Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Natural Teething Solutions

Tooth #5 just came in. Wesley has a rough time with teething. He lets us know he's uncomfortable with extreme fussiness, he wakes often during the night, and whines during his sleep. I know every baby is different, but Wes definetely needs help when teething. We have found a mix of natural teething solutions that help successfully ease his suffering. They are listed in order of what I consider most helpful.

The Frozen Washcloth
When he's teething, we keep a few frozen washcloths in the freezer ready for those obviously uncomfortable times. Often it is an instant miracle cure. It's nice because there are no plastics involved. Simply take a washcloth (preferably an undyed cotton one--we use baby washcloths), run it under the faucet, and stick it in the freezer. It takes about 15 minutes to adequately freeze. I like to let it thaw a couple minutes before giving it to him as it can become very stiff.

Sometimes his teeth hurt so badly he won't nurse without his frozen washcloth. He alternates back and forth between eating and sucking on the washcloth until he is done. I was happy to discover this solution because it was bad news when he was hurting, hungry, and couldn't nurse to sleep.

The Amber Teething Necklace
Wesley's amber necklace is beautiful, made of small amber beads.The baby doesn't actually teethe on the necklace, but wears it around his neck, and the resin in the amber, when warmed by the skin, has an anti-inflammatory effect. Amber has been used for centuries in Europe as a teething and anti-inflammatory solution.

During Wesley's first bought of teething, I was willing to try anything, so I bought a necklace to see if it worked. I was very skeptical at first, hesitant to be convinced, but after five teething teeth, I am willing to say that it works for us. After a day of wearing it, his symptoms dramatically decrease. Like he goes from a frozen washcloth-dependent, sad little baby who nurses all night long to pretty much normal again. When I've taken it off (having misplaced it on multiple occasions), within a day or so, the symptoms return full force. So, we are pleased with the necklace and will continue to use it when he is teething. We take it off when he sleeps for safety. When he wears his necklace during the day, the nights seem to go more smoothly.

The Mesh Feeder
Once Wesley was 6 months old (so, after his first two teeth were in) and was eating solid foods, we put his frozen pureed food cubes into a mesh feeder so he could soothe his gums and eat at the same time. I had frozen puree cubes on hand, but some people who pump use frozen breast milk with success.

The mesh feeder only lets small pieces of food through so we don't have to worry about choking. Now that he prefers mostly finger foods, he teeths on the food in the mesh bag, but we also give him finger food on his tray to keep him happy as he eats. We have the Sassy Teething Feeder.

Wooden Objects
Wesley's small wooden blocks and wooden rattles make for good teethers, too. He likes a variety of textures when he is teething. We have this rattle by Haba and basic unfinished wooden blocks. Wooden objects are good alternatives to offer when he tries to chew on our wooden furniture.

Natural Rubber Pacifier
Wes didn't use a pacifier when he was younger, so we give him a natural rubber pacifier when he is teething. Rather than suck on it, he bites and chews on it like a teether. I think this solution only works if the baby isn't accustomed to sucking on a pacifier. I think that the natural rubber is better than the plastic or silicone alternatives.

Tea: I haven't been able to tell that this has any effect, but I drink camomile tea when he is teething because some people say it helps, because I like chamomile tea, and because I figure it can't hurt.
Chamomilla Homeopathy: Occasionally we'll give Wes some Chamomilla Homeopathy. He loves taking the drops. The drops at least temporarily distract him from his fussing and may help for a little while (?). I am not sure if the short term effect of shifting his mood is because it's such a yummy, fun experience or if it's the remedy working. It has not been a significant help for us, but helps diffuse a fussy situation and may help for a few hours?

Like many babies, when teething Wesley needs more snuggles and is more prone to waking or to wanting his mommy nearby. The above solutions help us all stay more comfortable when he's having teething troubles. I had not anticipated how much teething there would be in babyhood. There are a lot of teeth to come in!

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