Thursday, May 28, 2009

5 tips for natural teething remedies.

It happens to every new parent. You just got things settled, your baby is in a great routine, when out of the blue... teething strikes. Yikes! Teething! Whether that image brings up crying babies or painful nursing it's not a pleasant thought. Some types of discomfort that often accompany teething are: fever, diaper rash, facial rash, excessive salivation, upset stomach and, of course, tooth and gum pain.

Now there are as many treatments for the tooth and gum pain as there are stars in the sky (I didn't count, but it looked like it was ballpark). But with all of the concern about problems with plastics, chemicals and choking hazards, it is very difficult to know where to begin looking for safe and effective methods for helping your baby feel better. Here are 5 tried and tested techniques that I trust, which use no harsh chemicals and are completely natural. Today I am including some links to a few sites where you can find the products that I am talking about, these are not solicited or paid endorsements, they are simply sites that I trust to provide quality products. You might also be interested in trying my acupressure point for teething pain.

1. Sterling silver or stainless steel teething rings.
There is a reason that key-rings are the unofficial teething toy of the known universe, babies find the feel of smooth cool metal on their gums unquestionably helpful in reducing inflammation and pain. However, key-rings are full of sharp edges and germ-filled crevices that make them less than ideal for your baby's safety. Substituting a classy and safe sterling silver ring is a great option. I recommend getting at least three, and have two chilling in the refrigerator while your baby chews on one. There are many beautiful designs, some more affordable than others. I personally like the multiple-ring styles.

2. Cool food teething sticks.
Whether you use a refrigerated bagel, carrot, cucumber or celery there is one important safety consideration to keep in mind with this technique. Do not let your baby chew on these things without your supervision. Any kind of food, no matter how soothing and comfortable for your baby to use, will eventually break down, and not always into easy-to-swallow portions either. To play it safe it is a good idea to use a mesh fresh food holder. The carrot is probably the best teething food before your baby has any teeth, but after those chompers pop out, it becomes a risk for choking. I personally like the celery the best, because even when it starts to break down, the thick fibers running the length of the stalk prevent any separating chunks from being too big. I recommend using older, wilted celery (still refrigerated and cold) because it has a more rubbery texture and is less likely to break off into chunks than if it was fresh.

3. Amber bead necklaces.
It is easy to come across criticism for this time-honored natural technique from those who haven't tried it, but if you are looking for a disappointed parent who doesn't believe it is effective after having tried it, you'll have a hard time finding one. The criticism focuses on the fact that the amber beads are choking hazards if separated from the necklace, and that the necklace itself is a choking hazard simply by virtue of the fact that it encircles the baby's neck. I have a solution for these issues though, take your amber necklace or bracelet and wrap it around your baby's ankle. Put a sock on over the beads to hold them in place next to the skin, and away from your baby's mouth. If your baby is at the "taking-off-my-socks-and-sucking-on-my-toes-is-the-funnest- thing-in-the-world" stage, simply put on a pair of footy-pajamas over the socks. You can find beautiful and natural amber necklaces for yourself and your baby here: . I recommend buying two so one can be warming up in the sun while your baby is wearing the other one. Try to always warm the amber in the sun for an hour or two before letting your baby wear it because this softens the amber and mobilizes the oils that will help sooth your baby's pain.

4. Clove oil.
This natural local anesthetic is very potent and should be used with great care. One drop thoroughly diluted in 1 tsp olive oil should last for at least 8 applications. How you apply it is to take the mixture of olive oil and clove oil and dip a cotton swab into it, then quickly and carefully rub the cotton swab over your baby's gums. The clove oil has a nasty taste to it, so a quick feeding right afterward could help clear your baby's palate. It is very important not to over-use this mixture. It should only be applied about 4-6 times a day, and the best time to use it is at bedtime. A quick application before naps and night time sleep numbs the pain just long enough for your baby to fall asleep more easily.

5. Wooden teething rings sealed with beeswax.
Natural wooden teething rings which have been finished without the use of any harsh chemicals are one of the best things for a baby to chew on. If you place a wooden ring in the refrigerator in a small dish of water, it will stay cool for longer as your baby mauls it. One added benefit of the wooden ring is that you can wear it as a bracelet, and hand it to your baby as needed so that you don't have to spend 10 minutes searching the depths of the diaper bag for it. I do think that after your baby has gotten some teeth this style of teething ring is slightly less safe. Once your baby has teeth she can scrape away at the smooth surface, dig into the wood and possibly get a splinter. If you notice any cracking or scraping, remove or replace the ring right away. The wood used in most wooden teething rings is high quality, and the potential risk is a very small one, but if there is a drawback to this method, that's the only one I could think of.

No matter how you choose to help your baby get through the most painful moments of teething, they are going to want to chew on something. Hopefully these natural options can give you some ideas for what will work best for you and your little drool-factory. If you have any questions or comments don't hesitate to leave them, I'd love to hear your thoughts. And for my special Tripi's Tip of the Day check me out on! Happy parenting!

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