If it isn't already, teething will become one of your most used words, along with muslin. 'I think they're teething', 'He'll sleep better when he's finished teething', 'She must be teething'. I've used teething as an excuse for anything from poor appetite to lack of sleep, to general irritability. All of which makes for a grumpy baby, and grumpy mum. So how do we make it stop?!
A teether recommended by the Unmumsy Mum which had worked well for her baby... not so much for mine
There are tonnes of teething gels, powders, granules, liquids and homeopathic remedies out there which promise to help with teething, but there's often not a lot of evidence they work. Then again there are teethers of every shape and size - wooden, rubber, silicone... the list goes on. I must admit I was the first to rush to Amazon to buy the teething glove one of my mum friends swore by, to see my baby pull it off straightaway and never, ever, put it near his mouth. Not only it is annoying and a waste of money to have a drawer full of teethers your baby doesn't like, they can be hard to pass on second hand and so are not a great eco choice.
Here are eight effective, free (and eco-friendly) remedies you can easily try to return your little one to the happy, smiley baby they used to be:
1. Frozen cloth
Anything cold can help reduce the inflammation in their gums, and is also a fun sensory experience for them. Freeze a clean, wet cloth wipe or flannel and let your baby chew to their heart's delight.
2. Frozen food
If your baby is weaning, cold, or frozen food is a great teething solution. Melon, banana, cucumber, apple, carrot, basically all the classic weaning foods can be frozen and given for relief. Obviously keep an eye on your baby while they are exploring any food.
3. Frozen breastmilk lolly
If they're not weaning yet, why not try a breastmilk lolly? You'll probably need a lollipop mould to make this, but try and buy one you can use to make your own lollipops for your child when they're older as well. If your baby is weaning you could try making a lolly with pureed fruit or diluted orange juice.
4. Cold metal spoon/wooden spoon
Spoons are your saviour! A wooden spoon is a great size to chew on, and if you want to go one step further, put a metal spoon in the fridge for 15 minutes, then give it to your baby.
5. Make your own teething biscuits
If you're in to baking (and again your baby is weaning), you can make your own hard teething biscuits for your little one to enjoy. There are plenty of recipes online and making your own is better than buying rusks which almost always include sugar.
6. Frozen bottle
Back to frozen things again, try freezing a bottle with water or milk in, tipped upside down so the frozen liquid is in the teat. Then let your baby chew on this (a better option than chewing on your nipple)!
The added benefit of giving them a toothbrush to chew on is that they'll get used to handling it, getting into good habits for when those teeth do come in! There are loads of eco-friendly baby/kids toothbrushes out there, or just let them use an old one of yours.
If your little one (and you!) are still really suffering, there's nothing for it but cuddles, milk and lots of distraction - walks in the pram, or water play are great for this.