Teething is a developmental milestone that starts in babyhood and then returns again and again until your baby gets all of their teeth.
Top Teething Tips
Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN
Teething is a developmental milestone that starts in babyhood and then returns again and again until your baby gets all of their teeth. If we’re being honest, it’s not an enjoyable time for the baby or for the parent/caregiver. But with patience and preparation, you can make teething a smoother process whether your baby is an infant or a toddler. Here are our top tips and tricks for taking some of the sting out of this toothy time:
Trust in teethers. Believe it or not, the most painful part of teething is not the breaking of the gum, but actually the pressure built up by the descending tooth. So, the sooner the tooth breaks the gum, the happier your baby or child will be. That’s why you should trust in teethers: they put pressure on the gums to help the descending tooth break through more quickly. For added pain relief, we like to put the teethers in the refrigerator so that they are extra cool and soothing on their gums. Just like everything feeding and mouth-related, the type of teether you use is important for developing your baby’s mouth muscles and helping them learn to chew! Click here to shop our favorite teethers.
Expect loose stool or diarrhea during teething. Your baby and child produce so much saliva when they are teething that they swallow a lot of it, and this can cause looser stool. This is completely normal. Just make sure that you change their diaper more frequently to avoid diaper rash.
Expect lots and lots and lots of drool. It will pour out of their mouth. Prepare for the flood by putting a bib on your baby and keeping a burp cloth nearby. You’ll want to wipe the drool off so that it doesn’t cause a rash on their mouth, neck, or chest. For extra slobbery days, you may need to change the bib frequently or swap out their top if the drool wets their shirt. It’s the same idea as diapers: we want to keep them as dry and as comfortable as possible.
Expect a decrease in appetite. Your baby may not want to eat as frequently due to the discomfort of teething. Know that this is normal and just make sure that they stay hydrated with formula/breastmilk as babies and with milk, milk substitutes, and water as toddlers. Click here to read our full post on feeding and teething.
All-Natural Teething Tips
Wet a wash cloth with water or chamomile tea and put it in the refrigerator. This is the best homemade teething toy, period. Chamomile tea is an anti-inflammatory, so it will reduce inflammation and pain. Your baby or child will gnaw on the washcloth and find so much comfort in its coolness and soothing properties. Just remember to wipe their face when they are done so that you prevent any rash from the moisture.
Teethers, teethers and more teethers! While your baby or toddler is teething, keep a teether or two on hand, and if possible, make sure it is cold. You can shop our top teethers here, but some of our favorite brands are the Como Tomo Silicone Teether, the Zoli Bunny Dual Teether, the Fluxy Teether, the Banana Toothbrush, and the NumNum GOOtensils (yes, these spoons double as the perfect teether!). You can also make your own teether out of breastmilk or formula by adding it to a mesh or silicone teether.
Gum oil, made from a blend of essential oils, is a great way to soothe your child’s gums. We love this tooth oil, which is a blend of olive oil, clove, and spearmint that is intended for babies 4 months and older. To apply it, clean your hands and massage the oil into their gums.
Camilia is a great over-the-counter, homeopathic remedy that can help with teething pain.
During the older baby or toddler stage, you can give your child cold celery to gnaw on. Celery contains a compound that is naturally numbing. Cut the celery down so that is about the width of your finger, and monitor your child while they are chewing on it. Before trying this, check with your pediatrician to make sure your baby is ready for something as chewy as celery.
If your baby remains in pain despite your best efforts, contact your pediatrician for guidance and recommendations. Depending on the age of your child, your pediatrician may recommend Acetaminophen or Motrin. Personally, we like Genexaand Little Remedies brand products for pain relief because they are made without fillers or dyes.