My husband and I were at our wits end when our second son was teething. He cried so much that neither of us were getting any sleep. Part of the problem was we just didn't expect it to be so bad. Our oldest son was never as fussy when he was teething so the problem just sort of snuck up on us. We became so sleep deprived, we were snapping at one another all the time and my husband had trouble concentrating at work. Even worse was watching our son have so much pain and not being able to do anything to relieve it! We knew we absolutely had to find a solution.
It got so bad I actually went to the library and checked out every book I could find on the subject. We also asked everyone we knew that had kids what they did to soothe their babies when they were teething. I even bought an ebook on the subject. Finally, after trying hundreds of different methods, we came up with a few amazing ways to soothe our son that really seemed to work. We have passed on these same methods on to several friends too and they seem to work on most babies. So, without further ado, here the best teething tips we found:
1. Really Cold Banana Imitation Game - If your baby has started eating solid food, this one is a winner -- as long as you're in the mood to clean up a mess! Babies are naturally attracted to the sweet delicate flavor and the gummy texture of a banana. You can place the banana in the refrigerator or the freezer to get it nice and cold but don't freeze it or it could hurt their gums. However, the coldness will help take the soreness away, at least for a while. It's easy for a baby to wrap his hand about a banana and hold on it so it's a food with a built-in handle. Now, here's the real secret to this particular teething remedy. Babies love to imitate (or try to) so you want to eat a piece of the banana in a really animated way in front of your baby to get them interested in doing it themselves and to distract them from the pain. Really smack on it and make lots of audible yummy noises and lick your lips as you do so! Smile a lot and laugh a lot as you do so too! Pretty soon your baby will be imitating you and he will forget all about his aching gums!
2. Comedy Routine - A co-worker of a friend of mine heard about our problem and she suggested making funny faces at the baby until he laughed "to get his mind off his problem." My husband and I tried this and it worked! In fact, we found the sillier we got the better, the better it worked. We even picked up some funny bunny ears from the dollar store that evoked an even bigger response. This evolved into a whole comedy routine with our son's favorite being when we pretended we were monkeys and ran around making chee chee noises and rubbing ribs with the back of our hands. We'd even get our toddler in on the action. Whenever our baby was really hurting, this is the method we figured out actually worked the best, especially if we combined it with aloe vera or clove oil (see below).
3. Fresh Aloe Vera - This is a tip that came to me from a cousin of mine. She recommended aloe gel that she gets at the drugstore. I checked it out one day and read the ingredients. I found out the active ingredient was aloe extract from the aloe vera plant. I thought why should I buy aloe gel when I keep a living aloe vera plant in the kitchen window to use on burns. I did some research to make sure aloe vera juice wasn't poisonous for a baby and it isn't. In fact, it has a very high concentration of vitamins and minerals (not that I'm recommending to feed them gobs of it). It even has enzymes that give a nice boost to the immune system. To use it on a teething baby, simply break off a small piece and put a little of the fresh gel on the tip of your finger. Then use this finger to lightly rub your baby's gums. Make sure you wash your hands well first. By the way, fresh aloe vera juice can also help clear up diaper rash and other skin abrasions on your baby but always first test on a small patch of skin to make sure there is no allergy.
4. Diluted Clove Oil In Coconut Oil - A friend of mine's mother is really into natural remedies. She told me about using clove oil to ease a baby's sore gums during teething. In fact, she said that years ago, there was no Orajel and almost every household had a small bottle of clove oil in their medicine cabinet to "doctor" a toothache and teething babies. She also said it worked much better than Orajel. Clove oil removes the pain instantly and it is also a very powerful antibacterial agent. If you go to a health store or a natural food store, you can find small bottles of clove oil. Get the undiluted variety so you can control what carrier oil you dilute it with and how much you dilute it with. Start with one drop of clove oil in nine drops of slightly warmed coconut oil, a 1/10 ratio. Coconut oil will help the clove oil absorb better than other carrier oils you'd have around the house. If the 1/10 concentration doesn't work, prepare a slightly more concentrated version like one drop of clove oil in eight drops of coconut oil. To apply, simply dip your finger in the diluted clove oil and gently rub this on your baby's gums.
5. A Bath With a Rubber Ducky - You know how a good shower always makes you feel better after a rough day. I think it's the same way for babies when they get to splashing around in a shallow bath with a rubber ducky to play with. This was a teething tip that came from my mother-in-law. She said when my husband was a baby and he would get really irritable from teething, she would give him a bath with his favorite rubber duck and he would be all smiles again. I admit I was a bit skeptical that a bath would actually help with teething but boy was I wrong... happily so! I am here to report it works like a charm!
6. Nursing - Actually, I discovered this one by accident. My natural instinct was to wait until the baby calmed down before I nursed him. Somehow, I thought that he would not nurse due when he was crying out with teething pain and I thought that all that all the crying might be bad for his digestion. However, one morning, he was crying for so long, I thought I better not wait any longer. To my amazement, he calmed down as soon as I started nursing him. I tried it again later that day and it worked again! I honestly don't know if it's the sucking motion or just the fact that nursing is so calming for a baby. Perhaps it is a combination of the two. I do know it works almost every time because I've since talked to other Moms who have tried this and it always seems to work for their babies too.
7. Teething Jewelry - This is the new hip modern solution to teething problems. This is a necklace you wear around your neck with a teether as the medallion. I prefer the non-toxic silicon medallion type. The baby simply grabs the teether as it dangles from your neck and you don't have to worry about the baby swallowing the strap. I especially liked this method when I would take the baby with me shopping or on other errands. If he got to squalling, I could always stop and cuddle him while he chewed on my teething necklace a while. It was very handy.
Well, those are the most amazing teething remedies that we tried on our son and they seemed to work most of the time and on most other babies too! I wish you good luck trying these techniques on your teething baby!