Tips to Help Soothe the Teething Process in Your Baby
Created by Megha Chawla Updated on May 13, 2022
When my daughter was teething, I tried every trick I heard or read about to get my cranky, irritated and drooling 8- months-old infant to go off to sleep. When all failed, I rushed her to her pediatrician to check if there was any SOS or a ‘natural’ painkiller I could give to comfort her, only to hear that ‘teething is a natural process and should not be controlled or intervened with a painkiller’.
So, I was back home and braced myself for the countless nights, pacing the floors across rooms, bouncing her in my arms and frantically looking for solutions, while some of my other friends with babies of the same age, just said hello to their baby’s pearly whites without a fuss.
Tips to Cope with Teething Process: Natural Remedies
I decided to go with what my pediatrician told me, ‘Keep it natural’. So, here is my list of natural remedies i tried to ease my daughter’s pain and help her get a good sleep.
• Gum massage: Try gentle gum massage. All you need is a clean finger dipped in cold water or a wet gauze pad. Massage in circular motion, applying a little pressure all the while, for 2 minutes at a time. This will break down the gum tissue and soothe the baby. If one starts massaging the baby’s gums from day one, it will definitely make the teething much easier for the little one. Just be prepared for the occasional nibble. A word of caution- Avoid the use of gum paint or gel as there are questions about how safe these products are. It’s best to consult a doctor before using them.
• Deal with the crankiness: Try and identify the fuss and discomfort coming from pain. Never ignore the crankiness. Try and distract the baby by talking or reading her favourite book.
• Maintain bedtime routine: Maintaining the baby’s usual sleep routine, especially when the baby is fussy is very important, as this will help ensure that she is getting the required rest and relaxation.
• Feed soft foods: One can minimize gum irritation and soreness by feeding soft food, especially during the night. Foods like mashed and pureed vegetables, fruits and milk are great to be given at night.
• Organic Teethers: Though there are plenty available in the market, do not go by the fancy shapes only. Always look for teethers that read BPA, Silicone, PVC, Phthalates and Nitrosamine free. Look for natural, organic teethers that are 100% free of chemicals, dyes, synthetic or silicone. Look for more eco-friendly options such as organic cotton or wooden spoons or teethers.
• Breastfeeding: Breast milk is full of natural painkillers, so there is nothing better than breastfeeding a teething baby to relieve him from his pain. If a teething baby refuses to feed, try expressing the milk both to maintain the production of milk and relieve his pain. Expressed milk can be fed with spoon or open cup to avoid sucking, which is sometime painful during teething.
• Amber teething necklaces: Some of my friends used these extensively. The Amber beads of the necklace apparently have Succinic acid which is a natural pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and also calms the nervous system. A word of caution here- The necklace should be worn by the baby for a short length so that the baby cannot easily grab and pull the necklace and also not to be worn at night. Also because the beads have healing properties of their own, it’s best to wrap these around the baby’s ankle and cover it with a sock to keep it warm against the baby’s skin.
• Chewable toys: Look for good quality wooden toys—these are safe and gnawing on them can soothe the aching gums as textured surfaces tend to offer more relief. However for safety sake, look for toys which don’t have small parts that could break off and pose a choking hazard.
• Cold/ frozen stuff: Chilling your baby’s sore gums can provide some numbing action, which in turn can ease the pain and irritation. Some of the things that work wonders are-
- A chilled washcloth or muslin cloth tied in knots for better gnawing. If the baby is a little older you can also soak the washcloth in chamomile tea for more comfort.
- A chilled wooden or silver spoon big enough to be gnawed on by your little one.
- A frozen popsicle made of breast milk or formula milk.
- Frozen food - Frozen bananas, apple, slices, peaches, oranges etc.
• Vegetables- Both washed fresh or frozen vegetables are great options as teethers- natural alternatives to the store-bought teethers. Some of the best veggies to use are- Refrigerated cucumber, pineapple. Pineapple has a great anti-inflammatory enzyme that helps sooth a swelling. When using refrigerated chunks of vegetables or fruits, wrap them in a muslin cloth to minimise the chances of the child biting off a big chunk of them and choking on them.
• Invest in fresh food mesh: These are great, especially once your child’s first four teeth come in and he can bite small, choke pieces of anything. Mesh is a great solution as it allows you to put food ( cut fruits and veggies) frozen or otherwise into a little mesh bag so that baby can only suck or eat small juicy portions without you worrying about him choking.
• Miracle remedies from Kitchen: Soothe those gums by rubbing a thin slice of ginger root on his gums. You can also ground some cloves, mix it with water to make a paste and then apply it on the gums. If you want to go simple, then just apply clove oil or almond oil on the gums.
• Sippy Cups- Once your baby is 6 months or older, sippy cups can be great companions, fill these with cold water for them to suck for comfort.
Teething time can be overwhelming both for the baby and the parents. Just keep calm, keep different things handy and keep trying different things to see which works best at what stage and remember teething won’t last forever. Here’s hoping you all see those pearly whites pop up sooner.
Common Symptoms to watch out for, that should indicate teething:
• Fussiness, whining crying and irritability
• Red cheeks
• Swollen or sore gums
• Loss of appetite
• Ear pulling
• Discomfort in sleeping
Some Key Things I learned About Teething in Children
• The process of teething differs from child to child. One cannot predict how long the process will last, or when it will begin.
• The first set of teeth will be the worst experience in terms of discomfort and pain.
• Pain will subside, but will take its own time, in most cases until the molars start becoming visible, usually after a baby’s first birthday.
• Sometimes, teething symptoms will appear months before a baby actually begins to teeth, while for others the distress period will be just 3 to 5 days before the tooth actually cuts through.
• A baby’s reaction to teething depends upon many factors like her tolerance for pain, how dense her gums are etc.
• Despite what the oldwives or others would have you believe, teething does not make your child sick and is not an illness that will need medication.
| Mar 21, 2017
Thanks for the article, my baby is 7 n half mnths old, from past few days he's behaving quite cranky & finding it difficult to sleep for a long stretch. I was wondering suddenly what happened to my baby's good night sleep. During evening playtime he was making some strange noises since yesterday. After reading this article it clicked to me that may be my munchkin was making those strange noises out of irritation in his gums. Thanks once again.
| Mar 26, 2017
hello... my baby is 6 mnth old... can teething start at this age.. I feel that his gums are swelling, he has loose motions... approximately before 1 mnth he started chewing my nipple during feeding but it ended in 15 days... now he is taking and latching properly... if there is any chance then how many time I should massage my baby's gums and how much time it usually takes to appear...
| Apr 10, 2017
Teething is an early milestone that can be quite painful. This article suggests some safe remedies that can relieve your baby’s pain. https://www.parentcircle.com/article/home-remedies-for-teething-problems-in-babies/
| May 03, 2017
thank you for this information... i would like to share my experience, i had applied 'shankh jira powder' its ayurvedic powder available in any ayurvedic shop. just massage this powder on babys gums as my baby turned 6 months n her teeth came out without any pain or illness. It is safe and used for all babys in my family.