Natural Remedies to Soothe a Teething Baby
Teething is a major milestone in every child’s life, and can occur from 3 months to 2 years. The first teeth usually erupt before 7 months of age, but sometimes it can take as long as 18 months. If your baby shows signs of healthy growth, a late set of teeth is nothing to worry about.
As teeth push through your baby’s gums, he may experience discomfort in many forms. You may feel helpless during this time, and while there are many over-the-counter medications that ease pain, there are also safe and natural methods to soothe your baby.
Though babies cannot speak, they can alert parents with nonverbal signs of teething. Knowing teething indicators can prepare you to help relieve your baby’s symptoms, or know if a more serious, underlying issue exists. Common symptoms of teething include:
- Chewing & sucking on everything
- Loss of interest in food
- Swollen gums
- Touching ears and face
Teething rash may also appear if your baby is excessively drooling; a combination of your baby’s bacteria, in addition to constant moisture, allows this rash to develop on chins, cheeks, necks, or chest. Keeping a muslin cloth nearby can help wipe away drool as soon as it appears, thus keeping your baby’s face and neck dry.
Although teething side effects can be a concern, some symptoms may not be associated with teething. More serious side effects may indicate another issue that requires medical attention. Symptoms commonly mistaken as teething include:
- Running nose
- High fever
A slight rise in body temperature may occur during teething, but any temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a serious fever and is not usually caused by teething. Call your health care provider if your child is experiencing severe symptoms.
Foods for Teething
Your fussy baby may be opposed to eating normal portions and foods during teething. Certain items may be more enticing to your teething child. The pointed little teeth that are erupting through your child’s gums can leave his mouth sore, so avoid irritating foods such as acidic, salty, citric, and spicy items. Additionally, avoid overfeeding foods that are difficult to digest (such as raw vegetables and whole-grain bread), high-protein and rich foods.
Feed simple, easily digestible foods on a regular schedule with breaks of at least two hours between feedings. If your baby will eat solids, the pressure from chewing crunchy or harder foods (that are age-appropriate) can help. If your baby is not interested in chewing, nursing or giving formula helps comfort during this distressing time; and soft, pureed food may provide relief. Food ideas to help your baby during sensitive teething include:
- Baby finger foods, like chilled watermelon or cucumber sticks
- Icy pops made in freezer trays with pure juice (diluted with water)
- Small, bite size bits of plain yogurt that have been frozen
- Hard teething biscuits
- Serve relaxing Kuzu drinks that soothe the mouth and digestive system
- Offer alkaline-producing foods, like veggie broth
Whole and natural foods are generally more alkaline-forming; while foods with high protein and fat levels, like animal foods or refined and sugary items are more acid-forming. Offer foods and beverages that are centered (alkaline) on the yin-yang spectrum such as fruits like berries or apples, versus those that are citric.
You can help alleviate your baby’s teething pain by offering items that have been chilled in the freezer for a short time – freezing to extreme temperatures can be painful. There are endless ideas to numb and ease aching.
- Wet knots on teething blankets and chill before giving to your baby.
- Freeze chamomile tea bags and wrap in muslin cloths—the chamomile has anti-inflammatory and calming properties.
- Fill pacifiers with water, then freeze before giving to baby to suck on.
- Use tofu or chlorophyll compresses.
Teethers are designed specifically for babies getting their primary teeth, commonly referred to as temporary teeth. Front, side, and molar teeth emerge at different times, so providing your baby with a variety of teethers that will reach teeth, during each stage, helps promote healthy oral development and ease discomfort and pain. There are a variety of teether types to choose from:
- Cleaning Teethers
- Silicone Teethers
- Cooling Teethers
- Blankie Teethers
- Toys that function as Teethers, too
Teethers often have textured surfaces that massage gums and teeth, and some are shaped to reach particular areas of the mouth. Because toys go in your baby’s mouth, be sure they are made with safe ingredients, like plant-based materials, safer plastics, or silicone.
While many remedies are directly linked to the mouth and teeth, there are external practices that can help ease your child’s pain. Topical treatments and essential oils are some of the ways you can use holistic medicine to relieve teething tenderness.
Lavender and chamomile are some of the best essential oils for babies. If using lavender, dilute the essential oil in another oil, such as coconut or olive. Chamomile can be applied without dilution. Rub a small amount of this topical liquid into your baby’s jawline to soothe, calm, and ease pain. Do not apply directly onto gums.
With Acupoint massage treatment, you can help reduce your child’s pain. Acupoints for teething babies are Lung 1, 7; Stomach 36, and Liver 3.
When your child hurts, you may feel his pain. Both you and your child can benefit from therapeutic energy through palm healing (Reiki). Intentionality, focus, and mindful breathing can encourage circulation and healing in your baby.Massage is another effective way to not only connect with, but help your baby. Ten to 15 minutes a day can boost his well-being and comfort during teething.
Note: The suggestions and ideas in this article are not intended to take the place of professional guidance or treatment; they are meant to complement the advice of your child’s health care provider, caretakers, and educators, while offering consolidated information to help you develop your intuition and make choices that fit with your own personal, religious, or spiritual philosophies. There is no guarantee as to the effects of the use of the recommendations and no liabilities can be taken.