Even though teethers ease the pain of tooth eruption, not all babies need them. Baby teethers help soothe babies’ swollen gums when they begin teething. It can be comforting for a baby to chew on a teether, but there are a number of other reasons for babies to chew on them.
In general, babies are prone to put anything (even dangerous objects) into their mouths when they are very young. In this way, the baby is encouraged to move their tongue inside their mouth. It helps them become aware of their mouth and strengthen facial muscles, as well as aid in speech production.
Normally when we see a small baby they always have some object in their mouth. The oral phase makes them want to take everything into their mouth and soon mums realise they need a teether. But how to choose the ideal teether? In this article we will tell you many things about teethers and how to choose the ideal one. Babies like to put toys and other objects in their mouths. They chew, bite and play.
But why do babies love teethers so much?
There are several different types of teethers that are made to provide relief for babies during the birth of their first teeth. This is a much awaited and also feared phase by parents, especially first-time parents. It is enough for the baby to start drooling for parents and family members to believe that there is a tooth coming. We often run our fingers over the little gums or make a fine inspection looking for the tooth.
And when we really see that it is coming, the anguishing phase of seeing our little baby presenting difficulties and suffering begins. So, as any mother would do, you look for a method to alleviate your child’s pain and discomfort.
And can you believe it, it is true that babies get some comfort and relief by chewing toys, like teethers, when their teeth are growing. The gums, which are sensitive during this teething phase, become less sore when gentle pressure is applied. Just as every person is different, every baby is different. The types of toys that one baby likes can be very different from another.
There are teethers that can be placed in the fridge, providing soothing freshness to baby’s gums. Be careful not to freeze the teether for too long. It can hurt and be uncomfortable for a baby’s delicate gums. Some teethers have a vibration when the baby bites the toy, which can also provide relief.
As stated earlier, there are many types of teethers with different shapes and sizes, often designed to be attractive to babies. Materials also vary widely and the following ingredients should be strongly avoided:
- Heavy metals
- Cadmium and other toxic substances
Reasons why babies like teethers
There are many other reasons why baby loves teethers so much and the reason is not always gum relief. Part of infant development is the oral stage where babies tend to put everything in their mouths.
Teething toys encourage babies to move their tongue inside their mouths and this promotes a better awareness of this little part of their body. These movements help lay the foundation for learning speech sounds when babies begin to babble as they learn to say their first words, “mama” and “dadada” and “bababa”.
Since babies like to chew on everything, especially when they are in the oral stage, parents should not be surprised if they catch them biting blankets, stuffed toys, book edges, keys, their own little fingers, or even their parents’ fingers!
Teething toys also act as calming devices, so always have one in your maternity bag for times when the baby is in a stressful condition, such as when having an injection, vaccination, or any other similar activity. Some little ones find it difficult to soothe themselves at bedtime and find comfort when they get their nibbler. By using a teether you can also prevent your baby from putting other things in their mouth. Some suck their thumb or fingers, which often ends up being a bad habit. This can be controlled by using a teether.
How to choose a teether?
Teethers are made of all kinds of materials. Some are made of rubber, others of silicone, and even plastic or wood. Teething toys can be bought in different shapes, colours, and sizes. Many toys also have different textures, to appeal to a child’s interests.
Always supervise a baby while they are using a teether. When choosing a teether, look for a teether that the baby will be able to hold and place safely in his or her mouth. A teether that is too big or too small can be a safety hazard. Don’t use items that are not their own, especially toys that have small parts that can fall off and cause a choking hazard.
One important thing to keep in mind when choosing a teether is to check that it is safe. Choose only phthalate and BPA free teethers for your child. Also, find out if the teether is made from non-toxic paint.
Cleaning your teethers
Create a routine for cleaning and sanitising teethers and rattles to reduce the spread of germs, especially if there are other babies around who may want to put the toy in their mouths. Wash toys regularly with soap and water. Many toys can also be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher.
When to give your baby teething toys or teethers?
Most babies start teething by 4-6 months, which is a great time to start introducing teething toys. Usually, the two lower front teeth are the first to appear, followed by the four upper front teeth. Your child should have a complete set of primary (baby) teeth by the time they are almost three years old.
Types of teethers
Teething rings – These are basic teething rings that can be made of solid plastic or filled with water. These teething rings soothe gums and usually have a soft texture.
Toys – Some teething rings are designed to relieve pain and also for play! They are great fun, but also provides a great texture made from natural rubber.
Teething necklaces or bracelets – These are the new thing on the block. Called teething jewellery, these are teething bracelets or necklaces worn by mums and made out of silicone so that baby can bite while on mum’s lap.
Good quality teething toys are durable, BPA-free, easy for your child to hold alone, and unaided and safe to chew.
Teething Glove – These are made from textured food grade silicone and breathable, tough, soft fabric that absorbs saliva, meeting all required safety standards. They also have a Velcro strap that fits easily into little hands. Babies love the little noise it makes when they bite or squeeze.
How do alleviate teething discomfort?
The onset of teething can be one of the least fun parts of child development, for both you and your baby. Symptoms vary, but some children may lose sleep over teething, cry in pain or develop rashes. There are a few ways to help your baby feel better, including:
Teething Gels – There are some sugar-free teething gels that you can rub on a baby’s gums to help control some of the pain. Always consult your pediatrician before using any type of therapy.
Chewing – If your baby is already eating solid foods, try giving them some harder choices, such as biscuits and rice crackers. These foods will help with the pain and are a healthy choice! Just make sure you monitor your baby’s chewing to make sure they don’t swallow too many large pieces and block the airway.
Ice cold food – As well as offering more solid foods, you can also try giving your baby ice-cold food as the cold serves as a natural way to numb the gums. Apple compote is a great option, or you can try other fruits with puree or fresh yogurt. Another option is to make breast milk ice-cream.