When your baby reaches 5-7 months teething usually begins. For some lucky Mums, their baby wakes up from a pleasant nights sleep with a new tooth, but for most of us, it’s an extended length of time when it’s just a nightmare! Bub is in pain, becomes irritable and can have nappy rash, dribble rash, have hot flushed cheeks, develop diarrhoea, sore ears and emotional distress. For most babies, getting new teeth is not a fun experience!
The good news is, there are quite a few options to help soothe baby’s pain!
Choose natural products that aren’t choking hazards for baby to chew on. Wood, silicon and natural rubber are good options that will help ease the discomfort while aid the development of strong jaw muscles that are required for speech.
Silicon and wooden beads can be worn as a necklace for baby to gum on whenever they need more relief!
Amber beads are a popular choice for helping a teething baby. They work by releasing a resin that is absorbed by the skin when it is heated (due to inflammation in babies body) that is said to help block pain pathways. As with anything we place around a baby’s neck, ensure that it is not a hazard, can come off easily in an emergency, and are not worn to sleep.
Herbal teas are a safe and effective way to treat the pain and discomfort of teething in babies. Herbs like chamomile and lemon balm are really nice and gentle and can work well together to soothe a sore and cranky baby.
Brew a weak tea, dilute it more, and give to baby in a bottle, sippy cup, soak a clean washer in it and let your baby suck on the wet washer. Freezing it in ice blocks, or if your baby is having smoothie in their diet, you can use the teething tea as a base for a avocado, and berry smoothie, which you can then freeze into ice blocks as well! Cold seems to be very soothing on hot inflamed gums, so encouraging baby to suck cold tea ice cubes will be very helpful.
When teething seems to be too much for the at home remedies, before you reach for the pharmaceutical options, give herbal medicine a try. Concentrated herbal extracts can be used at age and weight appropriate doses to help symptomatic relief. There are lots of pain herbs, herbs for irritability and sleep, and other herbs to help boost immunity.
At CK Health (link to website- https://ckhealth.com.au/) one of our favourite herbal tonics for teething includes a “big gun” herb for pain, herbs to soothe the nervous system, herbs to help symptom relief such as ear ache, and another herb to fight germs so they won’t get sick on top of teething!
When a tooth erupts it creates an open wound in the gum, and if you have one of those bubs whose teeth seem to go up and down, then they do have a bit of a “breach in their immune barrier” until the tooth is fully up. What do babies do a lot of at that age? Put stuff in their mouths! Most of the time, when they do this, it’s a good thing; it’s building up bacterial diversity in their microbiome and helping their immune system strengthen. In times of vulnerability though, when they are already inflamed, if they happen to chew on a friend’s toy that has a virus, it may have a little short cut into the system. Support the immune system while teething with herbs like Echinacea, elder or pelargonium. Ensure they consume zinc and vitamin C rich foods like pumpkin seed meal, red meat, or citrus.
A lot of mums turn to over the counter homeopathic medicine for teething. If you use the brauer brand products for your child, you are probably utilising homeopathic medicine! The most commonly used remedy for teething is chamomilla. It’s used when a child is impossible to please, when being in your arms is the only thing that soothes them, and they are in unbearable pain.
Homeopathic Belladonna is another teething remedy that is used when the child is really lethargic, hot and red.
One thing to be aware of with a teething baby, is that even though they may become hot and inflamed, they don’t actually develop a “true” fever with teething. Fevers that coincide with teething tend to be due to a virus or infection and may need to be monitored with medical attention.
Remember though, that a fever actually helps kill the virus or bacteria and is the body’s way of repairing itself. Try not to jump onto pain medication when your baby gets a fever; instead, keep them comfortable, with lots of fluids and rest.
There are a few teething gels and rubs available at chemists or online that are marketed for babies. Good old bonjela is one that contains chemicals and isn’t so good babies. There’s even a warning on the box that says not to give to anyone under 16 with chicken pox, influenza or the flu.
Go for natural alternatives or make your own rubs. Jack and Jill have a herbal based rub and Brauer has a rub based on homeopathic medicine.
You may find your baby loses their appetite whilst they are getting new teeth. It may be because it’s just painful when chewing. Try to give them healthy options to suck on- depending on their age you can give them raw or cooked veggie sticks that have been chilled, celery sticks, banana, and avocado pieces.
Rusks are a great option, however, read the ingredients and make sure you are comfortable with them before feeding to your baby, as some are really high in sugar, while others have a preservative in them. A great option is to make your own rusks and add some hidden veggies.
Licorice root is a nice alternative to a rusk. You can get them in 5cm lengths and they are a hard stick, the root itself is used in herbal medicine for soothing mucous membranes and reducing inflammation, so if baby chews on the sweet tasting root, then they will be helping take the pain away.
Bush flower essences or Bach flowers may be used to help balance your baby’s temperament while teething. For an impatient baby, the remedy impatiens might be used.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of rest, recuperation and a good snuggle. Babies love to be held and cuddled, especially when they are going through changes like getting a tooth. You may need to leave the housework for a few days and just cuddle on the couch.
By utilising natural medicine, you will feel more empowered through having holistic support for your family’s health. Don’t stress Mumma, they get through it, and so will you!