Article by Laura May, with tips for helping your little one with teething pain.
Without a doubt nothing is worse than a miserable baby. Give me marital problems, financial problems, anything! But, please do not let my child be miserable.
During my 11 months of motherhood, I have learned that the two most common challenges parents face, hands down, are sleeping and teething. I have heard mamas propose a variety of solutions to both issues, but in this article I will focus on teething pain. Desperate parents are willing to try anything – numbing gels, amber teething necklaces, over the counter medications, and many other remedies, including my personal favorite, a silicone teething necklace. I will attempt to separate the fact from the fiction.
Desperate Measure #1: Teething Toys
Teething toys range from free to tens of dollars. My baby’s favourite is a sample tube of lotion! Upon first entering the baby scene, I learned about Sophie the Giraffe, the teething toy of celebrities. I found one used, as I was unwilling to spend $25 on a rubber toy. It has sat virtually unused in the play box ever since. There are countless teething toys that will provide your child with relief – for less than the cost of date night at the movies.
Desperate Measure #2: Cold Washcloths
Simple. Effective. Cheap. Throw a wet washcloth into the freezer for a few minutes and voila, the perfect cold cloth to rub on baby’s tender gums. Like the use of teething toys, this method works by providing soothing counter pressure on those emerging milk teeth.
Desperate Measure #3: Silicone Teething Necklaces
A practical and convenient solution. My baby loves to gnaw on my silicone necklaces. As a bonus for me, he has stopped twisting my skin during nursing sessions, preferring instead to grab the necklace. I’m biased as the owner of Munchables, a silicone teething jewellery store, but if my baby boy could talk, I guarantee he would tell you how much he loves his!
Desperate Measure #4: Cold Foods & Liquids
If baby will take a bottle, try feeding him or her some cool milk or water. Or, if your baby takes solids, offer chilled yogurt or fruit (like applesauce). If baby doesn’t take a bottle, try giving them pacifier or water filled ring that has been placed in the freezer for a few minutes to soothe teething pain.
Desperate Measure #5: Acetaminophen
Drug the child! I admit it. I have given my baby doses of acetaminophen. It works. Talk to your doctor before administering any medication.
Desperate Measure #6: Topical Numbing Gels & Powders
Numbing gels are a dubious option; I would highly discourage their use. Incorrect dosing can cause numbing of the throat and inhibit the gag reflex. Children under the age of two are at risk of methemoglobinemia, a deadly condition brought on by disruption to the transportation of oxygen, which can occur within minutes of the first exposure. If that isn’t enough to dissuade you, there is evidence that the gels provide only a minimal benefit when compared with a placebo.
Desperate Measure #7: Amber Teething Necklaces
Despite the overwhelming chorus of anecdotal evidence from parents proclaiming that amber teething necklaces have cured their children’s teething pain, there is no scientific evidence. Proponents claim that Baltic amber releases succinic acid into the body through the skin, which eases teething pain. However, succinic acid can only be released from amber at a temperature of 187 °C. Putting that fact aside, we should be grateful that succinic acid doesn’t leach out as it would be a skin irritant. If you like the appearance of these necklaces and aren’t concerned about the strangulation or choking hazard they pose, go for it.
Desperate Measure #8: Homeopathic Teething Tablets
Teething tablets and homeopathic Camilia are often used by desperate parents. All homeopathic remedies contain extremely, extremely dilute concentrations of the active ingredients. Each Hyland’s teething tablet, for instance, contains 0.0000000000002mg of Belladonna. The Hyland’s website clearly explains their products do not contain therapeutic levels of active ingredients. The FDA has stated they are ‘not aware of any proven clinical benefit’ offered by Hyland’s teething tablets. Despite this, many parents swear by the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.
Laura May is the owner of Munchables, an online silicone teething jewellery store. She is also the mother of an 11 month old baby boy. You can visit her website at www.munchables.ca or the Munchables Facebook Page.