But it doesn’t have to suck that much. Teething is a natural process – it can’t be prevented and you can’t fast forward that time, either. But you can minimize the pain from teething! If you’re not familiar with it – (let’s face it – you’ve likely googled every site in the last couple weeks trying to figure out how to stop your babe from crying to badly…but just in case…) – teething is the eruption of your little ones baby teeth! Pushing their way through their gums and causing them to become little screamers and droolers. You might notice inflamed gums, a low-grade temperature, they won’t want to eat as much and they start biting hard objects. Your babe probably has red cheeks, is super irritable, and waking up every hour through the night…Sound familiar? If it does, read on to learn how you can get a better night’s sleep and not want to rip your hair out!
Lidocaine or benzocaine ointment: numbs the area but may suppress the gag reflex and lead to choking. Baby Anbesol is a safer choice than lidocaine!
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen: a pain reliever (that works really well!) with relative side effects (See “Myth #3″ and click “Busted!”).
Clove oil is actually an incredible natural anesthetic. It will take away the soreness from your babe’s gums very quickly! Using too much of this can cause blistering though, so do not use it excessively! You can use JUST ONE DROP of clove oil in 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and massage it onto your little one’s gums (use a clean finger or a cotton swab).
Inflamed gums also crave something soothing. Licorice root can be purchased as a powder and made into a paste. About 1/8 of a teaspoon with some water can be gently placed on the gums to soothe their inflammation.
There are four spots (two acupressure points on each side of the body) that work wonders for pain!
Large Intestine 4 is the Command Point of the Face and Back of the Neck, relieves face and tooth pain, and also helps calm down a nervous system that is stressed out (helllooo teething!). It’s located between the thumb and first finger in the webbing area. Another point is Liver 3 and this point will also help with pain, anger, irritability and works to relax the nervous system . It’s located between the big toe and the second toe just before the webbing of the toes.
You can apply steady pressure for 1-3 minutes or put pressure for 10 seconds, let go for 10 seconds, apply pressure again for 10 seconds and release again – repeating this over and over again (about 10-15 times).
Take a clean cloth and run it under water leaving a corner dry. Ring it out best you can, roll it up keeping that dry corner accessible, put it in a ziploc bag and pop it in the freezer for a few hours. When it’s ready to be taken out you can let your little one hold onto the dry part (it will be softer) and they can play and suck and bite on the frozen part of the cloth. The cold will be soothing to them and it works if you’re in a bind and haven’t had the chance to buy one of those rubber teethers that are freezable! You can do this with a few cloths and swap them out as the one babe sucks warms up.
You can also refrigerate apple slices and let your babe bite on it (cut thick slices not small chunks that are choking hazards!). Another alternative is watermelon rind (with a little watermelon left on it) put in the freezer for a short time or cold straight from the refrigeratory! YUM!
The teething babe wants something hard to bite on. Rubber teething rings, toys, or a hard biscuit seem to be the go-to’s. Make sure you’re buying unbreakable items without small parts so that nothing comes loose and causes choking. You can also purchase wooden teething rings and attach organic cotton to them and put this in the fridge to cool down.
Some little ones also respond very well to amber teething necklaces. You can get them in anklets and bracelets if you’re worried about putting something around your baby’s neck. They’re to be used only under direct supervision and never to be left on when baby goes to bed!! An alternative is a necklace for mom to wear that baby can grab and suck and chew on while you hold them (click here for instructions).
If babe is in a ton of pain, you’re at your wits end, and you have to give them something like Tylenol – it’s most important to remember that comfort and sanity can win over being “completely natural”. There is nothing wrong with wanting to give comfort and to soothe that bundle of love crying in front of you. I hear a lot of guilt from moms that want to be all natural but end up giving an over the counter medication. At the end of your day, if that little one has your love and you have their best interest at heart – you are a great parent. A wonderful, loving, hero of a parent. Embrace this wonderfully tiring part of your babe’s life – I wish you only the best on the journey!