He is 3 months old and has started gnawing on his hands. It’s too early! We just finished 6 months ago with our last child. Here we go again!
Their appearance is inevitable. Necessary, yet often a dreaded part of the journey. Some babies are not affected at all by teething but, for others, it can be a very painful process that leads to a cranky household. My first son was the former. He would nap for a solid 2-3 hours, something that was otherwise unheard of with him, and wake up with a tooth. My second was up all night for weeks and crying and fussing and often had an elevated temperature so we had to pull out all the stops to help him out.
We chose to stick with alternatives to conventional medications for our children so I did some research and experimentation and found some natural teething remedies that worked.
1. Breastfeeding: Some babies will nurse more frequently while teething to soothe both their emotions as well as their gums. It’s simple and free. And often all that’s needed to help a baby through. Here’s a great article that addresses breastfeeding while teething in more detail.
2. Amber teething necklace: I put one on my second son at about 8 months, skeptical about it making any difference. My husband was actually the one who noticed within a couple days that he was crying less. Contact with warm skin releases succinic acid that acts as a natural pain relief. The more beads and the closer to the source of pain, the better it will work (a necklace will be more effective than a bracelet or anklet). If you are nervous about your baby wearing a necklace at night, you can wrap it around an ankle instead. It will be less effective but better than completely removing it.
3. Cold rag: You can either wet a rag and place it in the fridge or freezer, or you can secure an ice cube or some crushed ice in the rag (using string, a bag clip, or even a hair elastic) and give it to baby to chew on. Simple yet effective. Just keep in mind that the numbing sensation can make breastfeeding a little more difficult for the time being.
4. Refrigerated spoon: Simple to hold on to and works great. One of our favorites for molars was a refrigerated Sling Ring. Easy for a baby to grip and he could put it just far enough in his mouth to avoid his front teeth and just gum it.
5. Frozen fruit: If your baby is taking solid foods, a frozen banana or peach slice can be a great pain relief. You can often let them chew directly on the fruit but another option is to put it in a mesh bag made specifically for babies (like this one).
6. Wooden toy: I have not personally used this method but it has been recommended by several friends. Here is a great organic maple teething ring or you could get a bamboo spoon that is not only great for teething but can also be personalized and used as a regular spoon as baby gets older.
7. Hyland’s Teething Tablets These were a lifesaver when the above remedies just weren’t enough. We used them a lot when our little man was cutting the more difficult teeth, like canines and molars. It’s also helpful at night when things like a frozen rag just isn’t practical. Not only do they provide pain relief, they also have calming properties (chamomilla) that helped with soothing crankiness enough for my son to sleep. (I also have a friend who has given them to her son before car trips and she says it woks like a charm to calm him enough to sleep instead of cry.)
I’m hoping our newest little man will take after his older brother and just sleep extra when he cuts teeth but, in case he doesn’t, I’m going to be prepared.
Do you have a favorite natural remedies that I could add to my arsenal?