Drooling and Fussy: How to Soothe a Teething Baby

Drooling and Fussy:  How to Soothe a Teething Baby

When a dear friend calls and says that her angelic little baby boy, now four months old has turned into a slightly less angelic version of himself, a little drooling fussy version who only wants the breast (thatʼs not how she worded it actually, thatʼs all me, remembering the days of teething myself -- my son had it BAD), I breathe a deep sigh for her...and for me, because, whenever I think its time to expand my sweet family, memories of teething encourage me to circular file that thought. (holding a baby, on the other hand, has the exact opposite effect...)

As luck would have it, this news coincides with the news that Hylandʼs teething tablets are voluntarily and temporarily recalled for packaging reasons. Oh no. These were the mainstay in my mamaʼs group, and a fallback suggestion for teething clients that allowed me to be lazy in good conscience. Here we are, back at square one, so to speak, which, as it turns out, is a great place from which to revisit some simple solutions to teething.Teething Toy

1) While I was and am still a fan of Hylandʼs teething tablets (and they still have a teething gel available!), some pediatric practitioners are bigger fans of single dose chamomilla, rather than a compound homeopathic. This just means your child is getting chamomilla and nothing else. Taken in 12x or 30c (youʼll see numbers like these any time you buy a homeopathic, it represents the number of dilutions the substance has undergone), chamomilla is an especially good solution if your babyʼs gums are red and swollen, and if your child is irritable, and gets worse at night. Your child can take this every hour as needed, up to six doses per day.

2) Clove oil is a natural pain-killer. Rubbed on the gums with a clean finger, it can gently anesthetize the area. Pediatric expert Janet Zand recommends mixing one drop of clove oil with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive or safflower oil, and I find this to be sound advice, as it keeps the action of the clove oil mild -- not too harsh for young and tender gums.

3) Frozen bananas are a time-honored remedy for teething, and have the added benefit that they arenʼt running the risk of leaching chemicals like plastic teething rings might.  Peel and split the banana length-wise and then cut in half again width-wise to get a length that is manageable for your baby. Sweet and chewy, this can gently numb the gums, and give baby something to chew or suck on besides the breast. (a welcome relief for mama.) Every 15-20 minutes allow a 10-20 minute break in sucking on anything frozen -- to keep gums from getting frostbite. (Its a long shot, but some pediatricians feel it best to err on the side of caution here.)

4) Baby Safe Feeders are another natural option for introducing the gentle numbing relief that ice can bring. Place frozen fruit or veggies into the mesh bag, close it by pushing down a small ring to keep it in place, and your baby can suck without choking risk. Again, periodic breaks are a good idea. I like this solution because any leeching that happens will be something nutritious -- think frozen grapes, carrots,
chunks of melon or mango, all of these fit easily.

5) Calcarea carbonica is another homeopathic remedy for teething -- good for babies whose teeth are delayed in coming in, and then when they do start to come in, have a slow, difficult time of it. Homeopaths often find that children for whom calcarea carbonica works best tend to be a little chubby (think big sweet round baby face) and may be slow to walk or crawl. As with the chamomilla, a low potency dosage -- in this case 6x or 6c as needed is a very safe dose.

Babies who are teething often get accompanying symptoms -- immune system goes down a bit, digestive disturbance, mild diarrhea, cold symptoms, and bouts of crankiness. These are common and should pass as the teething abates. For our son it was an ebb and flow as teeth came in. And be sure to drink some chamomile or lemon balm tea for yourself if you are the parent of a teething young one...nerves can get frayed as teething symptoms linger and pass. Thank goodness their smiles are worth it.


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