Babies undergo a lot of growth within the first year and one such development is teething. It is a particularly painful time for babies and thus, it is important to know when to give teether for babies. Let’s look at the importance of teethers and how to choose the best ones for your little munchkin.
When the teeth emerges from the gums, babies experience a lot of pain. Baby teething toys help ease the pain of the tooth eruption by soothing the swollen gums. Chewing on a teether can provide some level of comfort to the baby. Apart from that baby teething toys also help encourage the baby to move their tongue inside their mouth. This helps them to become aware of their mouth, strengthen the muscles in their face and also aids in speech production.
Choosing a toy could be a strenuous task. Check out our list of the best toys for 6- 12 month old babies and surprise your little one by gifting one.
When to give teether for babies?
Right from the time of birth, a baby already has a set of teeth that are hanging out under the gums and they are just waiting to come out. Generally, teething begins between 4-6 months. That is an ideal time to begin using teethers. But it also varies depending on the parents’ genetics. So, your baby can begin teething a little early or late, depending on it and that is completely okay.
As shown in the chart below, the first to appear are the two lower front teeth.They are followed by the four upper front teeth. By the time your baby is almost three, they would have a full set of primary teeth along with a few molars. Let’s look at how to spot the beginning of the teething process so that you’d know when to give teether for babies.
Apart from these common symptoms there are a few more that might come up while your baby starts teething. Fever, rashes, diarrhoea, and feeling drowsy are some of the symptoms that would warrant a consultation with a physician. But it’s nothing to worry about and it would mostly go away on its own.
It is important to choose and provide the best quality products for our babies. Check out the 10 ways to choose the best baby products to make the right decision for your baby.
Choosing the right teething material
There are a number of teethers made from rubber, silicone, plastic, and wood that are available in the market. They come in different shapes, sizes, colours, and textures. They are typically made in a way that is easy for the baby to hold on to. It is advised to buy toys that are particularly for the purpose of teething. Now, let’s dive into the types of materials of baby teething toys that are safe for your little one.
1) Wooden teething toys
Ive started the list of the types of the materials of baby teething toys with wood. This is because wooden teething toys are safer than plastic, silicone and rubber. They don’t have any chemicals like BPA and Phthalate that are found in some plastic toys.
Another important feature of wooden teething toys is that they are hard to chew. This gives an enhanced sensory experience as well as takes the pressure off the swollen gums. They are long lasting as they do not break easily. Thereby, they don’t pose any choking hazards.
Apart from being safe for your baby, they are also eco- friendly and thereby, safe for the environment. Most wooden teething toys are made of neem, beechwood and other trees with anti bacterial properties. These are also fast growing plants and commonly found plants, thus doesn’t affect the environment.
- Eco friendly.
- Enhanced sensory experience.
- No toxic chemicals.
- Might have splinters.
- Plain and dull colours.
- Might get bored easily.
2) Plastic teething toys
One of the most commonly available as well as popular among the baby teething toys is the plastic teethers. But they could turn out to be the most toxic ones. Thus it is important to look for plastic teethers that are free from chemicals like BPA and phthalates.
Toxin free and safe plastic teethers are the easiest to handle. They come in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes. They are also easy to sanitize and require less maintainance. Plastic teethers that don’t have any detachable parts are safer than those with detachable parts.
Most plastic teethers don’t change shape or colour like rubber toys. They have a pretty long life. Only thing to consider before buying a plastic teething toy is to be mindful of the quality of the plastic used. Most high quality plastics are free of toxic chemicals.
- Easy to clean.
- Bright and colorful.
- Lots of varities.
- Might have toxic chemicals.
- Choking hazards.
- Can’t be exposed to heat or cold.
3) Silicone teething toys
Silicone is considered as a cross between plastic and rubber. But they don’t have the hazardous chemicals that are present in some plastic teethers. Thus, silicone teethers have become the most preferred among the baby teething toys It is one of the safest methods of providing a risk-free and secure comfort to teething babies.
Food-grade silicone is usually used to make most silicone teethers. These teethers are non-toxic as silicone has low toxicity. Silicone also inhibits the growth of microbes and it has low chemical reactivity. Thus, you can keep a silicone teething toy in a refrigerator to make it cold, which in turn will soothe the baby’s pain.
Another striking feature of the silicone teething toys is that it is easy to clean. Neither soap nor detergent will penetrate or stay on the surface of the silicone teethers when they are washed. Silicone teething toys are softer and chewy compared to the rest. They are also hypoallergenic, thereby making it safe for your little one.
- Chewy and soft.
- Safer than plastics.
- Can be refrigerated.
- Might break.
- Non food grade silicone is toxic.
- Not much researched upon.
Now that we have looked at the different materials used in teethers, let us look at the common types of baby teething toys.
To know more about the difference between silicone and plastic teethers, check out our detailed article on the food grade silicone toys.
Types of teethers
There are a few basic types of baby teething toys irrespective of their material. I’ve listed three most common and useful types below.
1) Simple chew toy
A simple chew toy can be found in any material – plastic, wood, silicone or rubber. Usually it comes in bright colours except for wooden ones. They have simply one purpose and that is to aid the baby with chewing. The chewing and biting helps the gums to relax and aids with relieving the pain.
2) Rattle toy
These are the baby teething toys that come with a provision for rattles. This is to help entertain the baby while they bite on it. It is mostly made of plastic and wood. They could be attached to the toddler’s bed and walkers. Thus, teething toys with rattles serve a lot of purposes.
3) Teething ring
Teething rings are the easiest to hold among all the baby teething toys due to the ring structure. They are mostly made out of silicone, plastic and rubber. They enhance the gripping and grasping abilities of the toddler while also helping them to relax their gums.They come in different colours and shapes.
Now that we have looked at what teethers to choose from, let us also look at what not to. Don’t ever choose baby teething toys that have the following features.
- Teethers that are made of soft plastics and filled with liquids.
- Teethers that don’t have BPA and Phthalate free labels.
- Coloured teethers that don’t have ‘non toxic’ stickers
Tips to soothe a teething baby
Apart from baby teething toys, there are a few methods that would help soothe a teething baby. Since it is the gum that mostly aches, it is advisable to gently rub their gums with a clean finger. You could also use a cool spoon or a cool washcloth for this purpose. The chillness will numb the pain in their gums and give a soothing effect.
Another effective and natural solution is breast milk. It contains analgesic which is a natural pain reliever. It would aid with the reduction of the teething pain. For babies who have solid food, chewing on chilled carrots would also help relieve the pain. For babies who are 2 to 3 years old, numbing creams or pain killing tablets could be used under a doctor’s prescription.
In short, remember to do these along with giving a teether, to ease your baby’s pain:
- A cold washcloth or a cold teether to be placed on the gums.
- For babies who take solid food, a cold carrot or a cold mushy food could be given.
- If your baby’s fever/ rash/ diarrhoea persists for a long time, take them to a doctor.
It is quite a task for new moms to figure out why their baby keeps crying and what to do about it. So, if you find your 4 to 6 months old baby to be crying excessively, start giving them a teether of your choice. Carry ahead this tip until they reach 2 to 3 years of age and have a fully developed primary teeth.
I hope that this article helped you with your questions on when to give teether to babies and what to choose from. Ease your baby’s transition and pain by giving them baby teething toys, right from when they are four months old. Teething means that your little bundle of joy is one step closer to eating solids and calling you mama. So, happy teething to your baby and you!
Check out our list of the best new born baby toys to choose one for your own as well as to gift a new mom.