These easy, at-home remedies for teething pain will please any natural mama.
Teething has begun. Sleep schedules are thrown off; night-waking and unusual fussiness may occur. Every child teethes differently; some very peacefully and for others life can become completely tossed upside down as these little pokey teeth push up through the gum line. Since we are in the midst of this ourselves, I have decided to put together a list of options during those intense teething times.
1. Chew Toys
Silicone, wood, fabric, and the list goes on. Some of our favorites include: Sophie the Giraffe, silicone popsicle molds, BPA-free child spoons, metal spoons, stuffed animals, wooden cooking spoons, and of course if they are just beginning to teethe and don’t have many teeth yet — fingers.
2. Cold Options
Freezable teether toys (BPA-free), frozen wash cloths (soak a corner of a clean cloth in water, freeze, chew),mesh food feeders filled with frozen fruit or veggies, and breastmilk popsicles.
Breastmilk popsicles are simply expressed milk put into a popsicle mold and frozen. These are great for children of all ages, and are a good option for those under 6 months and not on solids yet.
The mesh food feeders are an option for those already on solids or beginning to introduce solids.
3. Baltic Amber Necklaces
I suggest raw baltic amber because I feel the potency of stones more when they are raw versus polished. The lighter color is known to have more succinic acid, which is what acts as the natural pain reliever. These necklaces are not for chewing on. They are for wearing.
Some babies will turn away from the breast during those painful times, while others will melt into relaxation. I’ve now had one child that reacts each way. Either way, give it a try: offer the breast. If your baby bites, you can gently “fish-hook” the inside of their mouth with your pinky finger to release the latch.
Sometimes simply being held close, rocking, swaying, and singing can be soothing enough to do the trick. Babywearing can be a huge advantage here, since parents often need free hands. Remember to keep moving if you try babywearing — most babies like to feel as though they’re back in the womb again.
I’m usually not a proponent of redirecting and distracting when a child is having an emotional experience, because it’s important to process and identify emotions. However in the case of physical pain, it can be beneficial to redirect their attention to other things that can take their mind off the pain. Playing with musical toys, looking in a mirror, watching siblings play, etc. can all be helpful forms of distraction.
7. Shadow puppet/finger shows
When my babies were clearly distraught from teething pain, I would go by a wall where light is shining and wave my hands around while making wooshing noises and using my fingers to make tapping sounds. My baby would be fascinated with the noises and completely focus on my hands as well as the shadows. The first time I did this I was stunned, and it worked every time as a new tooth emerged!
8. Lavender Oil
If things are obviously too painful I will resort to using an olive oil-lavender blend. I use 1 TBS of olive oil with 1 drop of lavender essential oil. It is essential to dilute the essential oil properly as well as avoid internal use. Do not put the oil in the babe’s mouth. Simply use a clean finger or swab and rub the oil along the jawline. How quickly this worked the first time blew my mind!
And then, if all else fails, Hyland’s Teething Tablets: I use these as an absolute last resort. They are a homeopathic remedy which I have found to be very successful. With my first baby, I used them a handful of times, but she was a happy teether. With my second baby, they have been used more often but still sparingly. I always want to maintain gut health so I do not like introducing anything before six months. However when the pain is that intense, I want to help it go away and trust in the powers of breast milk to heal that growing gut.
Update: Hyland’s Teething Tablets are no longer sold in the United States. They are still a trusted brand worldwide. Read their statement here.