With my first child I found that supporting my baby through the pain of teething was one of the hardest elements of being a parent. Nobody prepares you for the extent to which the process of teething alters your baby or toddler's normal behaviour. It is heart-breaking to watch your otherwise cheerful child suffer so much distress when they are unable to explain to you what the problem is, or how you can help them. With the imminent arrival of my second child, I have taken this chance to reflect on the many different teething remedies I tried to help my baby relieve teething pain.
1. Amber necklace
An amber necklace is an ancient and traditional remedy for teething pain. The necklace works by slowly releasing naturally occurring analgesic oils onto your child's skin to help soothe pain and reduce distress. I was sceptical at first but astonished by the results - our amber teething necklace became our number one approach to battling teething pain. If you are thinking of buying a teething necklace for your baby, be sure to choose a necklace designed specifically to withstand the destructive tendencies of babies and toddlers!
2. Teething bling
Teething necklaces are not just for babies! Recent years have seen a surge in demand for stylish necklaces for new mums that are suitable for wearing around inquisitive babies and toddlers. Teething necklaces for mums are made from materials that can withstand chewing and, in many cases, are specifically designed to be rewarding and safe for your child to gnaw upon.
3. Teethers & teething dummies
Plastic teethers were my most instinctive first choice as a new mum. They are easy to get hold of and come in all shapes and sizes. Some teethers are filled with water or gel that can be frozen to offer a numbing relief to raw gums. Others are shaped like a dummy so that they are familiar to your baby and easy to remove from their mouth. Our favourite was a teething dummy designed to massage the gums for those very first teeth.
4. Teething toys
One step beyond the traditional teether is the teething toy with Sophie La Girafe being one of the most iconic teething toys available. Teething toys are soft, bendy and chewy and should be decorated with materials safe for baby's mouth. The beauty of a teething toy is that it can be used to distract from the pain, as well as relieve it.
5. Teething gel
Teething gel seemed to be my baby's favourite teething remedy - it always brought out a smile! Teething gels can be found as herbal remedies or as off-the-shelf medicines which are applied directly to your child's gums. Gels usually work by mildly numbing the area they contact.
6. Teething powders
Teething powders (such as Ashton & Parsons) are highly recommended among my mummy friends but I'll admit that we only ever found the relief to last for a few minutes. Powders are often herbal and are applied to the tongue. Powdered remedies claim to not only target the pain but also relief the restlessness and the stomach upsets that can often accompany teething.
7. Teething rubs
I remain to be convinced that teething rubs can offer the level of relief that a pesky back tooth demands. Teething rubs are applied to the outside of the face and are usually blends of naturally occurring oils (sometimes in a liquid, sometimes in a balm) designed to offer a holistic, natural approach to pain relief.
8. Paracetamol / Ibuprofen suspensions
I've always seen medication as a last resort but there is no doubt that the correct dose of an infant suspension can provide comprehensive temporary relief of teething pain. Note that the government recommended dosages for infant paracetamol products has changed recently so always read the label careful to ensure the correct dose.
9. Frozen vegetables
Why not try cutting up some carrot or cucumber sticks and then placing them in the freezer so that when your baby is suffering from teething pain, you can give them a frozen vegetable ice lolly to numb the pain?
10. Teething rusks / biscuits
While sweet round rusks might sound like a teething solution from the 70s or 80s, these days you can buy biscuits and rusks such as Bickiepegs that contain no added sugar and are designed specifically to exercise the jaws and gums during teething. You should aim to avoid overly sweet or sugary foods for a young, teething baby.