Teething. A word that makes a breastfeeding mother shudder and haunts families everywhere – screaming, crying, drooling on baby’s chin, and OUCH, the pain of a tiny chomp! From day one in parenting I have tried to never use plastics with my children (especially anything that could go into their mouths) and no over the counter medications – only natural teething remedies and resources.
My third child was born with two teeth.
I am not kidding, and no, it’s not a laughing matter.
It a giant pain both literally and metaphorically. Whereas my first got her first two teeth right around 8 months old, my 3rd had 8 teeth at 8 months. But with both we chose to take a holistic approach to treating teething discomforts.
We became proficient at helping our babies with natural teething remedies whether they were struggling to bring through those tough toddler molars or were drooling, teething monsters from day one.
A swift clamp-down during breastfeeding became a quick wake-up-call for me that my my first child needed to utilize something other than my skin for soothing the teething woes. In my research, I discovered some great natural teething alternatives to the more mainstream plastic teethers – everything from the rubber toys and wooden teethers to silicone jewelry and chew beads, the possibilities are numerous!
Green and Natural Teething Remedies and tricks that really work!
While my mom friends were scrambling for over-the-counter medications, I was able to keep it cool and find natural remedies for our teething woes early on. We were successfully able to cut our first two teeth in our first kiddo without plastic or medication on a road trip in rush hour traffic. I would consider that a success.
A few basic notes to know about teething babies before we get started:
- There is a pre-teething stage that typically consists of excessive drooling. This is typically around 3 or 4 months.
- Most babies will get their first teeth between 6-9 months old. But as mentioned it’s not impossible to be earlier or be born with teeth and then in my personal case, I didn’t get my first teeth until after my first birthday.
- Constant drooling like a leaky fountain and putting all they can into her mouths are good indications of teething in infants and young babies. It’s also common to see babies or toddlers pull on, stick a finger inside, or scratch their ears during teething discomforts.
- Toddlers can be harder to notice the signs because they’re ore complicated but when they are cutting molars they might randomly start sucking a thumb or finger they never did before, they may not want to eat, they may be generally fussy when you know they usually aren’t. In general more nuanced, but if you can’t figure out why your toddler is “off”, check for teeth emerging, especially molars.
- A simple massage with a clean finger is one of the best remedies for babies that don’t already have a mouth full of teeth.
- I have included affiliate links for products we use and recommend. We earn from qualifying purchases.
Natural Frozen Teething Resources
Frozen Wash Cloths
This s a pretty simple and straightforward recommendation; however, I would say that putting it in in a funky way where it freezes in a manner a baby can’t get it in their mouth is something I overlooked at first.
Also consider an un-dyed and unbleached washcloth to be on the safe side.
Teething Toys and Teething Rings
We have had a few silicone mama necklaces over the years made for baby to intentionally chew on, but my personal comfort level with silicone has gone down to about the same place as plastic because I don’t know every ingredient and it’s not as clean as it’s been touted to be.
This is where some of those cute wooden teethers are a fun alternative.
Anything that you deem safe for your child to chew on will help them cut teeth through baby’s gums to reduce the pressure of teething pain.
Mesh Fruit Teethers and Frozen fruit
You can make one of your own with some simple organic frozen fruit inside of a piece of natural cheesecloth and then tie it off or even a muslin cheesecloth bag, popping it into the freezer. Or you can buy pre-made fresh fruit teether. But this is a great option for babies that have already become food-ready.
Baby safe foods that numb sore gums
- Green onions as natural teething sticks– we have regularly given our babies that are already eating food a stalk of green onion with the bottom tip trimmed. And many hard vegetables are also great when actively cutting teeth but they do need supervision so that a chunk of carrot doesn’t become a choking hazard.
- Numbing Cloves and clove oil – please do not use clove essential oil. Any undiluted essential oil is not safe even for adults, but especially not internally or on babies. Simply take a sauce pan and add your oil of choice like coconut oil or avocado oil and put it on very low heat, adding a clove to it. Let it sit long enough for the oil to become infused with the clove’s properties. Test a bit of oil on your own gums before applying to a child’s gums. You want to take the edge off but not numb them to the point they can’t feel their tongue or.
Herbalism and Homeopathy to treat teething naturally
I have studied herbalism for years and have also gone through multiple courses on The Herbal Academy as well to gain Herbalism certificates. There is no regulation or official licensing for herbalists. I err on the side of caution and to be as gentle as possible. Please talk with your doctor, naturopath, or natural practitioner if you have any questions or concerns.
Green herbal ice cubes for sore gums
You can make a gentle baby-safe tea from the following herbs. Just make it very diluted as a tea first and then freeze into small cubes or use a crushed ice ice cube tray. Just remember to let the tea cool before introducing it to your trays.
- Chamomile tea
Homeopathy for babies cutting teeth
So I don’t use a lot of Homeopathy but I do occasionally. There are some OTC options that I was given and I think I used once. While I don’t use them much, there is no reason to not mention them. If you can pinpoint symptoms, you can match them to the right remedy here.
The one I have used the most is Chamomilla and I have also used Pulsatilla.
Amber Teething Necklaces
I know this tends to be controversial but they do not have to be used around the neck. And this is because they’re not meant to be chewed on like so many people think and moving a Baltic amber necklace to a different part of the body means no risk of strangulation.
A necklace tight enough to not get caught on anything or be brought to the mouth, but loose enough to hang is the perfect fit. Simply wrapping it around baby’s ankle is sufficient. However, the closer to the site of discomfort the better if you are comfortable with supervised wearing. Why? Amber is fossilized tree resin that contains succinic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory. Just like a cream gets absorbed through the skin, the warmth of the body helps amber jewelry work correctly..
(These can be used for all sorts of pains beyond teething as well and even with adults for things like migraines instead of ibuprofen). I was skeptical at first, but we can tell a HUGE difference between when she is wearing it and when she is not. In fact, she has an extra one on her ankle right now for good measure and good moods. Plus, we rarely take them off now. Before my oldest cut teeth, they helped cut down on the excessive amounts of drooling and then later it started helping alleviate some pain. If I took it off, I could see a difference in her immediately.
4 of my kids have worn them, I was very careful about the slack that was given and had specific times when they went on vs were taken off.
PLEASE BUY FROM A TRUSTED SELLER because they can be fake. real ones smell like syrup when heated under a hair dryer
Other natural teething ideas
- Unpolished wooden objects like old fashioned clothespins and other wooden toys that could help a tooth cut through the gums
- Homemade chomp necklace,
- Occasionally Jellystone brand silicone jewelry though I tend to still be skeptical of silicone in general as research suggests it’s not that much better than plastic. However, my children have all liked the way thin silicone feels when bitten and sliding against the gums.
Teething is certainly a journey. I feel like the proper tools make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone in the family, but especially baby.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 5 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!