Teething pain is no fun for anyone, especially baby. As parents look for ways to soothe their little one’s discomfort, doctors recommend turning to natural solutions to provide much-needed relief. “I like putting frozen fruit in the mesh containers and letting them chew on it,” suggests Gina Posner, MD, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. “You can also use a frozen washcloth to let them chew on and teething toys are also very effective.” Of course, if teething pain is causing your baby to feel a great deal of discomfort, “Don’t be afraid to use acetaminophen or ibuprofen,” advises Dr. Posner. However, she cautions, “never use Orajel as it is dangerous for babies or the homeopathic teething tablets because they are too uncontrolled and have had too many recalls.” Parents can also try one of these safe options to soothe teething (most are med-free!)
All you need is a clean finger for this old-fashioned teething remedy. Gentle counter-pressure from Mom or Dad applied to a baby’s sore gums can help ease the pain of teething.
A spoon chilled in the fridge (not the freezer, or it can stick!) can offer much-needed relief. Just apply the rounded part of the spoon to baby’s gums. Best for before any teeth actually break through to avoid the risk of chipping a tooth.
Frozen or merely chilled, a cold wet washcloth (dipped in water, breast milk, or—as some mom’s swear by—chamomile tea) can be comforting for baby to gnaw on.
Every baby teethes in her own way. While sucking may aggravate teething pain for some babies (sometimes leading to a nursing strike), others may want to nurse more often for the sheer comfort of it. Is your baby using mama’s nipples as a teething toy? Teething does not need to mean the end of breastfeeding; if your baby seems tempted to bite during nursing, try rubbing a clean finger over her gums before beginning and ending the session once she seems full, but not yet bored.
Plush Teething Toy
A soft plush toy from an organic brand like Under the Nile is a safe option for baby to chew on when teething is a pain. We love their fruits and veggies line, like this Green Bean Toy, as well as their Cotton Butterfly Ring Toy and Bunny Blanket Friend because they’re both super soft and machine washable.
Under the Nile Green Bean Toy, ($12; amazon.com)
OTC Pain Reliever
Be sure to ask your pediatrician first (especially for early teethers, as doctor’s approval should be given for acetaminophen in babies less than 3 months of age and ibuprofen in babies less than 6 months of age), but some parents find that a dose of infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen can work wonders, especially during a tough middle-of-the-night screaming episodes. Make sure to read the product labeling fully, especially in light of changes to the formulation of OTC versions of acetaminophen for infants.
Teething Jewelry for Moms
Moms of teething babes know that their little ones will grab just about anything within reach and start chomping. Fortunately, specially designed teething jewelry like this by Bebe by Me ‘Harper’ Hard and Soft Cushy Beads All-in-One Teething Necklace provide instant pain relief while stimulating sensory development. Made with toxin-free silicone and FDA approved. Made to massage and soothe sensitive gums. Baby will like the comforting relief while mom will love that the teething necklace is machine washable and freezer friendly.
Bebe by Me ‘Harper’ Hard and Soft Cushy Beads All-in-One Teething Necklace, ($15; amazon.com)
This Nibblit Cactus Teething Toy Toothbrush offers comforting relief to soothe baby’s sore gums with a toothbrush to help prevent cavities. Easy for baby to grasp with soothing bristles to ease gum pain and irritation.
Nibblit Cactus Teething Toy Toothbrush, ($7; amazon.com)
Teether with Massage Bristles
This Nuby Silicone TeeThe-EEZ Teether with Bristles works to gently massage baby’s sore gums with soft bristles that stimulate and clean. Recommended for little ones ages 3 months and older.
Nuby Silicone TeeThe-EEZ Teether with Bristles, ($6; amazon.com)
Wooden Teether Ring
Babies like to gnaw on all kinds of things, especially things that really don’t belong in their mouths. Next time baby reaches for the remote as a snack, hand her a sweet wooden teether, like this Amyster Wooden Teether Ring. This wooden teether is made with natural non-toxic wood and food-grade silicone. It’s safe for baby and provides natural relief from teething pain.
Amyster Wooden Teether Ring, ($10; amazon.com)
Sophie the Giraffe has been helping babies get through teething for more than 50 years. Made of 100% natural rubber (BPA- and phthalate-free) and food paint, this squeaky toy made in the French Alps will likely prove to be one of your babe’s faves. We’re also fans of this Hevea Panda Teether, made from 100% natural rubber latex (free of BPA, PVC, pthalates and artificial colors).
Sophie The Giraffe Rubber Teether, ($30; amazon.com)
Chilled fruit, like apple slices or banana, placed inside of a mesh feeder like this Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder can provide relief (and a tasty snack) for a baby with sore gums.
Two Pack Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder, ($7; amazon.com)
Sometimes a change of scenery or activity is all it takes to help distract baby from teething pain, at least temporarily. Try running a bath for baby—the warm water may help him to relax—or even just some giving some unexpected cuddle time.
Placing a solid or liquid-filled teether in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before offering it to baby can amp up its soothing powers. We like these easy-to-grab, water-filled Bright Starts Teethers. Easy to clean and BPA-free.
Bright Starts Teethers, ($3; amazon.com)
Another popular option for teething tots are silicone teethers, like this Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether. Dishwasher safe, this teether is BPA-, phthalate-, PVC- and latex-free. This comforting teether features a non-choking design with multiple grabbing and biting points so relief is always close at hand.
Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether, ($7; amazon.com)
The First Years Massaging Action Teether is not only multi-textured, it gently vibrates when baby chomps on the star points, which helps stimulate gums.
The First Years Massaging Action Teether, ($9; amazon.com)
If baby is old enough (around 4 months), try offering a slow flow sippy cup like this Munchkin LATCH Transition Cup filled with cool water to suck on for comfort.
Munchkin LATCH Transition Cup, ($9; amazon.com)
Since baby’s hands stay in their mouth, this NubyTeething Mitten is ideal for easing teething pain. The handy teething mitten is made with drool absorbing, breathable fabric and has an adjustable velcro strap to prevent it from falling off.
Nuby Teething Mitten, ($10; amazon.com)