Babies experience a lot of milestones in their first year of life, one of which is developing teeth. Unfortunately, this is also a painful milestone that can make your baby cry for long stretches of time, which isn’t good for their bodies or your ears. One way to help soothe your baby through this painful but necessary experience is teethers. Teethers give your baby something to chew on, creating counterpressure on the outside of their gums for the pressure of the teeth growing inside their gums. Keep reading to learn about the different kinds of teethers that will help soothe your baby.
Teething rings are the classic teething option. They’re normally plastic beads with a subtle texture and are safe for chewing. Some come filled with water, but the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend this kind. Instead, choose a teething ring made of solid plastic beads that are small enough to easily massage small gums but big enough that your young baby can pick them up. For extra comfort, chill the ring in the refrigerator, but don’t freeze it. Freezing a teething ring can damage the ring and your baby’s gums. Avoid teething rings that are sold as teething jewelry, as these often have string connecting the beads that can break, allowing your child to choke on a bead.
Teething toothbrushes are made in the shape of a toothbrush with large silicone bristles. While it can function as a toothbrush as you first introduce your baby to brushing, it’s more durable than a traditional toothbrush and designed to be chewed on. The bristles add an extra layer of massage to this teething toy, providing extra comfort when needed. The only downside is that younger babies who’ve just started teething may not be able to grip the base of these toothbrushes since they’re larger than other types of teethers.
This device can be a toy or a teething aid, depending on what stage of development your child is in. They’re often made of rubber or some other soft plastic that makes them soft enough for your baby to safely play with and chew on. Teething toys can be as simple as plastic animals or a more complicated setup of intertwining rings and rattles. An entertaining teething toy can be a good distraction when your baby is upset about their gums, but it can also be overstimulating at night or before naps.
Lastly, teething blankets can look like normal blankets but are made of materials that are safe for your baby to chew on. Many parents like these blankets because you can wet and freeze them, giving your baby a soothing, safe teething distraction. Blankets, whether frozen or not, are also a lot gentler on baby’s gums compared to the harder plastics of most rings and toys. While children with more developed teeth can be frustrated that a blanket offers so little to chew on, babies with new teeth will appreciate the gentle materials.
Now you know about the four kinds of teethers that will help soothe your baby. Rings, toothbrushes, toys, and blankets all offer different pros and cons that will get you and your baby through their teething experience. Be willing to try different kinds of teethers for your child until you find the right one, and keep options on hand as they continue to grow and develop.