Is your baby teething?
If you are reading this article, chances are, you are yelling a big, loud YES! We all know when our baby is teething. Suddenly their bibs get soaked after 5 minutes, they are constantly gnawing on everything in sight including their toys, your smartphone and the table legs; or they just won’t stop crying!
Worse, what used to work like magic to help calm your baby down such as nursing or drinking milk no longer seems to work! Don’t be surprised if your baby avoids daytime naps or stops sleeping through the night, teething can result in frequent night waking. When our test baby teethes, he refuses to nurse, eat or sleep, and pretty much drives us crazy if we don’t have items for him to chew on.
Or maybe you are one of those lucky parents who wake up one morning and discover that your baby has popped a cute tooth out without a whimper or any indication that he or she was uncomfortable. If so, treasure your blessing- we hate you (just kidding)!
Teething is like a rite of passage- there is no way around it. All babies must go through it to enter the Kingdom of Solid-Food-Munching. Yet, it can be such a tiresome journey for us parents as we comfort, sing-to and bounce our unhappy babies around.
When you are wondering if your baby’s crankiness is caused by teething, it helps to know the order that your baby’s teeth will arrive in. You can then check to see if your baby’s gums are inflamed or look for evidence of incoming teeth.
Or, use a clean finger to feel around in your baby’s mouth to check for bumps. It is surprising how hard it can be to spot anything, especially if your baby refuses to open his or her mouth wide or long enough for you to have a proper look.
As a rough guide, this is the order that your baby’s teeth will come in:
- Middle of baby’s bottom gums.
- Middle of baby’s top gums.
- Back of baby’s mouth on either top or bottom gums (where the molars teeth will be).
- Off to the side slightly on either top or bottom gums (where the canine teeth will be- the sharp or dracula-looking teeth).
- Back of baby’s mouth for the last set of molars.
To find out more about the stages of teething, you can check with your pediatrician or dentist.
Once the teeth have popped through the layer of gum tissue, the worst is over (at least for that particular teething phase anyway).
But until then, it helps to have toys that your baby can chew on to help him or her relieve the pain or pressure that they feel in their mouth. Our test baby could not nap until we had given him something decent to chew on.
Here are our top 5 recommended teething toys for your baby.
Teething Toys for Babies
- Sophie la Girafe
We heard about the legend of Sophie la Girafe many years ago in parent circles. When it was time to get our test baby a teether, we had to get him Sophie too.
On paper, Sophie is definitely fancy- she is made in France and is hand-painted with food paint. Sophie is one of the few teethers that is not made in China. We have nothing against Chinese products (there are tons of quality Chinese stuff) but we do understand that you may be more concerned where the product will often be in baby’s mouth and chewed on regularly! Secondly, she is made of 100% natural rubber (latex from the Heavea tree) and is phthalates and BPA free. All good news for us paranoid parents.
But when we actually received Sophie, we were kind of disappointed. Is this the amazing giraffe that everyone talks about? She looks so…simple. She did make a nice squeak though.
But this was part of the experiment anyway so we duly handed Sophie to our test baby. He liked it when we made Sophie squeak but it took him a while to work out how to get Sophie into his mouth (he was only 4 months then and didn’t have sufficient finger dexterity). Nevertheless, once he worked that out, then Sophie became more popular.
We still weren’t sure why Sophie was so popular with babies and over time, we spent time observing how our test baby interacted with Sophie. This is our conclusion:
- It’s a good hand-size and weight for babies to hold easily.
- The giraffe’s long neck makes it easy for babies to grasp- kind of like grasping a chicken drumstick.
- Sophie provides several chewable areas for baby including its head and 4 hooves.
- Sophie is made of soft, bouncy, chewy rubber which makes it softer than most other types of plastic and firmer than cloth. Perhaps it feels like chewing gum to babies?
- We found Sophie’s pitch black eyes slightly creepy but at the same time, mesmerizing. Not surprising as research shows that we are naturally drawn to the eyes more than other features of a face.
- The brown tinge and size of Sophie’s hooves remind us of nipples- so this may attract nursing babies to it.
- We didn’t find the sweet rubber smell of Sophie particularly pleasing but this may be an individual preference thing.
- It makes a surprisingly loud squeak when pressed.
Apart from this, we can’t work out why babies love Sophie so much. We do have to mention though that our test baby didn’t love Sophie all the time. His interest in her would strengthen and waiver depending on whether he was teething or not. If he wasn’t teething, he didn’t give her a second glance. If he was, then suddenly he would be interested in her again.
Also, do not boil or submerge Sophie in water because she may lose her squeak. You can put her in the freezer though without any problems. There is one risk with Sophie- if Sophie is submerged in water, frequently left in a wet environment or your baby frequently drools directly into Sophie’s squeaker hole, there is a risk of mold growing inside Sophie. This hasn’t happened with us so far but we are in a dryer environment and our test baby mainly chews on Sophie’s head and legs only.
Sophie is not a cheap teether but she is definitely worth having around as a good teething option for a fussy baby.
- Little bamBAM Giraffe Teething Toy
If the idea of possible mold and Sophie la Girafe’s price makes you balk, you may want to consider the little bamBAM Giraffe Teething Toy instead.
It is also in the shape of a giraffe although this one is a bit more flat with a variety of textures including bumps and indents. There is only one single color on the giraffe, although it is bright and cheery. The flat shape of the giraffe is meant to make this teething toy easier to grasp for little babies and there are several chewable areas.
It’s made of chewable silicone (slightly different to Sophie’s natural rubber) but is still very bite-friendly and BPA free. Besides the lower price, what we like about Little bamBAM Giraffe is that it has no small crevices and hole to allow mold to grow. So you don’t have to worry about unseen mold with this teething toy.
Plus, the teething toy comes with the FREE ebook ‘The Beginner’s Guide to the Teething Baby’. You will want to arm yourself with as much information as you can before your baby starts teething!
- 12pc Wooden Teething Bunny Ear Rings
Our test baby got given this as a present and we instantly loved it. It is handmade of unfinished beautiful maple wood and organic cotton. Because it is made of wood and cotton, you don’t have to worry about PBA or your baby biting off any dangerous bits.
It is easy to clean and you can pop all parts into your washing machine.
Plus, it’s such a great price for so many teethers (12)! You won’t have to worry about forgetting your baby’s teething toy when you go out. You can leave one in your car, another in your diaper bag, another in your baby’s crib and you still have 9 more to use! Or if you have more than one child that is teething, you can divide the teething toys among them.
They look so cute and come with a variety of colors. The cloth is soft and even have crinkle material inside them that make the crinkle noise so many babies love.
We absolutely love these teething bunny ears!
- NAVI Banana Teether
The original Baby Banana teether and toothbrush was a major hit with many babies and parents. However, there has been some concern about babies being able to bite off the bristles which makes it a choking hazard. Because of that, we prefer this Navi Banana Teether alternative instead.
It looks almost the same as the original banana teether but the bristles have been designed to be shorter so that babies cannot chew it off. Still made of silicone, the NAVI banana teether is easy for your baby to grasp and besides being a teething toy, it also acts as a toothbrush to keep your baby’s budding teeth healthy. It is never too early to start teaching your baby to get used to having his or her teeth brushed so we think that this teething toy is a must-buy.
Even better, it comes with a FREE teething necklace for you to wear so that baby can chew on the necklace (instead of you) when you are carrying baby. The necklace is made up of pliers, a screwdriver, hammer and spanner with different teething surfaces for baby. As a precaution, never allow your baby to play with these teething necklace toys disconnected from the string as it may pose a choking hazard.
But all in all, a great buy.
- Nuby Icybite Hard/Soft Teething Keys
Nuby’s teething keys have been around for quite a while and is highly popular among parents. It is made of plastic (so that may be a no-go zone for some of you) although it is BPA and phthalate free. If you don’t like the idea of a plastic teething toy, get one of the other teething toys mentioned in this article.
It’s very affordable and also very effective. The keys are cute and a good size for small hands to hold onto. Everything including the ring that holds it together can be chewed on. It has multiple colors and surfaces for the different stages of teething that your baby will go through. You can also put it in the fridge to chill to provide a cooling effect for your baby’s gums.
Just make sure that you don’t sterilize or boil it as it is not designed to endure such hot temperatures. A simple good soapy wash will do the trick.
With all teething toys, always supervise if there is a possibility that items may crack or come apart and become a choking hazard.
|Sophie la Girafe||Little bamBAM Giraffe||12pc Wooden Teething Bunny Ear Rings||NAVI Banana Teether||Nuby Icybite Hard/Soft Teething Keys|
|Material||Natural rubber||Silicone||Unfinished wood and organic cotton||Silicone||Plastic|
|Can be submerged in water||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|High temperature endurance (boiled, sterilized, frozen)||Can be frozen but don’t boil or sterilize as squeak will be affected||Yes. Can be boiled, sterilized and frozen.||Yes. Can be boiled, sterilized and frozen.||Yes. Can be boiled, sterilized and frozen.||No|
There are other teething alternatives that you can use for your baby in addition to teething toys. Popular ones include chilled wet wash cloths (not frozen as it may stick to your baby’s mouth or be too hard), frozen cubes of breast milk that you place in a baby feeder or hard vegetables such as carrots. Here are some other natural fruit and vegetable teether ideas.
There is no one solution for all babies as what one baby loves, another baby may hate. For example, our baby never took to the chilled wet wash cloths but loved the little carrots as they fit perfectly in his hand. You just need to test and trial what works for your baby.
If you have a baby that suffers tremendously through teething, we suggest that you have MANY alternatives on hand as one day he may accept one teething toy and the next day, absolutely hate you for giving him that teething toy again.
Such is the life of a parent of a teething child. We can empathize. Good luck!