Parenthood

Teething Survival Guide

Teething…just the word makes me shudder.

I was a very spoiled first-time mom. My daughter was a good sleeper. A really good sleeper. She slept through the night for the first time at just 7 weeks old. By 3 months she was up to 12 hours straight, and we were exclusively breastfeeding. Most people didn’t believe me when I told them. Breastfed babies are supposed to need milk more often because they digest it so easily. Not my happy camper. I remember going to the pediatrician for her 6-month checkup and when asked about her sleeping habits everyone just kept telling me how lucky I was. (At that time she didn’t have any teeth yet.) Not going to lie, I felt kind of like a rock star. I mean I had to be able to take some credit for these good habits right? I must have been doing something right all day long for her to sleep so well at night.

She popped her first tooth a week later. And hasn’t slept through the night since. She’s 14 months old.

Okay, maybe we’ve had one or two nights where we haven’t been woken by her cries, but those nights are very few and far between. And I know teething is not solely responsible…but that’s what started this whole mess!

Is it just me or does it seem like once a baby starts teething, it never ends? They say the symptoms of tooth eruption can occur MONTHS before that tooth finally shows itself. And there are TWENTY of them.

T-W-E-N-T-Y. Seriously, check the tooth eruption chart out for yourself.

In order to minimize my, I mean her, discomfort…here’s what I’ve come up with as the best survival tools for teething:

Munch Mitt Baby Teething Mitten by Malarkey Kids

This little mitt is a must for teething babies! Every single time we use it someone comments and asks 1) What is that? and 2) Where can I find one? It solves so many problems with one tiny little mitten. The textured silicone tip (food grade, BPA-free) provides the perfect surface for those sore gums to chew on. No more chapped fingers from all the chewing and drooling. The mitt fits either hand, so you can change it up depending on what your little one prefers. The black and white pattern is great for little eyes and the accent colors are so vibrant. It even crinkles a little so it’s more than just a teething mitt, it’s a great sensory toy, too! The best part about this clever little invention is the Velcro strap – you strap it right to their hand, so no more toys being flung across the room, the car or the church pew (yep…that’s happened to us…a few times)! I will admit, it’s not totally baby-proof. My daughter has figured out the Velcro, but it still keeps her occupied and she just holds it while chewing away now. They do say it’s intended to be used by babies 3-8 months old (8-9 months is about the age when she was able to unstrap it). It comes with a little travel/wash bag so you can keep it from collecting ‘fuzz’ in the bottom of the diaper bag. (Because I can’t be the only one with some suspect fuzz in the diaper bag.) At $14.99 you really can’t go wrong. You can see all of the available colors here!

Little Teether Teething Necklace

I never even considered wearable teething gear, but it makes sense, especially for me because we’re still breastfeeding, too.

Made with non-toxic, food-grade silicone beads, the Little Teether teething necklace gives my daughter something safe to chew on when those pesky teeth are popping through. Since she’s extra clingy when she’s teething, it really helps that I can wear this! No need to worry about it ending up on a dirty floor (because she’s at the age where she throws EVERYTHING). I can slip it on before we head out for the day so it’s always available. It is extra long, just the right length for her to pull on without any strain on my neck. The breakaway clasp comes apart if she tugs too hard. Unlike other teething necklaces, there are no beads at the neckline so my hair doesn’t snag on it.

When she’s not teething (yes, there are times when this happens!) it still serves a purpose – wearing it while breastfeeding means she has something to keep her little hands occupied so she doesn’t pinch or scratch. Anyone else’s little nursling have a habit of doing that?

There are a TON of color combinations and styles to choose from. These necklaces are easy to wash and can also be safely put in the top rack of the dishwasher. I love that each one comes gift-wrapped at no additional cost. So gift one to a friend or treat yourself! They start at $24 and can be found on the Little Teether website here.

Wink Naturals Cool Gums Teething Gel

I hesitated to use any teething gels during the first two rounds of teething because I didn’t like all of the ingredients found in most popular brands. Wink Naturals Cool Gums Teething Gel is drug-free and safe. It does not contain any benzocaine or belladonna (or other weird ingredients that you can’t pronounce) and is preservative-free. A pea-sized amount massaged right onto sore gums does the trick. You can store it in the fridge for an even better effect. I tried it myself and it has a nice, soothing minty taste. The 10mL tube is small, so it’s very easy to toss in the diaper bag, ensuring that you’re always prepared!

It’s priced a little high ($24.99 for a two-pack) but they offer a hefty discount if you opt for the AutoShip and Save, or follow the Wink Naturals Facebook page for additional promotions and special offers. This is how I got mine – there was a special last year for $4 plus free shipping around the holidays.

Wink Naturals products are made in the USA and they offer a 100% money-back guarantee, so give them a try, there’s nothing to lose! Except those dark circles under your eyes from being up all night with your teething toddler.

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder

Teething is bad enough, but when you’re a breastfeeding mom it can be an absolute nightmare. Seriously, horror movies have nothing on breastfeeding a teething baby. This is what I learned after being bitten one too many times (because anything more than once is too many)…ice first! When I allowed my daughter to suck on some ice (or anything cold) prior to nursing she was much less likely to bite. That and paying close attention to her latch because she was more likely to bite at the end of a nursing session. As soon as I felt her latch change I would unlatch before she could chomp down.

The Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders are what I use before each nursing session while my daughter is teething. They’re more than just a way to introduce your little one to fresh fruits and vegetables – they make great teethers, too! I have put all kinds of frozen things in them (breastmilk, strawberries, bananas), but my go-to during teething time is plain old ice cubes. A couple of ice cubes lasts 10-15 minutes and it has been one of the best ways to reduce swelling and provide comfort for my daughter’s sore gums. Plus, there’s very little mess afterward. If you do opt for something other than ice cubes they clean up easily and the colored mesh doesn’t show any stains.

With an easy-to-grip handle your little one can hold it and chew away until they’re satisfied (or ready for a refill).

Plus there’s that added benefit of being used to introduce fruits, vegetables, even meats before those teeth are ready to be used for chewing. For $3 direct from munchkin.com, it’s a wise investment.

If there’s one thing that unites parents it’s teething. It doesn’t matter if you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, co-sleeping or sleep training, baby-wearing or pushing a stroller, cloth diapering or a Huggies mom – you are going to endure teething. It stinks. But you’ll survive…and you might even maintain your sanity with the help of some of these nifty little life-savers.

What are some of your favorite products for teething?

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