The best remedies for teething

by Shannon on August 1, 2011

Just when I think I’ve got this mommy thing down a new adventure starts and leaves me tirelessly doing tons of research on what’s the best thing to do.

Trinity has been the easiest baby. I sometimes wonder what on earth I would have done had I had a colicy or fussy baby. Even though she’s super easy there are still some days when I want to shout “Calgon…take me away!!” (just a little remnant from my childhood)

Now we’re in the midst of some serious teething. So far, Trinity’s gotten her two front bottom teeth and 1 of her top front teeth. The second top front tooth is cutting through as we speak so the last few days have been a bit challenging.

Once Trinity started teething, I did a ton of research on what the best remedies to assist her would be. I wanted to provide all natural, homeopathic solutions for her to make her more comfortable. Below you’ll find a couple of solutions I’ve used that have been great.

First, the signs that your baby may be teething (as taken from WhatToExpect.com):

  • Drooling. You might find that your baby’s shirts are suddenly soggy. Fasten on a bib to keep her more comfortable (and cleaner), and gently wipe her chin throughout the day to stave off chapping (if that doesn’t work, ask your doctor about a mild moisturizer such as Aquaphor or even Lansinoh nipple cream). Pooling saliva may also cause a slight cough or even trigger the gag reflex. If she’s otherwise healthy, you can safely ignore both.
  • Gnawing. She’s not trying to be naughty. Little nips at your fingers, breast (ouch!), or her spoon help relieve the pressure she feels from under her gums.
  • Crying. Some babies breeze through teething with nary a whimper, while others suffer from a good deal of pain — which they feel compelled to share with you in the form of whining or crying. Talk to your doctor about when to administer pain relievers such as infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Fasting. Since sucking movements can worsen teething pressure or pain, your baby may refuse to nurse or eat, or may nurse briefly and then turn away. Keep at it, and call your pediatrician if the strike lasts more than a few days.
  • Waking. Especially when she’s working on cutting that very first tooth, your baby may fuss during the night as well as during the day, so be prepared for a little extra crib-side duty for a while.

Doctors disagree on whether diarrhea and fever may also be signs of teething (though most moms who’ve been through it will tell you they are). Even if you think you can chalk up these conditions to an about-to-arrive tooth, mention them to your doctor if they last more than a couple of days.

Yes, there is a debate about the fever and diarrhea but I’ll tell you that 3 days before a tooth actually cuts my daughter runs a fever of about 100 and has diarrhea, wakes during the night and wants to nurse round the clock. It’s like clockwork with her. To me the fever makes sense as there is significant inflammation of the gums.

The teething remedies I’ve tried:

  • The absolute best solution so far has been Herbs for Kids Gum-Omile Oil, 1 Ounce. Recommended by a friend, I was so desperate for a solution that I literally drove 40 minutes across town and bought the entire supply at the health food store. I’m glad I did because this has been awesome. On Saturday I went to the new mom/baby group at the Birth Center and moms watched in amazement as my daughter went from a whining, crying mess to a mellow, playful child within 30 seconds of applying the oil to her swollen gums.
  • I also loved Humphrey’s Teething Strips but they are no longer on the market. I, like many other frustrated and desperate moms, contacted Humphrey’s to find out why they weren’t making them anymore and what I discovered was insightful. They actually ran out. The demand was far greater than their manufacturing capabilities so they’ve had to restructure their manufacturing plant and they’ll be back on the market in a year!
  • Hyland’s Homeopathic Teething Gel – I like this gel. It’s effective but a bit difficult to put on. It usually ends up all over Trinity’s lips rather than her gums and it doesn’t last very long.
  • Boiron Homeopathic Medicine Camilia Teething Relief Single-Use Oral Doses, 20-Count Boxes: (Pack of 2) This is a decent remedy and Trinity likes the taste of it but it doesn’t really seem to last. I used it for the bottom two teeth but then moved on to the Gumomile oil which was way better.
  • Humphrey’s tablets and Hylands tablets. The Humphrey’s tablets are a pain in the butt. You have to dissolve them before applying the solution which is neither easy nor effective. The Hyland’s tablets are instant dissolve but not nearly as effective as the Gumomile oil. They both contain chamomile which is a great pain reducer.
  • Frozen wash cloth. I’ve seen this work for many moms but my daughter doesn’t like to chew on the cloth.
  • Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder with hard, cold food item such as baby carrots, apple slice, pear slice or even an ice cube. This works AWESOME!! The ice cube is a bit messy because it melts but it has been a lifesaver as well. Trinity will just sit there and happily gnaw on it.
  • Learning Curve Massaging Action Teether – Trini loves this. Plus, it can be a bit funny. I took Trinity to a playdate and as I was spreading her toys out I put down the teether and said to another mom “she can play with that now and I’ll play with it later.” The mom looked at me like I was loony and then about 30 minutes later the mom as rolling with laughter. She leaned over and said “I just got the joke…too funny.” Of course I was totally  (really) kidding but it did make for lots of laughs while helping my daughter have a pleasant teething experience.
  • MAM Cooler Teether – This teether is awesome. You pop it in the fridge or freezer and it gets nice and cold. Trinity loves it. It’s especially great because it has a grip that does not freeze so her little hands don’t get all cold while she’s chomping on the teether. Plus the design is just right…the little nubs are perfect for her gums.
  • Razbaby RaZ-berry Teether – This item has been a big hit with all the moms. It’s bigger than a pacifier but has little nubs all over it to massage the gums. Trinity has a love/hate relationship with hers. One day she can’t live without it and the next she’s throwing it at me like I just tried to give her toxic waste. I still consider it a “must-have” for the teethers.
  • Teething Bisquits – I made the “new mom” mistake of opening a box of these in the store and giving one to Trini. By time we made it to the register her face was covered with teething bisquit and it looked like I had just roller her around in mud. Her shirt was brown, her hands were brown, her face was brown but her smile was huge! She loved it. So, beware! They are super messy but apparently rather enjoyable by the babies. There’s one thing I’ll warn you about. Once your little one actually has teeth I wouldn’t recommend these. Trinity can easily bite off pieces and they are big and super hard so present a significant choking hazard. Never, ever, ever leave your baby unattended with one of these bisquits because if the pieces break off, they are hard and do not easily dissolve.

I’m sure there are lots of other remedies as well but these are the one’s that are working the best for us now. I haven’t tried any of the non-homeopathic ointments like Ambesol because I prefer to give my daughter natural and/or organic items.

If you have a tried and true method, please share! Other moms will definitely appreciate your advice :)

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