What objects can my baby chew to relieve teething pain? Teeth & Tooth Care

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baby with teething toy
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When a baby's out of sorts because of teething pain, parents will try almost anything to offer some relief. But not all teething remedies are created equally. Here, experts and moms sound off on what teething toys helped, what didn't -- and what never to give a baby.

Cool Teething Toys

"I recommend standard teethers with water in them that you can put in the fridge so they get cool.

"All that homeopathic teething stuff, I don't recommend. Teething medicine is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics because it can be absorbed into the blood stream and can cause problems including seizures.

"If it's truly a bad a couple nights, you can give your baby a dose of infant acetaminophen before bed.

"Teething biscuits, I don't like at all. A big chunk can break off and...

"I recommend standard teethers with water in them that you can put in the fridge so they get cool.

"All that homeopathic teething stuff, I don't recommend. Teething medicine is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics because it can be absorbed into the blood stream and can cause problems including seizures.

"If it's truly a bad a couple nights, you can give your baby a dose of infant acetaminophen before bed.

"Teething biscuits, I don't like at all. A big chunk can break off and then there's a huge chunk of biscuit in your baby's mouth that can cause choking. Then there are old-fashioned tricks like rubbing the gums with brandy; the alcohol can be absorbed, and so that's not a good thing to do. Teething necklaces -- I don't like those because I don't like anything around a baby's neck ever. I know that they're made not to break, but if it did and one bead comes off, it's a choking hazard. I'd rather not have that around." -- Lauren Levine, MD, pediatrician at ColumbiaDoctors and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY

Pain Relievers Are Fine

"This is a tricky one because you can give your best college try to make your kid comfortable, but it may work or it may not work, depending on where the tooth is erupting.

"Cold teething rings are fine. Some kids like to chew on a wet washcloth that you put into freezer -- just for a few minutes, not so long it feels like a rock. Some kids like those soft teething rings, whether warm or cold. It's a little trial and error to be honest.

"If your child seems uncomfortable, there's no reason not...

"This is a tricky one because you can give your best college try to make your kid comfortable, but it may work or it may not work, depending on where the tooth is erupting.

"Cold teething rings are fine. Some kids like to chew on a wet washcloth that you put into freezer -- just for a few minutes, not so long it feels like a rock. Some kids like those soft teething rings, whether warm or cold. It's a little trial and error to be honest.

"If your child seems uncomfortable, there's no reason not to give pain medications. I'm sure everyone has their own tricks. But be careful about inspecting any teething toy -- anything your child puts in his mouth really -- to be sure there is integrity of the object, so that the contents aren't leaking out or that it's not falling apart. You want to be careful about that.

"I haven't seen in my practice any emergency situation that's occurred [from] standard teething toys. No child has come in with toxic effects from a teething toy. It's worth noting that some kids who do suck on really frozen things can get cold panniculitis -- an area of redness on outside of cheek near corner of mouth. It's transient and harmless, just a local reaction in skin from being cold. But it can look very dramatic.

"Avoid teething tablets that have belladonna in them -- they can be toxic to the heart." -- Christina Johns, MD, MEd, FAAP, senior medical advisor, PM Pediatrics, Lake Success, NY

Vibrating Teether

"I gave my son a vibrating strawberry-shaped teether. Trust me; it's weird but the thing really works! My son would not use any other teethers and did not care for anything cold, but golly that strawberry is gold!"

The Giraffe Is a Favorite

"My baby loved a giraffe-shaped teether."

Baby Toothbrush

"I gave my daughter an infant toothbrush. I figured she was going to have to use one someday anyway, so she might as well start practicing! She really liked it."

Sometimes It Won't Work

"I tried everything, but my daughter wouldn't chew on anything."

A Washcloth May Help

"I gave my baby a cold wet baby washcloth. It was easy to hold on to."

Frozen Things

"Frozen wash cloths and breast milk pops seemed to help."

Watch Baby Carefully

"My baby tried to chew on pretty much anything and everything, except the teething toys!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.