My son, Noah, is 10 months old, and – a little behind the 'norm' – he's started teething. Teething often occurs from six months onwards, but it has been known for babies to be born with teeth!
Unfortunately, teething brings with it pain and discomfort – not just for baby, but for the parents as well, who may just be finally falling into a happy sleep routine.
But with so many remedies on the market, what really works? Is there anything out there that can ease your baby's pain? We test five methods of soothing your baby's teething pains, without simply pumping them full of Calpol.
1. Gumigem Teething Necklaces
There are loads of teething toys on the market that you can plonk in your baby's mouth if she's grizzly. However, many of them are fluid-filled, and parents may be concerned that if the ring is pierced their child could ingest some of the fluid. That's where Gumigem necklaces come in. Mum of two Jenny McLaughlan came up with the idea while on maternity leave with her second child. Each necklace has an attractive pendant, available in a range of colours, which is free from nasty substances such as PVC, lead, latex and phthalate. Your baby can chew away, and you are happy in the knowledge that not only is it safe, but you have an attractive piece of jewellery to boot. Noah chomped away for ages on my wife's Gumigem necklace, so something must be working! 2. Anbesol Teething Gel
Like Bonjela and other teething gels, Anbesol is designed to numb your baby's gums, dulling the pain and resulting in a happier child. As well as an anaesthetic, Anbesol contains two antiseptic chemicals, preventing nasty infections (which would, no doubt, result in an even grumpier child). The only issue with teething gels such as Anbesol is making sure it is applied properly. As many parents will testify, placing your finger into your infant's mouth is akin to sticking your leg in a bear trap: there's a serious possibility you could lose a limb. And, once your little one has sucked all the gel from your fingertip and gnawed most of your knuckle off, there's little knowing how much of it has actually reached the painful areas. Plus, from the look on Noah's face, teething gels don't taste too great. 3. Teething Biscuits
If there's one thing babies love to do, it's eat. Teething biscuits are a great way of allowing your baby to gnaw away on something, relieving the pain in the process. There are a few on the market – Bickiepegs, for example – and they are guaranteed to keep your baby occupied for at least as long as it takes to make and drink a cup of tea. Noah certainly enjoyed his teething biscuits; the one thing my wife and I were concerned of, though, was the risk of choking. Teething biscuits are quite thin and very hard, so if a piece were to break off Noah would have trouble swallowing it. Fortunately, it didn't happen – perhaps we were just being paranoid! 4. Teething Granules
If you're after a more homeopathic method of soothing teething pains, then there are a number of teething granule products on the market – Teetha, for example, or Ashton & Parsons.
Teething granules do not contain anything that could harm your baby, each sachet being full of nothing but natural substances. We found teething granules to be a great form of pain relief for Noah, although it could have simply been the shock of suddenly having a sachet of powder tipped into his mouth. If I were to pick one flaw, it would be that the design of the sachets means that many of the granules were accidentally scattered in the general area, ending up nowhere near Noah's mouth. 5. Frozen Washcloth
If you're unsure of pain relief products on the market, or simply strapped for cash, a simple home remedy for teething pains is to wet a clean washcloth, roll it up tightly and put it in the freezer for a few hours. As soon as your baby starts to grizzle, you can whip one out and stick it straight in his mouth for instant relief. We tried this with Noah: after he'd got over the initial shock, he gnawed on the washcloth for a while. Then, he unravelled it and started wiping his face, before throwing it at his brother.
But hey – at least it worked for a while!
Have you found any teething remedies that really worked for your baby?
More on Parentdish: The Newborn Diaries: Teething time