Time and time again you hear the same question about teething: "what is the answer?!" I became so fed up of asking this question myself that I decided to do my own research. As a first-time Mum, I had no idea about what remedies were on the market, I had never perused the baby aisles or been into Mothercare, I was clueless about this development and with no leaflets or books to help me I felt at a complete loss. I had to sit on the internet and look up all that I wanted to know, I had to ask family and friends what their experiences had been, I even wrote facebook statuses begging for others’ advice! My son was in pain, very dribbly, had eczema brought on by his distress, had nappy rash, was off his food, wasn’t sleeping and of course, neither were we. From all of my research and questioning, I became a bit of a ‘go to’ person amongst my Mum friends and when one joked that I could write a book. The idea just stuck. I sat down and began to write, covering every area I’d had questions about. I had this need to help other parents where I found very little, and so, ‘Your Teething Baby, from one parent to another’ was produced. A one-stop informative book which covers what teething is, the order the teeth (usually) arrive, the history of teething, remedies on the market, homemade remedies, old wives’ tales, remedies from around the world, symptoms and oral care; as well as helpful tips, quotes from parents and reassurance.
So, from my book I am going to share with you some of the remedies which feature and explain how they may be able to help your little one through this tough time.
Infant Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
There are plenty of versions of these available across the market and all work in the same way but please do check each for their own dosage rates as these may vary. Paracetamol is a remedy for pain, fevers, colds and shouldn’t be overlooked when your baby is teething. Some parents think this should be a last resort due to it being a medicine but if your child is in pain you can help their discomfort straight away with this. Always follow the advice on the box.
Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory and will help to reduce swelling in the gums, reduce the pain and a fever. You can alternate these throughout the day when your baby is having a particularly tough time. Keep track of dosages by noting them down and make sure you do not go over the recommended amount for the day.
These are naturally homeopathic or traditional herbal registration products which are designed to calm and soothe babies during distraught periods due to teething. They are administered orally by allowing the powder to dissolve on the tongue. They contain Chamomile which has been used for hundreds of years to help soothe bloated stomachs, trapped wind and to relax the body and mind to aid in a good night’s sleep. These will not only reduce flushed cheeks, dribbling and soothe gums but they will also help with tummy upsets caused by the excess saliva produced during teething. I spoke to Ashton and Parsons, Nelsons Teetha and Weleda during my research and all three feature in my book. If your baby is lactose intolerant you will need to purchase the granules produced by Weleda as these are sucrose based. Always check ingredients and dosage rates on the boxes.
These have antiseptic and anaesthetic properties and are applied onto the area of the cutting tooth to provide temporary pain relief. If you cannot get your finger in the right place to apply the gel, try applying it to a toothbrush and gently brush over the gums. The brushing sensation will also be very soothing. Examples of gels available on the market are Bonjela, Dentinox, Nelsons Teetha and Anbesol- which is also available as a liquid.
This is one of the controversial remedies- although if you look at what has been tried over the years, this one is far cry from some of the crazy ideas we once had! (Hare brains anyone?!)
The facts of amber are that if you buy an item of jewellery from a genuine stockist it is designed to break before causing strangulation (if you choose a necklace). If it does break each bead is individually knotted on and therefore cannot become a choking hazard. You can opt for an anklet, as I did, which can be worn under a sock, sleep suit and kept on at night. In Europe, it is the ‘norm’ to see a child wearing amber from birth.
It was a last option for us but I immediately saw less dribbling, he settled more easily and slept better. He wore his for about 8 months whilst his last molars were cutting through. I would personally use amber again.
There are some very well-known products on the market, such as Sophie la girafe, Nuby toys and MAM teethers. All are specifically designed to aid in softening the gums in order to help the teeth cut and to really satisfy those chewing and biting needs. Be careful with other toys you have around the house and even more so if you are visiting playgroups/baby groups because these toys will be much more well-used and possibly prone to breaking easily. At this time anything will be placed in the mouth to ease teething and you need to keep a very close eye on them. Also, make sure these items are regularly sterilised. Excess dribble, friends’ babies also putting the toys in their mouths, toys ending up on the floor and a lot of viral infections at this age means you need to sterilise more often.
This one is a very simple method to help to take your baby’s mind off the discomfort they are in. Baby classes, day’s out, visits to friends and family and playing games will all help. Plus, if things get too much for you, if you are worn out from the sleepless nights and tired from the upset do remember to take time out for yourself and have a Grandparent/family member babysit. Chances are your baby won’t kick up such a fuss with them!
Tip- Make sure you always pack all your remedies in your bag for going out. If you are really organised you could have one set for home and one set in the nappy bag, that way you will have one less thing to think about!
• A clean finger to rub onto the gums.
• A cold flannel to chew on.
• Homemade *ice lollies.
• Homemade teething biscuits. In Germany *Zwieback Toast is a popular remedy.
• Baby massage techniques.
• Acupressure and Acupuncture. Always seek professional advice.
• Cold carrot and cucumber to chew on. Never leave a baby unattended.
*recipes are provided in the book
DO NOT freeze any items in case of damage to current teeth or the chance of parts breaking off and becoming a choking hazard. I have often heard of bananas being frozen but I wouldn’t personally take the risk.
The key to helping your baby through their teething journey is to get the balance just right. You need to look at each symptom and treat each one with the appropriate remedy. If they are in pain use your infant paracetamol, if they have flushed cheeks try the granules, if they are biting everything in sight try teething toys, if they aren’t sleeping well at night try an amber anklet. The worst thing you can do is panic and become worked up. If they aren’t eating very well just go with what they will eat, their appetite will return once their symptoms subside. If they are screaming the house down get them out and about, go somewhere they like and you should both be able to relax. If they have nappy rash try some nappy free time to allow the air to dry it all out and use a barrier cream to help with healing. And if you need to co-sleep, if you need to rock, if you need to drive around for an hour to get them to nap just go with it. They won’t be teething forever and even though it seems endless right now I can promise you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you would like to find out more about Emma’s book you can read more over on her blog. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You can purchase Your Teething Baby, from one parent to another on Amazon