To The Mothers That Came Before Me

What Not To Do When Your Baby Is Teething

When it comes to parenthood, nap schedules and sleep regressions are both common and painful – but a teething baby can be the toughest issue for parents to deal with.

No one likes to see their bundle of joy in pain and the eruption of primary teeth, between 4-7 months old, can be especially excruciating for your little one.

The first round of your baby’s teeth can take up to three years to fully emerge and can make it difficult for your baby to feed, sleep and be settled. Common symptoms of teething include rubbing of the check, increased crying or irritability, excessive drooling, gum swelling, sleeplessness or an increased urge to bite hard objects. Refusal to eat and teething rashes can be normal too.

Comfort is key during teething and nights can be long and tedious, so be prepared. But what things should you be staying away from when the time comes? Here’s a few essentials.

1. Don’t Use Benzocaine Based Teething Gels

As your baby starts teething, many parents opt for pain remedies that contain benzocaine to help soothe sore gums. This local anaesthetic can be found in over-the-counter products such as Baby Orajel, Orabase and Anbesol commonly used to relieve teething symptoms in babies.

FDA – The US Food and Drug Administration has distributed warnings on these products however, because the use of these gels for gum pain can lead to a rare condition called methemoglobinemia, which limits the flow of oxygen throughout the body. Stay away from teething tablets as these have also been issued with warnings throughout America, UK and Australia.

What you can offer instead: You baby’s gums are going to be inflamed and sore. Instead of using gels that contain benzocaine, massage your baby’s gums with your finger or a cool cloth. The coolness and pressure will help to alleviate pain.

2. Don’t Give Your Infant anything to chew on that’s Too Small

Throughout teething time, your little one will be putting everything and anything into his mouth. Teething babies are notorious for wanting to chew on hard objects, so you’ll need to pay extra attention. Stay away from giving your baby anything that’s smaller than the hole in a toilet paper role as they are liable to swallow or choke on it.

What you can offer instead: Give your teething infant a cool rubber teething ring or toy, designed specifically to help with sore gums and be the right size to keep your baby safe. This range of Sophie the Giraffe products are fantastic in soothing your baby’s gums, are safe to use and come in a large variety of fun animals to soothe and entertain your child.

There are many popular teething objects that are safe for your child to use. Using a teething ring designed for the issue will prevent your young one chewing on unsafe objects. Look for products that are large, firm and made from non-hazardous materials. Encouraging your child to use a suitable teething toy or ring will help to break down the gum tissue and help the tooth emerge.

3. Don’t Offer Food that’s Too Hot

Sore gums makes meal times extra difficult and teething can affect weaning, so it’s important you know what foods to stay away from. Food that’s too hot in temperature won’t help in soothing your baby’s gum and can make them inflamed. Don’t give you baby food that’s too hard to chew either as it will discourage them from feeding.

What you can offer instead: Cool food that’s smooth and soft is perfect for teething babies. Opt for yoghurts from the fridge as this can help to relive discomfort too, or soft purees. Some babies will want food that’s chewable, as the pressure from chewing can help with the pain. Offer something like a dried crust of bread or a baby rusk.

4. Don’t Rub Alcohol onto Your Baby’s Gums

A common practice years ago was to rub alcohol on gums to relieve teething pain. A practice that was considered fine when your grandparents were parenting teething issues now has warnings against it because of the potentially fatal side of effects.

To be safe, alcohol of any kind should not be rubbed on your baby’s gums. Even if they are not swallowing the liquid at all the content entering your baby’s mouth can still be harmful.

What you can offer instead: Aside from safe teething toys and rings, you can give your baby a cold washcloth to chew on. Use the washcloth to gently message the gums. If you opt for massaging the gums with just your finger, make sure you have clean hands to avoid any infection. Protect your child’s gums and new teething by cleaning early.

5. Don’t Expose Your Baby’s Gums to Extreme Cold


As reliving as cold objects can be on your baby’s gums, you don’t want to expose them to extreme cold for too long. The same way as hot food can be harmful, frozen teething rings or toys can actually hurt those sensitive gums. Avoid using teething rings with liquid in them and don’t freeze teething toys.

What you can offer instead: Keep teething toys and rings cool in the fridge and take them out when your baby is ready to use them. As soothing as cold teething rings are for your little one, freezing can do the opposite.

What have you found works or doesn’t work with your teething baby?


This article is written by Jayde Ferguson at Bubbalove – a leading provider of safe and specialised teething products for babies and toddlers to help relieve pain. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.