A teething baby and toddler can be more then a handful (trust me!) and I wanted to share some natural suggestions to help relieve pain from your little one as well as help yourself to de-stress.
When a baby firsts starts to teethe, there are tell-tale behavioral signs and changes. Most times babies will chew their hands or put anything they can find in their mouth as well as rub their gums on objects you would rather they stay clear of. Many babies will also drool, this is from the excess saliva to help the new tooth break through the gum. However, there are other signs too like diarrhea, diaper rash, fever and restlessness. I can tell you our daughter was the later, she never drooled but she pooped like crazy and was very restless.
Most pediatricians will encourage you to reach for the baby Tylenol and give it as needed. This may be necesary if your little run in running a mild fever but in most cases you can ease the irritability naturally. I will mention if you child does have a fever and it is over 101 and lasts for more then a few days, PLEASE contact your provider to be sure it is not something else like an infection or illness.
Chamomile Tea has been used in my family for years, especially for teething. You can use Chamomile alone by making a infusion of the flowers and giving it in a bottle or juice cup. Chamomile is gentle addition to many natural fruit juices for older infants and can also be made into ice cubes or popsicle sticks for molar pushing toddlers and for a great summer treat. Chamomile is used for its nervine properties and can bring relief to a restless body.
When the irritability is getting to you and you feel there is nothing more to do, you can add Catnip to the Chamomile. I offer this blend here in my Local Harvest store. "Catnip Tea". Catnip is also a nervine and can also help reduce a fever. This what I was given when I was a baby and this what we gave our daughter. It is very gentle on the system and can help balance the overall child so to say. You would blend both herbs and infuse them. You can also freeze this into chips and popsicles.
Another option is to freeze a cloth either dipped in water or dipped in Chamomile or Catnip/Chamomile. This is great for babies as there is less fear of choking. It will keep baby busy will numbing the gums and if you infuse the herbs you will giving a little bit more to aid in the teething process.
I would also freeze veggies and fruits like apples, broccoli, grapes, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, mango - basically any fruits or veggies I had around. When our daughter was a wee little one, I would add the veggies/fruit to a mesh bag and let her explore. She loved every flavor and again, numbed her gums in the process. As she got older, we eliminated the mesh bag and let her "enjoy" the frozen produce, meaning, basically, she was covered in juice as the produce melted!
Teething rings are great, especially the ones you can freeze. We found the fruit and veggies to work a little better but each child is different and you may come up with you own ways to help.
There are homeopathic remedies that work great too - Hyland's offers a topical teething gel which was fabulous. You can apply the gel to the gums and it works as good (if not better) then the conventional, alcohol based/benzocaine topicals. This worked well until our daughter got older and wanted to bite down on your finger to ease the pain but when she was a baby it worked great. Hyland's and Humphrey's also make homepathic teething pellets. These are phenomenal as well. They are safe for use as needed and one of the ingredients is Chamomile. For babies, you would have to dilute the pellets in water but for older babies and toddlers they can be given as direct oral. Our daughter loves Humphrey's "Very Berry" teething pellets.
I also offer Rosehip Syrup. My Grandmother always had this handy for when a friend or relative had a teething infant. Rosehips are loaded with Vitamin C which also boosts immunity and helps the body overall while it is preparing for new teeth. A child's immune system could be lowered due to the effects of teething and it is important to not forget the immune system.
Once the new little teeth have erupted be sure to exercise good oral care and take good care of those pearly whites. Brush them atleast twice a day and after a meal, even the first teeth can be cleaned with a finger brush, and try not to let your little one go to sleep with juice, milk or formula as the sugars from these drinks can lay on teeth as the child sleeps and can promote tooth decay. Of course, if you see any odd spots or strange marks on your little ones teeth be sure to contact the family dentist and have them take a look - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Enjoy your little one, everyday is a blessing and the adage is true, children do grow like