11 Teething Ideas for Babies That Really Work
Teething is a natural process, but can be really rough on both baby AND parents. Seeking advice on how to soothe a teething baby? There are many at-home baby-teething remedies that can help! Read on for some of the best teething ideas for babies (plus what NOT to do).
It can be so exciting when baby’s first tooth appears. When it comes to the newborn period, few things can cause more stress for new parents than teething. Every baby experiences it, though when it starts can vary greatly from baby to baby!
Most babies begin teething around 6 months, though some can start as early as 4 months of age and others don’t begin until after 12 months. Although rare, some babies are even born with teeth!
Symptoms of teething include:
- Low-grade fever (lower than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Excessive drooling
- Swollen, tender gums
- Wanting to chew on things (including their own fingers and your fingers!)
- Mild irritability and crying
It can feel heartbreaking when your little one is struggling with teething as you try to figure out how to provide comfort and pain relief. Read on for 11 of the best teething ideas for babies, including some at-home remedies as well as items you can easily purchase that really help!
Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. This article was written to share information that might be valuable for other parents to know before you speak to your own child’s pediatrician, and is not meant to serve as medical advice. Full disclaimer here.
How to Soothe a Teething Baby: 11 Teething Ideas That Really Work!
1. Frozen Washcloth
This simple at-home teething remedy is SO simple. Take a clean washcloth and soak it in water. Wring it out until it’s just a little damp, and place it while still twisted up in the freezer on a clean surface (like a plate). Once frozen, loosen up the washcloth after taking it out of the freezer and give it to your baby to chew on.
The cold temperature plus the texture of the washcloth helps to relieve those aching gums as they chew. This was a favorite of my own children!
2. Chilled Fruit
Many babies see relief from teething by munching on cold fruit. If your little one has already started solid foods, you can try soft fruits like melon, applesauce, strawberries and mashed bananas that have been in the fridge first. Cold food feels great on baby’s gums!
If your child isn’t quite ready for solids, these baby food holders are amazing! Just fill the mesh feeder with the mashed or sliced fruit of your choice, and place in the fridge to make them cold. Your baby can hold these and safely enjoy the cold fruit by chewing directly on the mesh.
3. Become Your Baby’s Chew Toy
It might sound silly, but your baby’s favorite teething remedy might be YOUR fingers. Just be sure your hands are clean before your little one chomps down. It’s easy to do a gentle gum massage while they gnaw, too.
4. Teething Toys
Teething toys come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. If your baby doesn’t have other teeth, a gel teether or water-filled teether like this one that you can keep in the freezer works great. If they already have a few chompers, look for a natural rubber teeth or silicone teether like this that doesn’t have anything inside for safety. This pack of silicone teethers is another great option too.
5. Cool Metal Spoon
A cold metal spoon can work wonders on sore gums! Grab a clean spoon and place it in the fridge. Once cold, gently rub baby’s gums with the curved side.
6. Gum Massage
Gum massage is one of the easiest teething remedies that parents have sworn by forever. Wash your hands and gently rub baby’s gums in circular motions using your fingers. There’s a good chance your little one will start to chew or suck on your fingers, so watch out if they already have a few teeth!
7. Try Breastmilk Popsicles
Sometimes when your baby is teething, it can make them feel so uncomfortable that they struggle to eat. Freezing your breastmilk in a breastmilk popsicle mold like this not only will soothe your teething baby, but will also help get some extra nutrients in them.
8. Warm Baths
Try giving your baby a warm, soothing bath to help comfort and distract them. Try adding a little lavender bath solution for extra calmness. Sometimes just getting your little one to calm down can help with their level of discomfort.
9. Be Sure to Wipe Away the Drool
While not *technically* teething, drool rash and skin irritation can add to the discomfort and irritability of your baby! Help protect his skin (and clothing) with soft cloth bibs like these. They are easy to throw in the washing machine to clean, and if baby is wearing them they also make it easy to wipe away any drool on his face.
10. Extra Snuggles
It’s amazing how far a good cuddle from mommy or daddy can go. Snuggle up and rock your baby gently while spending some extra quiet time together.
11. Baby Teething Medicine
If your baby seems to not be finding relief using any of the above remedies, as your pediatrician about baby teething medicine or what you can give for pain relief. Over-the-counter medication on the market vary greatly by ingredients, so it’s always important to check with your own child’s healthcare provider before using one.
What can I give my baby to relieve teething?
When it comes to at-home remedies for teething, one of the best pieces of advice is look for things that are cold and safe! Teethers like these can be frozen and are great for babies without a mouth full of teeth. Hard silicone teething bracelets are a safer choice for little ones with teeth.
These baby food holders are also a great teething idea for babies when you fill them with cold fruit!
You can also talk to your child’s pediatrician about other options, like pain relievers and teething gel.
Home remedies for teething baby at night
Teething pain can happen any time of the day, and can be especially challenging at night while your baby needs to sleep (and so do you). All of the above referenced teething ideas for babies can also be used to soothe a teething baby at night.
There are also a few tips that are a good idea to incorporate into your baby’s bedtime routine to help keep them feeling better for longer at night, like:
- A soothing warm bath
- Massaging baby’s gums with a clean finger while cuddling as he drifts off to sleep
- Letting baby suck or chew on a clean, cold washcloth
- Keep in mind that if your baby is struggling with pain, they will wake up more often. Be sure to ask your child’s doctor what you can give them during the night to help if you’re experiencing a lot of sleepless nights.
What to Avoid When it Come to Teething Treatments
All of us have well-meaning friends or family members who have suggested teething ideas for babies that are, well… not the best. I had an older coworker once swear that “a capful of whiskey is the best teething relief.” I’m pretty sure getting your baby tipsy isn’t the safest idea 😉
Whatever you choose for your own baby, make sure it’s safe. Here are a few things to avoid when it comes to teething relief for babies:
Hard teething toys: Anything made from wood, metal or plastic isn’t safe for baby to teeth on. Stick to teething rings and toys that are made from rubber and are gentle on your baby’s tender gums and mouth. Don’t allow baby to chew on wooden spoons or wood teethers while teething.
Teething necklaces: Many families swear by amber teething necklaces for pain relief, but these can come loose and pose a choking hazard. A teething necklace can also become twisted and cause other injuries as serious as strangulation.
Frozen fruit: While it sounds good in theory, frozen fruit can actually become too hard and cold for your baby’s delicate gums. Cold, refrigerated fruit will still soothe a teething baby just as well!
Certain baby teething medication: One of the reasons I mentioned many times in this article to talk to your child’s pediatrician BEFORE using a teething medication is because the active ingredients can vary greatly. Some medications, even ones that are deemed homeopathic or natural, can have dosages of ingredients (including benzocaine, lidocaine and belladonna) that can be harmful or even fatal.
Always talk to your child’s healthcare provider before trying any over the counter teething medication, including teething gel, homeopathic teething tablets, teething ointments or anything else.
When to Call Your Baby’s Doctor
While the teething ideas for babies on this list should provide some much-needed relief, in certain situations it’s important to contact your baby’s doctor.
While teething is known to cause a slightly elevated temperature/low-grade fever, you should contact your child’s healthcare provider if their rectal temperature climbs higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are a few other reasons you should contact your baby’s healthcare provider:
- Excessive or inconsolable crying
- Reduced appetite or teething discomfort that interferes with drinking or eating
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When to Start Brushing Baby Teeth
Now that your baby has a beautiful new tooth (or a whole mouth of them!), it’s time to learn how to care for your baby’s new teeth.
It’s actually a very easy process at this age. I recommend that parents start with the following supplies:
I like starting my children with a finger toothbrush because it’s easier on both of us. Start with just the finger toothbrush, being sure it’s nice and clean. Gently massage baby’s gums and teeth in a circular motion to clean.
Once you’re both comfortable with that, add a small dab of infant toothpaste and being to clean baby’s teeth that way.
Some parents prefer a soft-bristled infant toothbrush that’s made for baby teeth. That’s totally up to you! The most important thing is that you start cleaning baby’s teeth as soon as he gets them, because they can start to decay even if they are still only on a bottle.
Starting your children on a good dental hygiene routine early is crucial to help prevent cavities in their baby teeth and future tooth decay down the road. According to the American Dental Association, ten percent of children have one or more cavities by 2-years-old. This number jumps to 50 percent by age 5!
Here are a few other guidelines to follow:
- Clean your baby’s teeth well after feedings, including a bottle. The natural sugar in breastmilk and formula can attract bacteria in baby’s mouth, so don’t think that just because they’re not on solids yet that you can wait!
- No sleeping with bottles, for the same reason. Pooling breast milk or formula in the mouth can cause damage from bacteria the form.
- Include them in their new dental hygiene routine! Make it fun for them, and celebrate when they graduate to a “big kid toothbrush.”
Final Thoughts on Ways to Soothe a Teething Baby
The teething process can be tough, but I hope this list of teething ideas for babies helps! Cold, pliable items are best for soothing a baby’s sore gums. For many parents, the best teething remedies are ones you can do at home, like chilled items, a soft rubber teething ring, gentle gum massage and cold mashed fruit.
These natural teething remedies have been tried and tested by millions of parents, and I hope bring some relief to your little one too. Different babies experience the teething stage in different ways. Front teeth teething pain might be a breeze for you versus those first molars coming through. Other parents might have the opposite experience! Remember that you might need to try different things for different teeth.
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