13 Awesome Teething Hacks for First Time Moms
Ugh! Teething can be such a pain…literally…for everyone! If it’s your first time dealing with a teething baby, it can seem overwhelming. Don’t empty your wallet on countless toys and rings that promise to make your little one’s teeth emerge painlessly. Check out these simple tips for calming them down while saving some dough!
Your local baby store sells plenty of toys that manufacturers promise will provide relief, but they don’t seem to be working. In fact, if your kids are anything like mine, they probably don’t ever touch those teething rings and other designated “teething” toys. Don’t get me wrong – the concepts are great, in theory.
So, has anyone actually been able to get their baby to chew on those rings in the correct places, at the suggested times? You know what I’m talking about – those silicone rings that show the different regions they supposedly help at different ages. Um…really?? Yeah, let me show my 2 month old that he needs to work on his front bottom teeth first. “Here, sweetie, now only chew on it like this, because these teeth are supposed to come in first!” Give me a break! But don’t feel bad, I bought practically every teething ring ever made, in the hopes that they would work.
Here are some other cool teething products I’ve seen (at least I thought they were cool – obviously my boys didn’t). Teething necklaces with fun-colored beads. Silicone teething watches. “Stages” teething brushes with silicone brushes and bristles and knobby things. Teething squeaky toys. Teething bibs (No, really…they actually make these!). Teething toy fruits. Teething pacifiers with chewable mouth guards. Oh, and what about that adorable penguin that you dunk in ice water? Cute, but no go. My kids laughed at all of these things and more. So what DID work?
Before you go out and spend tons of money on different teething products to try to soothe your baby, try these hacks that won’t cost you much, if anything.
1) Wooden Toys and Rings
My boys loved chewing on wooden toys when they were teething. We used simple wooden rings that I removed from a plastic and wooden rattle. Thin wooden building shapes have the same effect. You can buy cheap untreated wooden rings from multiple sources on eBay.
2) Wet Rag
This one is pretty simple. Soak a baby wash cloth or rag in cold water, and ring it out. You may want to put a waterproof bib on your baby while they chew on the cold, wet rag. Or you could just set a cup of cold water beside the bath and re-dip it for them to chew on and suck the water out during bath time. If your baby doesn’t mind cold, you can stick the wet rag in the freezer for a few minutes for some extra relief. Just experiment and see what works for your child, as they are all very different.
3) A Silver Spoon
Well, it doesn’t have to be real silver, but the color silver! As long as your baby is able to sit up on their own, let them chew on a grown-up spoon. (You don’t really want to hand a baby a metal spoon if they are laying down…just use discretion!) Something about the combination of the cold metal on their teeth, along with the excitement of using a grown-up toy, should distract them from their pain for a while. Just make sure the spoon doesn’t have any sharp spots, and keep an eye on them so they don’t do any damage with it!
4) A Sippy Cup
Even if your baby isn’t using sippy cups yet, they may enjoy chewing on one for some relief. Don’t ask me what it is, because I don’t have a clue, but it works! My kids (and others I know) always preferred the ones with handles and silicone spouts. NUK, Mam, and Avent are the best ones that I’ve found that have both handles and a soft spout. You can put a few ounces of cool formula or diluted juice in the cup as an added enticement if necessary.
5) A Cold Drink
If your baby is old enough to have juice when they start teething, you can give them some cold, diluted juice in their bottle. Once they hit 6 months, they can have a bit of cold water instead. You can let the bottle nipple sit in a cup of ice water for a few minutes before offering it to your baby.
6) A Pool Noodle
There are way too many uses for pool noodles, and that will have to be a separate post one day, but here’s one for now. Slice a pool noodle into little rings (about 1/2″ to 3/4″ width) with a kitchen knife. I haven’t seen a baby yet that doesn’t absolutely love chewing on these. Just be sure to supervise, especially if they have other teeth already. My littler monster began taking big chunks out of them once his 4 front teeth arrived.
7) A Juicy Wash Cloth
The wet rag concept still applies – babies like to suck on a wet cloth. But some are not crazy about cold things yet, so a little extra enticement can go a long way. If your baby doesn’t care for the cold, wet rag mentioned above, try soaking a small wash cloth in juice instead. The sweet taste should be enough to get that little one sucking and get some relief! Just be sure to place them somewhere that can handle a little sticky mess.
8) Cold Purees
As long as your baby is comfortable with purees, feel free to serve them chilled. Even better, serve them on a silicone-tipped spoon. NUK makes some really cool spoons with metal handles and silicone tips. The metal extends into the tip, so it’s not flimsy, but still has a great chewable feel to it. My boys would hold onto them with their teeth as they took each bite, and it gave them quite a bit of relief. In fact, on really bad days, they would cry between bites and quiet down as they chomped on the spoon!
9) A Wooden Spoon
Or a plastic one, I guess. Give your baby a couple big serving or cooking spoons to chew on. These have always been a big hit around here. And the best part? They don’t cost you anything.
10) A Toothbrush
No, not one of those silicone teething knobby things – I mean a real toothbrush. Babies love the feel of the real bristles on their gums and teeth. If your baby is extra cranky, you can put a tiny bit of non-fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush to entice them to take it quickly.
11) A Small Stuffed Animal
Does your baby chew on blankets? Mine did! Well, my 9 month old still does, actually! The thought of it makes me cringe – it’s like nails on a chalkboard! But babies love the feel of a soft, plushy object on their little gums when they are teething. Another favorite around here has been small stuffed animals. Sassy makes some adorable little animals that are about 3″ tall, and these are the perfect size.
12) Foam Bath Toys
If you got some foam letters or animals at your baby shower and haven’t used them yet, now is a good time. Offer them to your baby outside of bath time, and see if they don’t quickly catch on. The foam provides enough resistance to provide some relief to sore gums.
If all else fails, consult your pediatrician about giving some type of medication to your baby. There are several over-the-counter remedies and medications to try, and every mom has a different opinion about them, so I won’t expand on this here! In general, I try to avoid giving medications to my children; but when other methods fail, this is an option. Talk with your pediatrician and decide what you think is best for your family.
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Do you have an epic teething hack that you would be willing to share? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!