Natural teething remedies can be very effective to help your baby through these rather painful episodes.
Below is a general chart giving you an indication when you can expect your baby’s teeth to appear or, medically speaking, “erupt”. There is a broad range of normal and some babies are even born with their teeth or haven’t got any by the time they are 10 months old.
As humans, we get 20 milk teeth, which we are going to shed starting from about our second year at primary school. By the time we enter secondary school, we have our adult teeth. Perhaps not a coincidence?
Going through repeated episodes of teething can often make them irritable and tired. Signs to look out for are dribbling, flushed cheeks, ear-grabbing, fractious mood and not sleeping well, sore gums (keep an eye how well they are eating) and general irritability. If your baby is chewing boxes like mine did for a while you can be pretty sure what’s going on. We used to keep her toys in the Scottish baby box when she had outgrown it for her daytime naps. She dug her teeth into the edges whenever she got the chance.
As ever, how can you tell if there isn’t something else wrong with them? Try and feel with a clean finger on your baby’s gums if a little sharp edge has appeared. The good news is, there is usually a little respite between these episodes as you can tell from the chart above.
Natural teething remedies
Now, what to choose? No plastic. Of course. So, I found myself on a quest to find the right one.
What you don’t want is your baby chewing away on some cheaply manufactured, plasticky stuff, so it’s best to be on the safe side. And before you use ordinary teething gel or reach for the Calpol, try some natural remedies instead.
1.Homoeopathic remedies “Teetha” Gel and Granules
I can only recommend these, despite doubts about the actual efficacy of these types of medicines. According to a 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Commitee report on homeopathy, there is no evidence to suggest that they work any better than a placebo. I still decided to go along with it to see what happens.
I guess I was lucky that my daughter somehow liked eating the granules. This is probably due to the lactose contained in them which makes them taste nice and sweet.
And the most important thing: it worked for her.
The homoeopathic agent of the granules is Chamomilla 6c. The gel contains Chamomilla 12c, Belladonna12c and Aconite12c.
- Aconite: Applied to relieve pain and restlessness, high temperature or fever, sleeplessness and crying.
- Belladonna: Helps with general irritability, restlessness, flushed cheeks and sleeplessness.
- Chamomilla: Used to help with temper tantrums, flushed cheeks, diarrhoea and clinginess.
The number stands for the potency achieved by the process of succussion, i. e. the number of times the mixture has been shaken. The C stands for a dilution ratio of 1:100 ratio (which is the Roman numeral C=100) which is a concentration of the plant tincture diluted in water. The granules would hence have been succussed 6 times in a dilution of 1:100.
If all of this sounds like a whole lot of nonsense to you, read more here about how these medicines are made. I find it is often all too easy to dismiss, but if applied correctly at the right time and for the right things (which excludes life-threatening diseases), it may still produce the desired results.
2. Teething toys
Teething toys should be BPA-, BPS- and BPF-free. I decided to go for a product which would also be engaging for all five senses, touch, sight, sound, smell and taste.
Lanco produces toys made from 100% natural rubber collected from the Hevea tree (Hevea brasiliensis). The rubber is harvested without the use of herbicides as small slits are cut into the bark while the white sap, i.e. latex, is collected in cups, all of which is done by hand. Most of all these toys are cute and also painted with non-toxic, lead-free paints while also being free of PVC, BPA and nitrosamines. To clean it, use soapy water and a damp cloth, which is usually enough, you won’t need to sterilise it.
“Sophie la Girafe” has been on the market since the 1960’s . Made with natural materials and food-grade colours, you don’t have to worry about what your baby is putting in their mouth. It is easy to hold in little hands, it squeaks and it smells nice.
3.Teething Rings made from natural materials
4. Amber necklaces
As for amber necklaces, opinions differ. I was frightened my daughter might swallow those tiny beads. And it sent me wondering how effective they actually really are. Factually speaking, the analgesic agent in amber is only present in very small quantities. Baltic Amber contains succinic acid, which is thought to provide pain-relief and has anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be entirely proven. Looking further, there is no scientific study I could find to support it. What I was able to find though is the interesting fact that succinic acid can be released from amber, but only if the amber is heated to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Nonetheless, chewing alone may help, but it is perhaps wise to opt for something safer. Look also at an FDA warning to finally make some headlines.
5.The right baby toothbrush
As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, it is wise to think about proper dental hygiene. The conventional plastic toothbrushes should be avoided for various reasons, not only because of the plastic waste they create. They are also quite challenging to handle with young babies. The Jack n’ Jill Silicone finger toothbrush is an excellent product. You can slip it on to your finger like a thimble and use the brush side to clean your baby’s first teeth and the dimple side to massage sore gums – which they are bound to be when they are teething. These brushes come in a case and are therefore convenient when travelling. You can also chill them in the fridge to relieve teething discomfort, and they are easy to sterilise in a sterilising solution. The best thing about them is that they are also BPA, PVC and phthalate-free and 100% food-grade silicone. Order them online, and you receive them in biodegradable packaging in recycled paper board and 100% corn starch window. These silicone toothbrushes come in three stages. You can move on from the finger toothbrush as your baby grows. I found my daughter biting down on my finger with her six little teeth by the time she approached her first birthday. I then decided it was time to move on to stage 2, which looks like a proper brush but has a slip-on ring to prevent the brush being pushed too deep into the mouth when baby wants to try using it by themselves.
6. DIY options you may want to try
If you want to go DIY, try a frozen banana, a wooden spoon or a frozen flannel (wet and in the freezer for half an hour) which can all be helpful. Some mums had very good results with them.
And last but not least – lots of TLC and feeds. I found myself getting up at night to sit with my daughter when she couldn’t sleep. So I made some granola.
I hope that some of these ideas will help your baby (and yourself) navigate through “teethy” times. A combination of them will probably work best.