Teething baby? That means your sweet child’s growing up! But sore gums can be mildly irritating or incredibly painful for our little ones.
Some questions you might be asking are:
- What materials are safest?
- How to soothe a teething baby?
- When do babies start teething?
We have the answers to all of those questions PLUS the teething hacks you can do to relieve your baby’s sore gum problem!
These teething hacks changed our life, and we’re here to help YOU soothe your baby. Read them all below!
7 Effective Teething Hacks for Happy Babies
1. A Massage from Mom is Always Best
A gentle massage from Mom is one of the BEST teething remedies to calm your baby down!
A gum massage should be your FIRST line of defense against painful gums. The FDA recommends that you gently massage your baby’s gums with your finger.
You can also gently massage your baby’s jaw to soothe the teething pain your little one feels.
2. Baby Products Can Keep the Pain Away
They’re fairly similar to how organic baby pacifiers are used to calm and soothe your little one.
Teething rings could be dangerous if not used under adult supervision, but here are a few tips to reduce the dangers of using them.
Teething Ring Use Tips
- Never tie a teething ring or pacifiers around a baby’s neck.
- Monitor your teething baby while he or she is using the ring to prevent choking.
- You may chill a ring, but never freeze it! The material may become brittle and hazardous for the baby’s gums.
- Choose firm rubber or silicone teething rings and avoid liquid-filled rings. The liquid in fancier rings can burst inside your baby’s mouth and possibly poison your baby.
- Always read the instructions for your teething rings to ensure proper usage.
Teething rings are great tools to give your baby if you notice they’re chewing on their pacifiers and wearing them out. The self-massage from teething rings can help with pain relief.
Plus, when used properly and under adult supervision, it’s a safe, effective remedy for teething pain. Give it a shot!
What About Amber Teething Necklaces?
Amber teething necklaces are popular these days as a more “natural” and effective alternative for teething toys.
Made with Baltic amber, enthusiasts say these teething necklaces trigger the release of succinic acid, a pain reliever that can lessen gum swelling.
But the U.S. FDA warned against using an amber teething necklace because the risks far outweigh their unproven benefits. Some risks include:
- Choking hazard
- Poisonous or harmful chemicals and substances
Because of these dangers, jewelry-like products are a NO-NO for your precious child. They might look trendy, but they’re dangerous for teething babies!
You’d be better off trying some other natural baby teething toys instead to be safe.
3. Frozen Treats are Great for Baby Teeth!
Cold therapy, or cryotherapy, is a well-known method to reduce pain, even for adults! Your baby will love the sore-gums-relief they’ll get from a cold treat.
Frozen Foods or Frozen Fruit
Give your baby one of his favorite fruits, straight from your freezer. Babies love a frozen banana or apple!
If a frozen apple is too tough on your baby’s gums, you can also try using cold applesauce and feeding it to your little one whenever he needs some teething relief.
If you’re still breastfeeding your child, then frozen breast milk on ice trays is a great relief popsicle for your child!
Changing It Up
Besides using frozen fruit or breast milk, you can change your baby’s cold gum treat with some baby popsicle recipes you can find online! Ask Dad to chop up some vegetables or fruit and blend that in. The more hands-on-deck, the better.
It’s as simple as making a recipe for baby food, then placing them in your ice tray or silicone tray, and freezing the food. With this method, you can make treats for your baby whenever he needs them.
If your baby is a picky eater, don’t fret! A frozen washcloth works just as well at soothing your baby’s discomfort. The rough texture can massage your baby’s teeth.
Simply wet your washcloth with drinking water, pop it inside your freezer, and wait for it to chill. For a little taste, you can substitute the water soak with apple juice.
A cold spoon is another common tool to reduce irritation. Simply pop a metal spoon into your freezer. When your baby cries at the teething discomfort, give your baby the spoon he or she needs.
The best part? These products cost next to NOTHING! So if you don’t have the time to run out for fruit or rings, a frozen cloth will do the trick.
Another thing: Sanitize the washcloth or spoon. You can’t risk infections just because of a teething hack.
4. Food Can Soothe Your Little One, Too
Earlier, we talked about how frozen food can work on your teething baby’s pain. But some babies are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures, so a popsicle might not suit their needs.
Luckily, you can give your baby teething biscuits that take some effort to chew, but not digest. These kinds of biscuits can massage your baby’s gums, but won’t cause any digestive issues.
AVOID using sugary snack biscuits for your babies, since it could give your child tooth decay (yes, even if all their teeth haven’t grown in).
There’s an age requirement, too. Only use teething biscuits on your baby only once he or she reaches 8 months of age. Any earlier and the ingredients in teething biscuits might irritate the intestines.
5. Babies Need Cuddle Buddies
Some babies can distract themselves from the discomfort with lots of hugs from their moms. A simple cuddle or back rubs can comfort your baby from the pain he or she feels.
Teething can sometimes disturb restful sleep. To help your child, sleep near your baby at night and when the teething gets extra painful, have your baby chew on your finger.
Don’t worry, your baby’s teeth haven’t grown in yet. So you don’t have to worry about a sore finger or bite-filled hands too much.
6. Rubber Ducky to the Rescue!
No, your baby shouldn’t chew on rubber duckies. But you can give your baby a bath to soothe your baby, especially before falling asleep.
A warm water bath cools your baby’s body temperature, which helps your baby get the Zs at night. Or if your baby hasn’t been taking daytime naps as scheduled, warm baths can help, too.
If teething pains prevent your baby from dozing off, a warm bath is a fantastic hack.
PRO TIP: You can also consider using pacifiers for the cherry on top. If you’re unsure of how many baby pacis to invest in, you can read our guide on How Many Pacifiers You Actually Need.
7. Chamomile Tea for Your Baby
Take some extra precautions, of course. This is an area where you’d want to buy a packaged chamomile off the rack instead of getting some from your garden. Garden plants can give your baby botulism.
Double-check whether your baby has allergies to chamomile tea, too. If your baby gets an allergy, trust us: the teething fuss is the least of your concerns.
Teething FAQs and Facts
1. What is Teething?
When you notice your baby extra fussy, he or she might be teething. The teething stage, or the eruption of the milk tooth from the gum line, is an important stage in a baby’s development.
Teething is part of every baby’s growing up, so it truly is something to celebrate. But it’s stressful for parents since it comes with a slew of sleepless nights.
2. When Do Babies Start Growing Their Teeth?
Teething begins once a baby reaches around 4 months old, but your baby’s tooth can come in much later, at maybe 7 months.
The time is different for every baby, so don’t fret if your baby’s gums show no sign of teething. Every baby is different, so don’t rush them into it!
3. How Do I Know If My Baby’s Teeth Are Growing?
There are some signs you can look for to tell if your baby is teething. These telltale clues can equip you with the tools you need for comforting your child.
Behavioral Changes in Infants
Some behavioral changes might include:
- Fussiness. Your baby can be cranky and they can be whiny. It’s a sign that something is amiss — and if you’ve just changed your baby’s diapers, it’s not their bowels. It might be your baby’s gums.
- Decreased Appetite. You might notice your baby is eating less than he or she used to. Solid foods can hurt when paired with swollen gums, so they might not feel like eating.
- Constant Nibbling. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might notice your baby keeps biting and gnawing everything in sight. Everything is a chew toy — yes, even Dad’s arms. So if your kid bit your finger, it’s not you; it’s the teething.
- Changes in Schedule. Your baby might eat or sleep at different times of the day. Just when you thought you already got used to the routine, here comes your baby messing it up!
Some physical signs of teething include:
- Swollen gums. This is the most obvious sign. Swollen, irritated gums may cause all the problems with your baby’s fussiness.
- A tooth or two. After a few months of dealing with swelling gums, you might notice a tooth, or maybe even two, at the bottom portion of your baby’s jaw. The bottom teeth usually grow out first before the top teeth do.
4. What are the Stages of Teeth Growth?
Teeth grow in phases. The bottom ones usually pop out first, followed by everything else in this order:
- 6-13 months: Incisors (front teeth)
- 9-16 months: Lateral incisors
- 13-19 months: First molars
- 16-23 months: Canine teeth
- 23-33 months: Second molars
This is a rough estimate, but something you’ll have to remember is that everyone’s body is different. So you can expect this to be different, too.
5. Which Stage Hurts the Most?
Dentists say that growing molars hurt the most. When that time comes, whip out more teething hacks to relieve your baby.
How Can I Help My Teething Baby Sleep?
To help, start out with a warm bath, then snuggle up next to them while having them chew on your finger to give your baby relief.
Your physical presence can help them relax and forget their bothersome gums.
6. Can I Speed Up The Process?
Don’t even think about it! Growing a set of chompers is a natural biological process, so there’s no way for you to speed it up. You just have to let the teething run its course.
As parents, you might hear about trying homeopathic remedies on your teething baby. But avoid unproven ones and those which aren’t pediatrician or FDA-approved.
Babies are sensitive creatures, and it’s not worth taking the risk.
7. Why Can’t I Use Medicine?
Growing teeth can cause your baby tremendous pain. And as moms, we want to put our baby out of their misery as fast as possible.
But plenty of analgesics and pain medicine is not fit for babies. Aspirin puts your child at risk for Reye’s syndrome. Ibuprofen is dangerous for babies, too.
There are lots of teeth gels with benzocaine and lidocaine made for babies in the market. These two ingredients are local anesthetics or numbing medicine you can use for your baby’s gums.
But these aren’t FDA-approved for infant use. So in case you’ve seen these tips before, be careful about using them.
As parents, we’ll always worry about our kids. Hopefully, you could get through this difficult phase with all our tried and tested tips and tricks.
With a little effort, you and your children could sleep at night. We certainly hope you can!
July 22, 2021 – updated article links, added 1 YouTube video