There’s nothing cuter than your baby’s gummy grin with one solitary pearly white peeking out. The journey to that point is, ummm, less cute. Make it easier with some new ideas
1 Get hands on
Most of the time, a little bit of TLC is all that’s needed, so try very lightly rubbing your clean finger along your baby’s gums. When he is fairly relaxed, massaging them for two minutes will provide some soothing counter pressure.
2 Try vanilla
Pure vanilla extract isn’t just for bake-off moments – rubbing a drop into gums can work in two ways. ‘The massaging action eases pain, and the scent is calming, reduces anxiety and promotes wellbeing,’ says teething expert Alexander Barani. Do check the ingredients, as some contain alcohol.
3 The chilly cloth cure
Freeze a wet flannel, then let your baby chew on it – the cold eases pain. ‘The texture of the flannel will feel good on his gums, too,’ says health visitor Penny Lazell. Put your baby in a bib to soak up any excess water and dribble. You can try different degrees of coldness to see what works best for him. If the frozen washcloth is too cold, just dampen one with cold water.
4 Gloves on
If your baby is very young when his first tooth starts coming through, he may struggle to hold on to a teething ring or toy, and resort to chomping on his fist. Try a Gummee Glove, £10.99, – a teething mitten that attaches to your baby’s hand with Velcro, and has soft plastic teething parts for him to chew on.
5 Don’t give up
When you’re dealing with a teething baby, perseverance is the key. ‘It requires patience, as well as some creativity,’ says Alexander. ‘It takes trial and error to find a solution that works, so keep testing new approaches.’
6 Get some teething bling
If your baby is always trying to chew on your necklace, try the fun range from Nibbling. The beads are made from a similar material to dummies and provide teething relief. From £12, nibbling.co.uk
7 Teething necklaces
Amber teething necklaces have been around for thousands of years and it’s thought they have anti-inflammatory properties that can ease teething (thanks to the succinic acid the stone contains) - however there has been a lot of discussion about the safety risks of amber teething necklaces breaking or snapping. Be safe and buy a silicone teething necklace - great for soothing sore gums and safe too, plus they are often stylish enough for no one to realise.
8 Flower power
Camomile tea in your baby’s bottle is a safe and natural way to help him. ‘The soothing ingredients work wonders for babies who are stressed and unhappy, as it’s so calming,’ says Alexander. Steep tea for a few minutes, cool it to room temperature, then put one to two ounces in his bottle.*
9 Brush early
He may not have any teeth showing yet, but give your little one a soft baby toothbrush. He’ll love biting down on the bristles. Then, when his teeth do push through, cleaning them won’t be a battle as he’ll be used to the feeling.
10 Offer a dummy
Every teething experience is different and, while some babies are comforted by breastfeeding, others find it painful – sucking can cause more blood to rush to swollen areas, making them extra-sensitive. A dummy can be a good idea between feeds, as he can suck or chew it.