Acetaminophen overdose is a common occurrence in American households. More recently, Ibuprofen formulas and dosages have been criticized and revamped to avoid confusion leading to over and under medicating infants and children. Dosage error is just one of the harmful aspects of these medications and yet, there are very few alternatives recommended by our children’s doctors. I’m especially concerned about overuse of these products for teething pain. Even numbing gel used on a baby’s gums has come under scrutiny for causing swallowing difficulties and possible aspiration. Any way you look at it, there are significant risks to using these over-the-counter medicinals for teething pain relief.
As a mother of two babies who are both teething, I’m a professional at identifying teething symptoms and relieving them. I choose natural remedies for most ailments for my family and teething pain is no different. With the help of our pediatrician, I’ve found some alternative teething remedies that work for my girls. While these are approved by our family doctor, please check with your own pediatrician prior to administering any alternative teething treatment.
Organic Vanilla Extract • I’m sure your parents or grandparents have recommended a little adult beverage rubbed on your baby’s gums, am I right? Well, meet the safer, more effective alternative! Real Vanilla Extract has some alcohol, yes, but it also has an aroma-therapeutic effect and is anti-inflammatory. Rub just a bit on your baby’s gums to reduce swelling and pain as well as ease the fussiness typical of this challenging time.
Read Video: New Moms, Babies Cry…A Lot!
Cold Stuff from the Fridge • Keep a big soup spoon (stainless steel or whatever your regular flatware is) in the fridge. When your baby is getting fussy and showing signs of teething discomfort, let him hold the handle and “chew” on the spoon for some relief from swelling. Also, straight from the fridge, a carrot can do wonders! It comes with its own handle and provides antioxidants which promote healing of the gum tissue. Closely supervise your baby with both of these remedies!
Mandarin Essential Oil • Hard to find and rarely recommended, our pediatrician wholeheartedly repeats his love for Mandarin Essential Oil every other visit! Not just for teething time, this oil can help with fussiness, sleep interruptions, and is a natural relaxant. We add a drop to a teaspoon of almond oil and do a gentle massage on our baby before bedtime.
Amber Teething Necklace • Don’t lecture me about putting a necklace on my baby, I’ve already heard it from my elders…. Here’s the deal, Amber teething necklaces work and I’m not giving them up. Amber has been used to treat everything from Carpal Tunnel to a stiff neck. When it’s warmed (by the skin), it release succinic acid which is anti-inflammatory. Reducing inflammation of the gums means less drooling, less skin irritation, less swelling and less pain. A reputable maker of these necklaces will make them to break easily and safely if too much pressure is put on them (i.e. it’s too tight on your baby’s neck) and you can choose (as we do) to remove the necklace when your baby is sleeping if it makes you feel better (it does for us).
These alternative teething remedies can be used in place of or in conjunction with the medicines you’re already using, if you so choose. Teething can be such a tough time for both mom and baby, I hope these natural solutions help you both to be more comfortable, happy, and well-rested!