Tips for Supporting your Baby During Teethingby Jodie Keith
Ugh. Teething. One of the worst parts of parenting and having a baby is undoubtedly watching your child in pain and discomfort, and teething is especially annoying as there’s no instant remedy. It’s pretty shit, if I’m honest. That being said, there are, of course, some things that we as parents can do to help support our babies during teething.
Lots of comfort
This one might be obvious, but in my opinion, it’s probably the one thing our babies crave the most when they are in any kind of discomfort – plenty of love and cuddles. You could even try a little bit of comforting baby massage. I know when I’m not feeling my A-game, a cuddle, loving touch or simply someone to listen to my woes makes me feel a hell of a lot better. I imagine it’s not that different for our babies – especially when the world must seem strange and scary when you’re so tiny and don’t understand why your mouth hurts so much. So give in to it. Anyone that tells you you’re spoiling your baby or cuddling them ‘too much’ can go suck it. You’re not ‘spoiling your baby’ - you’re showing them how much they are loved and trying to comfort them during a tough time.
The baby market is absolutely choc-a-bloc full of teething products aimed at helping teething babies soothe their gums by chomping and gnawing on them. Teething toys are aplenty, so it’s difficult to know where to start.
If you’re looking for a good teether for a younger baby, look for a product that is big and chunky for them to easily hold. You want it to be made of either a soft, silicone material (make sure it is food-grade silicone!), or a natural wood, or even a stainless steel metal. Make sure you get something made especially for teething babies – don’t give them anything with small parts that could be a choking hazard. Keep any teething toys clean and discard at the first sign of wear or disrepair.
Top tip: some teething toys can be put in the fridge to chill, providing extra comfort and relief when your baby then chews on it.
Teething biscuits or rusks are an excellent choice for a baby that has begun weaning. Not only will chomping and gnawing on a teething biscuit provide comfort and stimulation for the gums, but will help develop hand-eye coordination, introduce new tastes and textures and if any of the biscuit gets ingested it will supplement your baby’s weaning diet.
If you want to make your own teething biscuits from scratch, a recipe I can personally recommend is the following ingredients, mixed together and shaped into either small discs or finger shapes, baked until golden:
- 250ml oats, milled in a blender to a powder
- ½ tsp ground ginger (optional)
- 1 mashed banana
You can also buy teething biscuits from supermarkets if you do not wish to make your own, but watch out for the sugar content!
Teething gels and powders
Some people swear by teething gels and teething powders, but the NHS does state that there is a lack of evidence that teething gels are effective. Personally, my eldest never took to teething gels or powders – we tried a few different brands but found that they made no difference and were akin to a placebo, so we stopped using them. I know of other parents who have had a very different experience – their children love a teething powder being rubbed into their gums and find that it makes their child seem in less discomfort.
If you do decide to try a teething gel or powder, make sure it is one specifically aimed at teething babies and children – do not give them an adult oral relief product. Be sure to read any instructions carefully and follow the dosage advice and always seek medical assistance if your child has an adverse reaction.
Some teething powders that are available from places like Boots, supermarkets or your local pharmacy are as follows:
- Ashton’s & Parson’s Infants’ Powder
- Nelson’s Teetha Teething Granules
- Weleda Chamomilla Granules
- Boots Pharmaceuticals Teething Pain Relief
Some teething gels that are available from places like Boots, supermarkets or your local pharmacy are as follows:
- Nelson’s Teetha Teething Gel
- Anbesol Teething Gel
- Ashton’s & Parson’s Teething Gel
- Bonjela Soothing Teething Gel
Please note the above are not a recommendation but simply a list of examples of brands and products available to choose from. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has a list of licensed homeopathic gels - please do your own research prior to trying or buying.
Other ways to support your baby during teething
Here are some other things you could try to support your baby during teething
- Cold fingers of fruits and vegetables like melon, mango, pineapple and carrots will both act as a teether and aid in weaning.
- Lightly wet a muslin with cooled boiled water and freeze in a sterile airtight container. Remove from freezer and give to your baby to teethe on – this is excellent in summer when it is hot!
- If they are in obvious or excessive pain from teething you can ease the pain with infant paracetamol or ibuprofen. Speak to your pharmacist for advice and be sure to follow the instructions.
- If your baby is dribbling a lot when they are teething, be sure to keep their face clean with water and replace any dribbly/wet bibs and clothes regularly to prevent a teething rash.
- Some parents find that teething causes your baby to have more dirty, wet nappies – this may be due to the excess saliva being swallowed. Make sure to be changing any dirty nappies as promptly as possible to avoid nappy rash and use a nappy cream, such as Sudocrem or metanium, to stop the skin getting sore.
- If your baby is having difficult nights with teething pain, make sure YOU are getting enough sleep. Reach out to friends or family, utilise any childcare you do have or tag team with your partner to make sure you are all well-rested. Being a new mum is hard, but being a new mum with a teething baby is harder. Accept help where you can!
I hope these tips help! Good luck!