All Natural Teething Remedies for Your Suffering Infant
All Natural Teething Remedies: Carrots and...Plates?
It's a common dilemma. You want relief for your teething baby. However, you'd prefer to use all natural teething remedies, instead of drugs.
There's an abundance of wacky suggestions out there for teething. Here are the NON-wacky natural solutions worth trying.
Yes, there is no bee venom or raw-egg-in-a-bag suggestions here. (don't ask...) Just the kind of natural teething relief you would expect to find. Teas,
oils, foods, stones...only those remedies that have been used successfully for centuries.
The first rule of homeopathic teething remedies is this: give your baby something safe to chew on. As the teeth are growing, the cells in the gum tissue
start to break down, creating a gap for the tooth to poke through.
The natural urge your baby develops to bite and chew while teething is his body's way
of helping that process. The more pressure he puts on those cells, the more the cells will break down and let the tooth come up.
With that basic premise in mind, here are some suggestions that will help you as you seek those "safe chewables", as well as provide other relief
when he's sleeping, and not chewing.
All-Natural Teething Aids To Have On Hand
Before I dive into the solutions, though, I thought it may be helpful to provide a brief list of items you should probably have in stock and ready
before those first pearly whites come peeping through.
Clean washcloths and bibs.
A damp washcloth is a great thing for baby to suck and chew on. The bibs keep his chin and mouth as dry as possible, preventing any bacteria from
setting up a rash colony. For extra help, try freezing a damp washcloth for a few minutes. The cold will help numb the gums.
A thin coating of vaseline on his chin and neck will provide some protection against the constant drool dripping all over. This constant
wetness invites bacteria to settle down and start a colony (also known as a rash).
All-natural wooden or BPA-free teethers are available, if you know where to find them. I've uncovered the best of these eco-and-baby-happy teethers
in my teether research here.
All-natural infant medicines and teething medications.
Hylands Teething Tablets or
are a natural-Mama favorite for teething relief.
(Paraben-wary mothers should choose the tablets instead of the gel.)
Hylands products are not Vegan, since both contain lactose. Vegans may prefer
this lactose-free medication
from Boiron Homeopathic instead.
A soothing toy or favorite blanket.
It's amazing how much a comforting toy or blankie (we call them Meemee blankets) can soothe a cranky infant. It's a great first step in providing
distraction and nighttime care.
Several food feeders.
I cannot tell you how wonderful these are. Keep reading in this article to see why I say "several".
Various helpful teething foods.
Again, see below for more on this.
Natural Teething Remedies: Using Food as a Soother
Food is one of the oldest natural teething remedies available. However, as with anything you're putting into your baby's body, you'll need to follow
some basic guidelines.
Choosing Age-Appropriate Soothing Foods
First, make sure the food you are giving her is age appropriate. For example, cold yogurt and chilled applesauce are tasty, and help to numb the gums and
provide relief. However, you'll want to make sure her system is ready for the foods you're giving.
If you're not sure what months are best for
which foods, I recommend getting a good kitchen guidebook for an easy go-to-reference book. (The Internet is great, but sometimes grabbing a
book and looking it up is just faster.) Several of the best books on baby food not only
show you when to give her the right foods, but guide you on how to make her food (quickly and easily) at home. You'll save a ton of money
doing this, and it really can be done in less than 30 minutes on Saturdays. (See my reviews of the best baby food books here.)
For babies older than a year, a bottle of chilled water can also provide comfort to an aching mouth.
Make it Choke-Proof
If you're going to give your infant whole-foods to gnaw on, you should be extra cautious to follow some anti-choking guidelines. First, if it's a hard
surface, like a chilled carrot stick, celery, or pickle keep a close eye on how successful her gnawing is. If she has teeth on the top and bottom of her mouth,
she'll be able to bite off pieces, creating a choking hazard.
Personally, I found carrot sticks as one of my best natural teething remedies. However, I only offered them while my infant had either no teeth, or only
top teeth. Once those bottom teeth came in and she could actually bite, I switched to something else.
In regards to teething biscuits or frozen bagel slices, it is important that if some pieces were to break off in your baby's mouth, they would be soft
enough (thanks to the drool) to be swallowed harmlessly.
For older babies, perhaps getting their molars or getting closer to their 2nd birthday, I recommend making some pureed-fruit popsicles for gnawing.
Yes, it will be messy. But your infant will be getting good nutrition, having fun, and getting relief all at the same time. (Also try freezing
some homeopathic herbal teas. See the "homeopathic" section below for more on this.)
I prefer a child-size popsicle set. They fit well in little hands, and you won't have nearly as much to throw away when your little guy decides he's finished.
My Little Natural Teething Relief Secret
The Sassy Feeder
Finally, one of my best "secrets" in regard to natural teething remedies, are Feeders. These things are awesome. You cut up in large
chunks a pear, peach, apple, cooked carrot, broccoli...any food that is age-appropriate for your baby (see above for info on that).
Your baby holds the feeder like a pacifier and happily gnaws away on the chilled food. The net keeps all the food inside, preventing any choking hazards.
He enjoys the flavor, the relief, and the chewing experience. You enjoy a happily distracted infant, without any anxiety about choking.
I have several of these that I carry around with me during "teething season". When your baby succeeds in pulverizing the food, you open it, empty
the remains in the trash, and then toss it in the dishwasher to be ready for Round Two in the morning.
I've found three feeders worth recommending.
This feeder by Baby Safe is a favorite, since you get two feeders and extra mesh bags. After about
a month of washings and gnawings, my bags looked pretty ratty. It's a good price (approx. $13) for 2 great feeders and extra nets.
The second most popular feeder
is by Sassy. This feeder is less expensive (usually under $8) but only includes one feeder and no extra bags. However, it does
come with a cover for the net (protect your purse from leftover smashed peaches on the way home), and a chilled handle that can also be gnawed on (since
babies don't care about the "right" end to chew on something). Extra nets are available, but you'll have to purchase them separately.
The third feeder worth recommending is called
"The Nibbler" by Nuby
(don't you just love that name?). It's priced under $10 for 2 feeders. The hole for the food
is a little smaller than the others, so you'll have to dice the food before placing inside. It's also BPA chemical free.
Babies have been teething since Cain and Abel. Be encouraged. Somehow those all those parents survived, and so will you. Over the centuries, some
very interesting all natural teething remedies have been used.
Homeopathy is in the "alternative" branch of medicine. It is centered around the idea that tiny amounts of substances can stimulate your body's
immune system to provide it's own healing.
(As opposed to pharmaceuticals which often provide the healing by working with your body.
In homeopathy, your body is doing 100% of the healing.)
Here are some of the natural teething remedies that some parents still use today. I'm not necessarily encouraging you to use them (like the rum!).
My purpose here is to simply share them.
Using Herbs, Oils, and Alcohols
Here are some of the simplest homeopathic teething suggestions you can try at home.
Rubbing a little olive oil, diluted with carrier oil, onto the gums can provide relief.
Make a very weak chamomile tea and place in the fridge to cool. Offer the tea to your baby in the form of a popsicle or in a
bottle. This remedy is for babies older than 1 year old. At this age, a little honey can be added for sweetness. (Babies under one should not be given honey.)
Babies under one can try the weakened tea in breastmilk. You may enjoy a cup of soothing chamomile as well!
Rub a small piece of ginger root on his gums to soothe.
A teeny tiny amount of tahini paste (sesame seed oil) on the gums.
A small amount of clove oil, diluted with carrier oil can be very helpful. However, be cautious in the amount, since
too much can cause your infant to have an upset stomach. Clove oil has warming and numbing properties that are useful in toothaches.
A natural licorice stick (not the candy!) is also a great homeopathic teething remedy.
Wild fennel (which is a sister to natural licorice) can also be used for chewing on or sucking for natural teething relief.
Some parents find that rubbing some pure Vanilla extract on the sore gums is helpful to baby as well. The alcohol in the extract
can create a warm sensation for temporary relief. Also, Vanilla is widely acknowledged as a soothing agent that reduces anxiety and promotes feeling
of calmness. It has also been known to cure upset stomaches. If your infant's tummy aches from constant crying or excessive drool-swallowing, Vanilla
can help calm it down.
It sounds like child abuse, but other parents have used a teeny-tiny amount of rum (applied with a Q-tip) on the gums
and have found it works well. This isn't a bottle of hard liquour. It's a small amount applied with a Q-tip. Most cold medicines and many OTC teething
gels contain alcohol in them in small amounts, so it's not necessarily unheard of. I'm not necessarily recommending this! I'm just pointing out that
some parents have used it successfully as a last resort.
If using one of these natural teething remedies sounds like something you'd like to try, you can find them at your local natural health store. Or,
if you'd rather not take the trip, here's where I buy my herbals online.
Natural Teething Remedies: The Great Amber Teething Necklace Debate
An Amber Teething Necklace
Amber is petrified tree resin (which is actually different than tree sap, a common misconception).
The most common places to find high quality amber is in the Baltic area of Eastern
Europe and the Dominican Republic and surround islands in the Carribean. However, most fans of amber teething necklaces say the Baltic amber is best.
There is much disagreement and debate in the teething world regarding the benefits and risks of teething necklaces, particularly amber teething necklaces.
Some people are fanatical in their insistence upon the wonders of amber and agate for teething relief. Others as just as fanatical about the risks
and waste of purchasing these baby necklaces.
Here's a summary of their great debate, so you can decide for yourself whether to give it a try.
The Anti-Amber Teething Necklace Crowd
Here's a list of the most common arguments against purchasing an amber teething necklace as one of your natural teething remedies.
Wrapping a string around your infant's neck isn't a safe thing to do. Babies, constantly moving, don't have the coordination
or understanding to keep necklaces from getting caught on things or becoming twisted and tightened.
The amber (or agate) beads used in the necklace are small. If the necklace was to break, the beads would become easy-access choking
hazards. Teething rings with large amber stones are extremely expensive and pretty darn rare. Most families would not be able to afford them.
Most anti-amber individuals are just skeptical that something worn on the outside can affect the way the body
works on the inside.
The Pro-Amber Teething Necklace Crowd
Here's a list of all the common arguments for why you should purchase an amber teething necklace as one of your natural teething
Amber teething necklaces can be safely worn by keeping the necklace on the inside of your baby's clothes, against his skin. This
prevents twisting or catching. Also, taking the necklace off when he is out of your site (for naps and bedtime especially) helps to prevent tragic
The necklaces should have a knot before and after each bead, to secure the beads as much as possible and add strength
to the overall necklace.
The amber teething necklace is not for chewing. It is for wearing. It is hard to the touch, but it can be chewed through.
Amber contains succinic acid, which is a natural pain reliever. Since it is not a mineral (it's resin), it is warm to the touch
and easily absorbs heat. For this reason, it has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation.
If you really want to use 100% all natural teething remedies to help your baby through the teething process, I say it's worth a try. However,
be very diligent to watch your baby while she's wearing the necklace and ALWAYS take it off when she's sleeping.
Since there's somewhat of a gamble involved, if you decide to get one I recommend choosing a lower-cost necklace.
That way, if it's a bust for your baby, you didn't lose your shirt paying for it.
Below are some of the current low-cost options available on eBay.
The best way to see if all natural teething remedies will work for your infant is to try them. I hope these suggestions serve you with
lots of things to try and consider as you attempt to provide the relief that your baby is screaming for in a natural way.
Parents have been helping their infants through the teething process for centuries without medications and drugs. With a little foresight
and with the research I've provided here, you can do the same.
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