simple ideas include blending up a fruit and freezing it. You could even add some solid pieces into the puree for extra chewing satisfaction. You could try mixing a fruit with yoghurt, for example, strawberry or banana with natural yoghurt. You could also create a smoothie out of their favourite fruits and freeze this too. If you want to sweeten your ice lolly you can add a little bit of apple juice, icing sugar or honey. Just don’t go overboard with these as they will obviously be damaging to your baby’s teeth.
Baby massage classes are a great way to bond with your baby and for learning how to help them to relax, soothe and calm, especially during periods of pain caused by colic, trapped wind or teething. A qualified massage instructor will be able to show you how to perform certain actions on your baby’s face to help relieve any pain in their gums. A lovely way to spend time with your baby and to remedy their teething pain in a natural way.
As with massage, you can also seek advice regarding using reflexology to help your baby. Pressure points on the foot all link to areas of the body and when these are manipulated in the right way they can solve all types of ailments, pains and issues, teething included.
Amber is a naturally sourced teething remedy found in the resin of trees. This resin is formed into beads which are then attached to a necklace, bracelet or anklet. You must always look for genuine Amber before purchasing. Look at reviews, check the store’s credibility and look at their jewellery. Genuine Amber jewellery will have a knot between each bead which means that if the thread was ever broken the beads would not fall off and a necklace will be designed in a way so that it would always break before causing strangulation. Both huge factors when it comes to purchasing your jewellery. It is a personal choice as to what you go for, I have always opted for an anklet as it can be safely worn at night as babies tend to wear sleepsuits, socks or go in sleeping bags. A necklace shouldn’t be worn at night and I probably wouldn’t have a bracelet on at night either (my personal feelings).
Anyway, how does it work? Amber contains succinic acid which is a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and contains anti-inflammatory properties. When worn next to the skin, the body absorbs this and it will help with calming your baby, reducing dribbling, clear flushed cheeks and tackle some of that irritability.
Teething granules are naturally homeopathic or traditional herbal registration products which are designed to soothe and calm babies during those distraught times in teething. You give them by placing on your baby’s tongue and allowing them to dissolve. They contain chamomile which naturally calms, reduces flushed cheeks and dribbling. There are a range of brands available on the market and I am sure you’ve heard of the big ones such as Nelson’s, Ashton and Parsons and Weleda.
Such a simple natural remedy. Purchase a soft-bristled toothbrush and let them munch away to relieve those painful gums. Some parents have also recommended using a toothbrush to apply teething gels as you can get to the right spot better than you can with a finger.
There are a lot of other natural teething remedy tips out there but all I can say to that is to use your own common sense and do some background checks too. There are a lot of suggestions which I would never use myself (anything with alcohol, anything that could cause choking, irritation) and some that aren’t even needed as there are plenty of safer options out there. I know teething is a tough time, believe me, I really do know, and a month can feel like a year when sleep is lacking, when your baby keeps crying, when you are constantly battling the sickness, the dribble and the poo explosions! BUT it won’t last forever. I promise you will forget it all… and then you can relive it all again with the next!!
If you need more tips, advice, support on teething then please do check out my book ‘Your Teething Baby, from one parent to another’ over on Amazon.
Are there any natural teething remedies that you could also recommend?
*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
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