Teething babies are often fussy and in discomfort. They often start showing teething symptoms long before seeing those first little white nubs in their mouth. Baby’s gums become inflamed, and all parents want to do is relieve teething pain, soothe those sensitive red gums, and make the baby’s mouth feel better.
Many parents prefer natural teething remedies because over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Orajel, and Ibuprofen are the last resort to many parents. Pushing medications to soothe a baby’s gums can be tempting, but natural teething remedies can be safer and often just as effective.
Old Wives Tales vs. Natural Remedies
Teething pain is miserable for babies, and parents want to help. Babies don’t understand why their mouth hurts, what is happening to them, why they’re so uncomfortable, and why their parents can’t just make the teething pain disappear.
As parents, we feel helpless when our little ones are in pain, and we know it will be a long process. Some teething babies aren’t bothered at all, and the baby’s gums adjust to an erupting tooth as though nothing is happening.
Some babies, however, teethe hard and end up with not only mouth pain but ear pain, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and crankiness.
Many old wives’ tales offer a teething remedy, and it’s easy to dismiss all-natural teething remedies as nothing more than ancient folklore. When we use the term “natural teething remedies,” what is meant is that there are no potentially harmful substances involved.
For many of the natural teething remedies listed in this article, studies back up their efficacy. Baby teething remedies that don’t involve the use of pain relief in medication form aren’t just stories someone’s grandma’s grandma swore by.
12 Best Natural Teething Remedies:
1. Frozen Foods
Frozen foods like fruit in a mesh feeder are a great way to soothe painful gums. You can also freeze chamomile tea in ice cube trays and place those in a mesh feeder to give a little more relief. Chamomile tea has been known to help relieve teething pain and help babies sleep and relax.
2. Amber Teething Necklaces
The amber teething necklace is a hotly debated natural teething remedy. It works by releasing oils, specifically succinic acid, that will help relieve the baby’s teething pain and sore gums when warmed by the baby’s body heat.
Parents swear by these amber necklaces and bracelets, claiming that they alleviate all negative symptoms of the teething process. However, they are also a choking hazard and strangulation hazard. The baltic amber beads are said to soothe sore gums. Some necklaces are also made of wood to replicate a wooden teether.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend any form of jewelry to be worn by infants or toddlers. This was made public after a toddler died while napping with a teething necklace. However, many parents still insist on using them while the child is under their careful supervision.
Never allow any infant or toddler to sleep with a necklace, bracelet, or jewelry.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is one of the best natural teething remedies because it can relieve pain by relieving the nerve endings in the gums that are in distress. Rubbing ginger on the gums even helps tooth pain in older children and adults.
4. Teething Toys
The use of teething toys gives the baby something to chew on. Essentially, it’s a baby chew toy. The pressure of chewing on the hard but pliable silicone of a teething ring or other teether helps soothe the pain that infants feel when they cut a tooth.
For younger infants, who may have some trouble making a typical teething toy work, teething mittens are available. Babies tend to chew on their hands and fingers when they are teething, and these mittens offer an alternative to fingers and hands without introducing any choking hazards.
5. Breast Milk
Breast milk seems to cure almost anything when it comes to babies, and teething is no exception. If your baby is breastfed, consider pumping and freezing some of your pumped milk in an ice cube tray. You can then offer this cold, soothing, nutritious treat in a mesh feeder to ease the baby’s discomfort and tender gums.
6. A Homeopathic Remedy
Homeopathy is the belief that the body can essentially fix itself when in distress. People who subscribe to this belief system may use small amounts of plant, herbal, or fruit extracts to help heal or manage pain, but they primarily allow the body to help itself.
If you are interested in employing a homeopathic remedy for your baby, it’s best to contact an expert, especially before using any extracts or plant-based remedies for your little one.
7. Teething Biscuits
Many teething remedies have parents divided. Like the amber necklace, teething biscuits are loved by some and hated by others as a teething remedy because the biscuits are messy, lack nutrition, and are full of carbohydrates.
It is generally recommended that you try frozen fruits, pumped milk, or frozen food in a mesh feeder before you move on to these products sold in stores and offer little more than something for your baby to gnaw on.
8. Mom’s Clean Finger
Admittedly, this one sounds like an old wives tale, but it works.
When your little one is teething, your baby’s chewing on everything in sight. Usually, this means their own little hands, fingers, and sometimes even toes. They are the most accessible and convenient chew toys.
However, babies aren’t all that concerned with cleanliness or hygiene, and that cute, chubby little finger might have been two knuckles deep in a nostril before it made its way into the baby’s mouth.
Parents can keep a clean environment while offering something to chew on if they thoroughly wash their hands first and then offer their own finger for the baby to chew. This provides relief for the baby, and having a parent close by helps soothe them.
9. Essential Oils
This is another hotly debated natural remedy for teething for babies and children. Make sure that you do your research before using any oils. If they are not properly diluted or don’t use safe baby oils, you could end up causing much more harm than good.
Lavender oil has a calming effect on babies (which is why you see so many baby washes and lotions that are lavender-scented), coconut oil, known as a type of carrier oil, and olive oil help to soothe sore gums. Clove oil also acts as a numbing agent on sore gums.
However, oils must be diluted properly before they are rubbed on the baby, whether it be on the skin or the gums. Essential oils are also helpful for older children and adults. Clove oil, especially when used properly, can even alleviate toothaches in adults.
10. Rubber Gum Massagers
Rubber gum massagers come in a variety of styles. Some even fit over an adult’s finger and have nubs that can help alleviate the pain that a little one feels when cutting a tooth. This can be used instead of or in conjunction with other remedies. Remedies such as wooden teethers, frozen fruit in a mesh feeder, or even a cold cloth are offered to chew on.
11. DIY Popsicles
Depending on the child’s age and baby’s development, making your own popsicles helps to soothe a baby in pain. Most babies will enjoy the numbing sensation associated with the cold popsicle. As long as the baby teething can handle the cold and you don’t mind the mess, it can be a yummy and fun way to help temporarily alleviate pain.
Cold naturally numbs the mouth, as an adult who has ever sucked or chewed on ice cubes knows. If you are hesitant to use other methods like essential oil or amber necklaces, this may be the way to go for you and your little one. The cold popsicle can also help bring down a slight fever that often accompanies teething.
12. Homemade Rose Hip Syrup
Be careful and do plenty of research or ask your pediatrician before embarking upon this method. This is best used for babies over twelve months, especially if the sweetener you plan to use is honey. Babies under one year of age should not have honey, as it carries the risk of botulism.
How to soothe a teething baby at night
Bedtime seems to make everything worse for a sick or teething infant. The excessive drooling makes it difficult for the baby to get comfortable without laying in a slobber puddle. The inconsolable crying that accompanies the pain can feel like a nightmare to both baby and parents, and you can see the discomfort all over your baby’s face.
What can be done to help a little one at night? The following are some tips to help everyone get some sleep.
1. A Warm Bath
Offering a warm bath followed by baby-safe, lavender-scented lotion can help your little one relax and fall asleep more easily. This is especially true if your baby likes baths or playing in water. A little bit of fun in the tub can help take a baby’s mind off the discomfort they feel. You can also give them a damp washcloth while in the tub to chew on to further alleviate pain.
Nothing feels better to a little one who doesn’t feel good than mom or dad (or both!) cuddling them. Sit down in your glider, rocking chair, or favorite recliner, sing softly, rub their hair, back, or feet, and connect and bond with your baby. A little bit of love goes a long way.
3. A Full Belly
Sending a baby to bed with a full belly of infant formula or mother’s milk can help a baby feel relieved, relaxed, and ready for sleep. Infants who have a bottle right before bed often sleep longer and better, and many times during the day, while teething, they are too uncomfortable to eat very well.
4. Stay Calm
It can get frustrating. The screaming. The crying. The chewing. The drool. It can make the most patient of parents want to rip their hair out and cry.
If you feel yourself start to get frustrated or overwhelmed, take a step back, have a cup of coffee or hot tea, take several deep breaths, hug an older child, your spouse, partner, or even yourself, and tell yourself that this is what you were made for. There is no one on the planet better equipped to love this baby than you.
Then calmly hold your baby, talk to your little one, sing, rock, and remind yourself that they are only little once, and you are everything this perfect little person needs. Tomorrow is another day. And you’ll get through tonight in one piece. Give yourself some grace.