Sharp, searing pain bringing screams and screeches to a little one who cannot communicate through anything else. Or maybe it is a dull, driving pain that produces a headache that won’t wait. I really don’t know what it is like to struggle through teething. I think God knew what He was doing when He gave us teeth in our early years – so we wouldn’t remember the pain that came with it! But as parents we need some serious teething tips to help get us through it!
Our kids have never been the up-crying-through-the night-teething-babies. And we have 4 (I have to say that to myself every now and again to let it sink in)! All of them have been able to sleep through the pain with a little help from us. I thought the process we had for our kids was pretty customary – pretty much the way all parents dealt with it. But a little while back I posted a picture on my Instagram feed of our current teether with a tip I had not discovered until baby #4 and people commented that they had never heard of treating teething that way. So, I thought I would share the wisdom I have gained as a result of shepherding 4 kids through the nightmare that is teething.
As with all things parenting-tip related, I don’t purport to know it all. Every kid is different, but here are the things I believe have helped our kids work through the teething process smoothly.
Teething Tip #1 – SLEEP!
You may think I am saying knock the kids out on Benadryl and get to bed. I am NOT saying that! I truly believe the biggest part of getting a kid through the teething process is helping them to sleep through the night early! We are devotees of Baby Wise around here (I know that means some of you will stop reading right now) – and with good reason, it works! We were definitely more successful with Baby Wise with babies 1 and 2 and they were the ones that slept through a LARGE portion of the teething with no trouble. They were equipped to sleep through the night by the time those sharp little teeth started to pop through. So they usually didn’t wake up at all. The pain killing effects of sleep worked for them!
Teething Tip #2 – Vanilla
We have used vanilla for our babies during teething since baby number 1. We got the tip from some family members who swore by it. They told us to rub it on baby’s gums. We tried it with our first and we have never looked back. Note, I am not saying give LARGE amounts of vanilla to baby. I am saying a TINY amount rubbed on baby’s gums usually has some soothing effects.
By the way, the tip I shared on Instagram had to do with rubbing vanilla on baby’s gums. From my earliest days of using vanilla, I literally rubbed (with my finger) the vanilla onto the gums. I got a small bottle and put some on my finger tip and rubbed the gumline.
I figured out another, more practical way to apply the vanilla – Q-tips!! What!!!?? I can’t believe I didn’t think of this in previous teething trauma times. So simple. This is Baby N just after a session with the Q-tip dipped in Vanilla.
Teething Tip #3 – Good teethers
I have an aversion to pacifiers. Well, I should say I HAD an aversion to pacifiers. With all 3 of our babies who used pacifiers for a certain amount of time, I kind of dealt with it as a matter of course and prayed they wouldn’t be too attached to them. Then we had a baby who refused, REFUSED to take a pacifier. And I learned just how wonderful these little things are for all manner of situations.
So, yes, I recommend a pacifier for night and nap-time comfort, especially during teething. But if you have a baby who is NOT interested in a pacifier, I recommend a good teether. I really like the ones that lightly vibrate when baby bites down on it. Somehow, this helps teething pain. And my kids’ eyes light up when they get the surprising soothing sensation each time they bite.
NOTE: The cold teethers have worked with some success for some of our kids. But some refused to take anything cold. If money was the issue and I had to choose just one kind of teether to try for my kids, I would go with the vibrating teethers.
Teething Tip #4 – Bibs, Bibs, Bibs
Oh, the drool. Oh, the drool. When baby is teething the drool can be shocking! The lubrication of drool helps those little teeth find their way through the gums. And the drool finds its way: everywhere!! I prefer a different kind of bib for all-day wear during teething than the ones used for eating at the table. The ones with some thickness with super soft backing are great. I actually really like the FREE ones you can get here (use code SIMPLE50 to get $50 off your purchase, making the five bibs you choose FREE). You do pay for shipping on these, but I figure it is about the same as purchasing them through a retailer. I also like the aden + anais bibs, they are just a little pricier.
Teething Tip #5 – Dealing with Drool Rash
Is there a name for the condition that happens under baby’s chin (in the folds of her neck) because of the constant moisture? Well, whatever that is actually called, I am going to call it Drool Rash. I don’t remember this being a huge problem with our girls, but with our boy (who has super sensitive skin) we dealt with this quite frequently during teething.
Here’s what I did to clear it up in a matter of a DAY: 1. Clean the area really well with a soft cloth. I really do recommend Water Wipes for this (because regular wipes can sting this super sensitive skin), but a wash cloth with water works, too. 2. Dry the area well (a fresh cloth bib works well for this). 3. Generously Apply Weleda Diaper Cream to the area. This is my preferred diaper cream, in general, because it is SUPER gentle (no stinging for sensitive skin) and effective.
NOTE: I have no cute pictures of this because this is a two-person job and there are no opportunities to take pictures while dealing with a squirming kid – ha!
Teething Tip #6 – When all else fails
You will notice that I haven’t recommended at any point to load the screaming kid up with Benadryl and lay her down for a nap. Although there are times when this was an appealing option, it is a bit early to be loading little one with the burden of “the hard stuff.” However, WE DO sometimes use some over the counter remedies for teething. We have had good success with this homeopathic option in the past. And we are not averse to offering some Baby Advil when it is clear the pain is overwhelming for baby.
There you have it! Those are my simple teething tips based on surviving teething with four different babies. I have seen lots of other teething tips and I have tried a lot of them. But these are the ones that worked for us. What worked for you? Leave a comment and let me and the other mamas struggling with teething your BEST teething tip!