Right from the beginning, your baby has 20 teeth - all there but buried in the gums. During teething, the new teeth slowly slide and twist their way through gum tissue and this can hurt.
Some of the signs of teething
- Restless or disrupted sleeping
- Fretting that comes and goes
- Chewing fingers and hands
- Mild rash around the mouth
- Loose stools and mild diaper rash
When babies are teething, their first reaction is to put anything and everything into their mouth, partly out of curiosity and partly to manage the pain. As the teeth are growing, the cells in the gum tissue above the teeth begin to break down, which helps the teeth carry on with all that sliding and twisting. The urge to bite or chew is a good thing - that added pressure helping to break down the gum tissue.
Apart from giving your baby something safe to chew on, there are other ways to help with the pain and discomfort
- Wipe your baby’s face often with a soft cloth to remove the drool and prevent rashes from developing.
- Place a drool-absorbing cotton cloth under the chin while your baby sleeps. Lubricate with a mild emollient in the sensitive area to form a barrier against the drool. Find out how to make your own natural "jelly" here.
- Gently rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
- Change diapers frequently if stools are loose and protect against diaper rash.
- Don’t force your baby to eat but carry on with breast or formula feeding as normal and try something like cold pureed apple on a cold spoon.
Be wary of using any pain medicines in babies and avoid those teething gels too. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the numbing agent in a number of teething gels can be dangerous or even fatal to babies. Benzocaine is the local anesthetic used in many of the gels and can cause a rare and sometimes fatal condition called methemoglobinemia. This is a blood disorder where the oxygen that is carried through the blood to the tissue drops to dangerously low levels. In severe cases, it can cause death.
The homeopathic options for pain relief
Instead turn to natural homeopathic pain relief for your child's teething, safely and effectively managing any teething pain and discomfort without the risk from pharmaceuticals and gels. There is a wide choice of homeopathic remedies for this purpose in several different forms: pills, liquids, gels and even ice pops.
Back to those 6 safer substances for babies to chew on when teething
1. Tie a wet washcloth in a knot and freeze for 30 minutes before giving it to your baby.
2. Many baby teething rings are filled with BPA (biosphenal A), an industrial chemical which can adversely affect your baby’s brain and development. Instead consider Baltic amber teething necklaces and rings made with real amber. They are full of succinic acid which is a beneficial natural compound. Amber found in the Baltic region has been used throughout Europe for centuries as a natural antibiotic and cure for numerous ailments.
3. Another idea is a genuine sterling silver teething ring. A popular gift for new babies, silver has been used as a traditional teething toy material from ancient times. Its coolness and antiseptic qualities have proven to be very effective in relieving babies from the teething pain.
4. Another common remedy for the pain of teething is clove oil. Cloves contain oils that have warming, numbing properties. Just rub the tiniest amount on sore gums to relieve pain - too much can upset your baby's stomach.
5. A home remedy is to let your baby chew on a natural licorice stick (that is the herb, not to be confused with candy). Available in health food stores, real licorice feels cool and also numbs the gums when your baby chews on it.
6. Pure vanilla extract when rubbed on your baby's gums can be soothing in three ways: (1) to ease the pain by creating opposite pressure; (2) to create a warm sensation (from the alcohol in the extract) that is temporarily comforting; and (3) the calming properties of vanilla itself – reducing anxiety, promoting well being and even soothing the tummy.
After 2 or 3 days of feeling grumpy and fractious, your baby will be smiling and happy once more until the next bout of teething!