What’s the best place to turn to find home remedies for common children’s ailments? Moms of course!
Below is a list of the Top 10 teething remedies by natural moms from online forums. I compiled an informal count from several forums, including the Motheringdotcommune Natural Family Living community, Granola Chicks natural parenting community, and Amity Mama, the Attachment Parenting community. Of 179 recommendations reviewed and tallied, the following remedies represent the most popular solutions to ease teething pain and comfort baby’s gums.
Think you can guess the #1 recommended natural teething remedy? Read on!
10. Plush Chew Toys
Among the recommendations to try plush toys, the organic toys by Under the Nile (aff) were mentioned as being made specifically for teething.
Buying used items is a great way to reduce consumption of our natural resources (including packaging) and it’s often possible to find used brand-name toys on ebay that are every bit as sweet as they were new.
To locate used plush teethers on ebay, try this search:
Or for lovey blankets on ebay, another possible teething buddy:
9. Your Finger, Ever Handy-Dandy
A number of moms reminded that your finger is a chew toy that’s never too far away. My problem with this solution? Once we have our first teeth it’s very difficult to teach the “Don’t bite mama!” lesson while simultaneously encouraging gnawing on your knuckles!
8. Cold Fruit or Vegetables
Several moms mentioned they use mesh feeders with frozen bananas, mangos, or other frozen fruit to help soothe painful gums.
An alternative to the mesh feeder (one that avoids the issue of plastic or petroleum-based synthetics altogether) is a knotted handkerchief or a muslin or cheesecloth sack. Many health food stores sell re-usable tea bags in undyed cotton or eco-friendly hemp (aff) that are ideal for the purpose and food safe. Be sure that the tie strings are cut shorter than 9″ (not too difficult!) as longer strings can represent a strangulation hazard for babies.
Moms also offered large refrigerated or frozen pieces of carrot or celery, cut too large to place entirely in the mouth. (Cold carrots are a fave of my eight-month old now, as well as carrots straight out of the garden and just washed!)
One mom claimed that celery actually has numbing properties that help lessen the pain of teething.
Another mom notes that until babies have both upper and lower teeth, they can’t actually bite off pieces of carrot. Once your baby has broken teeth top and bottom, however, use caution giving him food unsupervised. According to Wikipedia:
Infants chew on objects to aid in the teething process. This can be dangerous if the baby is allowed to chew on objects which are small enough to be swallowed or which could break while being chewed and cause choking.
7. Wooden Teething Toys and Rings
Wooden teething toys are of course a generations-old solution to teething pain. Some specific mentions popular among natural moms were wood teethers by Camden Rose, Haba, Selecta (aff), and organic toys by Keptin Jr. All of the above brands include toys made in Europe or America.
My personal experience with wooden toys for teething is that a baby’s preferences are truly dependent on age and stage of development. When shopping for teething toys, keep in mind the size of the object, as we’ve found some teething rings too large to be comfortable at a younger age. For younger babies, weight is also an issue!
And don’t forget the ubiquitous alternative to the wooden teething ring: the wooden cooking spoon. Nearly every kitchen has them, and they’re food safe! We picked up a few new ones at the grocery and gave Little D. the old ones to be doubly sure any wood finishings had long since worn away. Keep an eye out for wooden spoons, measuring cups, and measuring spoons while garage sale shopping, too. They’re all inexpensive favorites!
Don’t forget to research used sources to reduce consumption of our natural resources! We’ve gotten a few of our Haba teethers on ebay.
To locate used wooden teethers on ebay, try this search:
6. Single Dose Chamomilla Homeopathic Remedy
Chamomilla is a single dose homeopathic remedy, one that is packaged in the Hyland’s Kids’ Kit (aff) that we recently purchased online. The easiest way we’ve found to give the dose is to simply crush the very small tablet with a spoon, add a bit of water, and give to bébé.
We decided to give single doses a try, rather than a multi-dose remedy (see below), as it seemed more cost effective in the long run. The Kids’ Kit also includes a bumps and bruises ointment and remedies for coughs and colds that I figure will be handy in the future.
I also wanted to have more control of which remedy I was giving to Little Del, and having single doses allows me to have that. Although I’m still a newbie to homeopathy, the low, low doses don’t scare me the way prescription treatments do, so I feel free to experiment. By giving single doses I can make note of which ones seem to offer relief, and then try that first next time while also having some information to offer a homeopath or naturopath, should we ever have need of one in the future.
As I say, “It’ll either work, or it will do absolutely nothing!” Why not give it a go?
5. Clove-Oil for Painful Gums
Among the clove-based teething remedies recommended were Gumomile and Gummy Rub.
You can also make your own clove oil home remedy. Cynthia Mosher from the Mothering forums explained:
Clove oil is a possibility too and it works very well but you must be very careful with it as it can cause blistering of the gum if used in excess. It should be diluted in a carrier oil - 1 drop of clove oil in 1-2 tablespoons of almond oil or another edible oil - and gently massaged into the gum.
Castor oil was mentioned as an anti-inflammatory and a good carrier oil for home remedies. Several moms, however, cautioned against the use of clove oil and clove-based treatments like Gumomile, as it is quite strong. Some had bad experiences themselves.
Always test on yourself first and remember that you’re treating a baby! If it seems strong to you, it will be very strong for your lil’ loved one!
4. Amber Teething Necklaces
Moms varied in their assessment of the effectiveness of amber teething necklaces to comfort their babies when teething, but all seemed to agree on one point — they’re beautiful, so what the heck!
3. Ice Cube and Slushy Remedies
Among my sources, 17 moms enthusiastically recommended frozen remedies to help ease the pain of teething. Moms chose either plain water, breast milk, or diluted chamomile tea, frozen in cubes.
Mollyeilis at the Mothering forums, was super-enthusiastic, like many of the recommendations I read:
Cold teethers, nursing if that’s part of your lives…ooh, a good one is frozen breastmilk (again, if that’s part of your lives) given as sort of a slushy. My son LOVED that.
Methods for preparation varied among moms:
- Ice cubes placed in a handkerchief, washcloth, cheesecloth, or a feeder. For younger children, some moms crush the ice cubes first. When using a cloth, some moms simply knotted it around the cube, some secured it with a rubber band (Use caution as a broken rubber band could represent a choking hazard!). As mentioned above, re-usable tea bags in undyed cotton or eco-friendly hemp (aff) are also an option. As you experiment, try wetting the cloth, or wetting just the center, before you set the ice cube inside.
- Ice cubes prepared as a slushy.
- Ice cubes scraped with a spoon and fed to baby.
- Favorite drink frozen in a popsicle mold. This one comes as a comment from a dad and reader.
Once your baby is comfortable with solids, another idea is actually placing cubed baby food in the feeder or cloth, if you prepare your food with the ice cube method.
Electra375 at the Mothering forums explained her use of chamomile:
I make chamomile tea ice cubes in a little ice cube tray that came w a small frig unit. I put the ice cubes in a hanky and crush, I secure the hanky together. My ds loved them and was calmed. I have also used a little mesh feeder thing w a handle and if I don’t have chamomile tea cubes made regular work as well.
2. Cold, Frozen Washcloths
Hitting up the double digits in recommendations — and the most frugal of possibilities — is the simple washcloth teething remedy. Some moms freeze washcloths, some just get them cold but the concept is the same: wet, wring out, and place in the freezer. Similar to the ice cube remedy, above, some moms choose to dip the washcloth in chamomile tea before freezing.
Try out different degrees of coldness for your baby. If she doesn’t seem to enjoy the sensation, you can also try a damp or dry washcloth or hankie with knots tied in it; some babies enjoy the hardness of the knots. Finally, experiment with different textures and thicknesses.
And the #1 recommended natural teething remedy is…
1. Hyland’s Teething Tablets or Boiron Camilia
Both the Hyland’s and the Boiron (aff) brands are multi-dose homeopathic remedies. The concept here is that though not all babies have the same symptoms, most babies will respond to one of the ingredients included in the multi-dose treatments. You could achieve the same effect by testing various single-dose remedies on your child until you find the one that works best. No baby needs all of the ingredients at once; they’re just included for convenience to cover the most likely candidates for a large number of babies’ symptoms.
Multi-dose homeopathics represented the overwhelming majority of the teething recommendations among natural moms in the forums I surveyed. Although I grouped them into one item here, even separately they’d be the number two and number one slots. Of the 179 recommendations I reviewed, 40 were for Hyland’s and 23 were for Boiron.
Bear in mind that Boiron Camilia is a liquid and a vegan solution, but Hylands is not, due to its inclusion of lactose in the tablet formulation. Also, be aware that parabens are listed among the ingredients of the Hyland’s teething gel, but not the teething tabs. Parabens have been potentially linked (although inconclusively) to cancer, so if you’re the cautious type you might prefer the Hyland’s tablets.
Other Ways to Ease Teething Pain
Some other ideas listed in the forums are placing a rubber or silicone pacifier in the freezer, which works for babies who don’t use pacifiers for their intended purpose but instead chew on them as a teether. It’s super cute to watch Little Del chew on the handle of our natural rubber teether (pacifier)!
Also, if you’re a nursing mom, try chamomile tea or Rescue Remedy yourself, and beef up on Vitamin C which is purported to help.
[Edit: If you're a dad with advice or seeking advice on teething, my apologies for the slant toward moms! A commenter noticed this and graciously pointed it out to me. All of the sources on specifically natural parenting advice I found when preparing this article were geared specifically to women! But feel free to share sources for progressive dad's out there in my comments. Thanks!]
As for what works for us, my memory of teething with my now 12-year old oldest son is but a foggy memory, though I do vaguely remember a cloth teething caterpillar toy that he liked an awful lot. I set about to find the most common natural teething remedies now that my youngest son, 8 months, is actively cutting teeth. We’re still in the trial and error phase of solving Little Del’s little teething problem, and I’ll be sure to update here as we come to further conclusions. [Edit: ...And the winner is: popsicle sticks and cold carrots (supervised) and our amber teething necklace (so cute!)]
If you’re in the same boat as we are, and are seeking a solution to your baby’s teething problems, hopefully this list will give you an arsenal of options to help ease their woes.
Good luck to you and your wee one in finding the remedy that fits best!
Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to give medical advice. This content not intended as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of content found on this site.