Archives for 2012

30 Blogs on Preparing for Childbirth

Preparing for the birth of your child is one of the most exciting and potentially the most stressful times of your life. From the moment your pregnancy was confirmed, all of your preparations have been leading up to the moment you officially become a parent. These thirty blog entries are filled with information that will help you reach the last milestone of your pregnancy well-informed and prepared, so that you can begin the great journey of parenthood!

Making a Birth Plan

Your birth plan is a list of conditions that will ideally be met by your midwife, obstetrician and the hospital staff, and is something that you’ll have to work on together in order to ensure that the things you want are feasible and can be managed without incurring major risks. You should have a basic idea of what you do and do not want to happen during your birth, which is why these five blog entries are valuable sources of information regarding the birthing process and how birth plans work.

Vaccinations

The debate surrounding vaccinations is one that can easily become quite heated, with those on either side defending their positions passionately. While it absolutely is your right to make the final decisions regarding which, if any, vaccinations that your child will receive, you should make every effort to explore both sides of the issue objectively in order to come to that decision before the birth of your child.

Doulas

Doulas are women whose careers are dedicated to acting as advocates and assistants for laboring mothers. While not all moms-to-be choose to work with a doula, there are also those who wouldn’t dream of delivering their child without one. These five blogs are dedicated to the doula’s role in labor and delivery, with information that can help you decide whether you do or do not want the services of a doula attending your birth.

Packing Your Bag

It’s wise to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go before you go into labor, so that you’re not scrambling for the things that you need while managing the pain of contractions and the excitement of impending parenthood. These five bloggers offer some practical advice regarding what you should include in that bag, helping you to make sure that you have everything you need for the most comfortable and convenient birth possible.

Dietary Suggestions

While there are a variety of pregnancy diets designed to help moms and their unborn children get all of the nutrients they need while Baby’s growing, many moms are surprised to learn that there is also a diet suggested by some for mothers in preparation for labor. The guidelines, hints and tips regarding pregnancy and delivery diets are contained in these five blog entries, and can help you make the right nutritional decisions for you.

Home Delivery

Like the issue of vaccination, the issue of home birth is hotly debated by both supporters and detractors and is, ultimately, your decision. If you are considered a good candidate for a home birth and have chosen to deliver at home rather than in a hospital, these five blog entries are dedicated to helping you prepare for your special day in your own way.

30 Blogs for First-time Parents

While you knew you’d be bringing home a new baby, you likely didn’t realize just how deep and raw the emotions were that would come with your new bundle of joy.  You want to make all the right decisions regarding your new child, which leaves you second-guessing the decisions you’ve already made – especially the ones you made prior to welcoming your infant home. As you ponder what’s right and what’s not during pregnancy and beyond, consider these resourceful blogs to help guide you to your answers.

Your Pregnancy

You’re expecting! Now what?  Answers to this question and more about what’s happening with your baby and your body can be found in these five blogs.

Birthing Plans

As the big day approaches, most new parents feel a sense of excitement and anxiety about the whole birthing process. These five blogs will help you create a birthing plan that’s right for you.

Breastfeeding

Breast or bottle? Bottle or breast?  Discover what others have to say about the pros and cons of your feeding options to help guide you to the right decision for your family.

Money Management

Bet you didn’t know diapers would set you back a small fortune, did you?  Learn how to save money on the things you will need most for your baby and nursery without breaking the bank with these five blog entries.

All About Dads

When it comes to parenting, dads have questions too. These five blogs address dads’ most frequently asked questions and their most common fears as they empower men to be the best fathers they can be.

Parenting Advice

People always say that kids don’t come with an owner’s manual, and you’ll quickly learn they were right.  While all children are unique, there are a few universal principles that most new parents embrace. Discover what’s popular in parenting advice in these five blogs geared towards new parents.

10 iPhone Apps for Managing Baby’s Schedule

When you become a parent, it can seem like your entire schedule shifts to accommodate the one set by your precious new bundle of joy. For today’s productivity and scheduling obsessed world, tracking the times when Baby eats the most, sleeps the best, and goes through the most diapers is a bit of a booming business. These 10 iPhone apps can help you turn the mobile device you use to manage your own schedule into one that also tracks, monitors and establishes the one that your new baby adheres to.

  1. Eat Sleep: Simple Baby Tracking – Part of managing your baby’s schedule is learning how to track feeding, sleeping and diapering trends so that you can modify your own schedule to meet her demands. This free app is simple to use and remarkably pared down, free of extraneous features that can slow a busy parent down. There is also a note-taking feature included so that you can record special events and circumstances. Eat Sleep also supports more than one child’s schedule.
  2. Baby Connect (Activity Logger) – One of the most popular and comprehensive apps for new parents in the App Store, Baby Connect allows you to set notifications so that you never miss an appointment with the pediatrician, a vaccination, or a scheduled feeding. You can also track charts and trending reports, along with weekly averages.
  3. Baby Tracker from WhatToExpect.com – The trusted folks at WhatToExpect.com bring parents this free app, which allows you to monitor your baby during her first year to make sure that she’s hitting milestones on schedule and getting everything she needs to grow and thrive. Keep up with feedings, diaper changes and sleeping schedules, and access practical parenting advice with this app.
  4. My Baby Today – The checklists, daily calendar and photo album built into the free My Baby Today app allow you to manage every aspect of your baby’s schedule, including feedings and nap times. There is also a selection of weekly activity suggestions, advice and safety information included.
  5. Baby Tracker: Nursing – Keeping up with your baby’s breastfeeding schedule is a snap with this $4.99 app, which manages and tracks nursing sessions with just a few taps. Forget about clunky notebooks, timers and breastfeeding journals; just use the mobile device you already have at the tips of your fingers.
  6. iBaby Feed Timer – If you want to determine how long, on average, that your baby feeds so that you can schedule accordingly, you’ll need to track and time her feeding sessions over the course of a few days. With this $1.99 app, you can manage every aspect of timing feedings and tracking the length of sessions, so that you’re able to easily determine the average amount of time she spends feeding.
  7. Happy Baby Schedule – If you’re using the Happy Baby Schedule method of sleep training, this $0.99 app is an invaluable supplemental tool. The app will help you schedule feedings and time them for optimal duration, so that you’re able to establish a functional and reliable schedule during her first eight weeks that carries through her infancy.
  8. Total Baby – An Apple Staff Favorite and featured in the September 2012 issue of Parenting Magazine, Total Baby is one of the best logging and tracking apps for babies in the App Store. Parents and caregivers alike can quickly and easily use this $4.99 application to time, track and log every aspect of a baby’s schedule. Ideal for both single children and multiples, Total Baby manages everything from diapers to bath time.
  9. Baby Activity Logger – Sleep trending charts, daily activity tracking, and schedule monitoring are all a breeze with this $4.99 app, which is designed to be easily navigated with one hand and to keep all of your baby’s relevant scheduling information in one place.
  10. Baby Pack & Go Packing List – If your baby is the social type, getting her out the door on time and keeping her on schedule can be a challenge. This $0.99 app reminds you of everything you need to pack to make every outing a successful one, ensuring that you’re always prepared and on time.

Despite your best efforts to establish a schedule for your baby that works with your existing one, you may find that you’re forced to adapt to her schedule, rather than vice versa. It’s best to be as flexible as possible in order to accommodate her needs, rather than struggling to establish a schedule that leaves you both irritable and exhausted. These apps are great ways to monitor and track the schedule she’s creating, however, and can be effective tools to for gradually modifying it to better suit your needs.

The Things Kids Say About New Babies

When a firstborn child is faced with the prospect of day-to-day life with a newborn sibling, their reactions can be widely varied. Even if you’ve prepared for the birth of a new baby diligently in the months leading up to her birth, you shouldn’t be surprised when your older child reacts in a somewhat unexpected way. Kids’ reactions are as varied as their personalities, and these are some of the most common things that older siblings say about the new baby in the house.

  • “I’m a baby, too!” – When an older sibling is in the throes of toddlerhood and is forced to accept life with a newborn baby in the house, it’s not uncommon at all for her to regress a bit. Refusing to complete tasks for themselves that they were handling competently before the baby’s birth is actually your child’s way of ensuring that you’re still there to help her, and is such normal behavior that it’s almost stereotypical.
  • “She cries too much!” – Even if it wasn’t so long ago that your older child was crying at the drop of a hat, the amount of crying that a newborn does can be enough to draw protests out of him. This is especially true if an older sibling shares a room with the new baby.
  • “Mommy, I need you!” – In order to make sure that you’re still available to her, your toddler child may become more demanding immediately following the birth of a younger sibling. While this clinginess can be difficult to manage, it’s important that you don’t scold her or entreat her to “stop acting like a baby.” This reaction is more likely to cause your older child to feel real resentment for her new sibling than it is to curb the behavior.
  • “I don’t like her!” – Sleep deprivation, losing the starring role in the family, and being forced to consider the needs of someone who is younger and more dependent can cause your child to declare that he doesn’t like his new sibling, or make other derogatory and derisive comments about her. It’s best to make sure that your older child is getting as much one-on-one time and relaxation as possible if this behavior presents itself, otherwise the resentment could linger and become problematic.
  • “I’ll take care of her!” – Children who are a bit older when the newest addition to the family arrives often feel a strong attachment and sense of protectiveness over the baby, leading them to make a concerted effort to take care of her needs. If your child is insistent upon providing assistance or completing small tasks to “take care” of your child, it’s a very good sign, despite how frustrating it can become when they insist on performing baby-related chores they simply aren’t able to manage on their own.
  • “I can do things that she can’t!” – It’s not abnormal for your toddler, preschooler or early-elementary aged child to take every available opportunity to remind his parents that he’s physically, intellectually and emotionally more advanced than the new baby that seems to be taking everyone’s attention.
  • “Can I help?” – Whether it’s the novelty of caring for a newborn or a genuine desire to be helpful, older children will often ask if they can help parents and childcare providers care for a new infant.
  • “I made her smile!” – Despite assertions that newborn smiles are the result of gas, your older child is likely to fervently believe that they’ve accomplished the Herculean task of making the new baby smile, should the corners of their mouth so much as twitch upwards.
  • “She likes me!” – Discovering that a newborn doesn’t wail when she’s being held by an older sibling can be enough to convince the older child that the newest member of the family likes him, a source of endless pride for most youngsters.

While regression, jealousy and similar reactions can be very frustrating, especially when you’re trying to juggle the demands of a newborn against the needs of your older children, it’s important to keep in mind that such a major shift in the fabric and routines of your family can be a bit traumatic for your child. Try to be as patient as possible, avoiding the urge to scold or punish him for the way that he feels.

30 Blogs with the Best Baby Shower Favors

With the advent of the Internet and the rise in popularity of blogging, there’s now an entire corner of the web dedicated to providing hints, tips and ideas for planning great parties, entertaining friends and family, and celebrating special occasions. From professional party planners to those who simply have a gift for organizing festive events, bloggers from all over the world come together in the blogosphere to share their party planning knowledge. These 30 blogs offer great ideas for shower and party favors, which can easily be adapted to a baby shower theme with a bit of ingenuity and imagination.

Wooden Shower Favors

Depending upon the theme of the baby shower you’re planning, you may find that wooden favors best compliment the established décor. These five blogs offer whimsical and memorable shower favors that are simple to modify and customize so that they blend seamlessly with the rest of your festive decorations.

Glassware Baby Shower Favors

There’s something about glass that lends an air of sophistication and understated glamour to any celebratory event, and baby showers are no exception. Whether they’re discussing the popularity of a particular style of glass favor as the sole subject of their post, or are simply tucking different glassware favors into the body of a post filled with other shower planning ideas and tips, these five bloggers provide some valuable insights regarding baby shower favors made of glass.

Edible Shower Favors

While edible favors are meant to be eaten, and, as such, will not provide your guests with a memento that marks the occasion, they’re also very popular favor options with both hostesses and guests alike. These five blog posts offer plenty of cute ideas for edible baby shower favors, from personalized candy bars to creative packages filled with snacks.

DIY and Crafty Baby Shower Favors

Though most baby shower favors are essentially “do-it-yourself” projects, these five blog posts offer up some creative and exciting ideas for baby shower favors that allow you to completely customize your offerings in order to match them perfectly with all of the other decorations.

Unique Baby Shower Favor Ideas

Quirky moms-to-be may prefer a baby shower favor that’s a bit different from the more popular offerings, which is where these five blog entries shine. From flower seeds to signature scents, there’s something in one of these posts that’s sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Shower Favors for Multiples

An impending birth of multiples is exponentially more exciting, and deserves to be celebrated twice or even three times as much! These five ideas are designed around the idea of celebrating the birth of more than one baby, and are adorable ways to commemorate such a momentous occasion.

Trick Question: Can you co-sleep with your baby without co-sleeping?

Followers of the “attachment parenting” philosophy aren’t the only proponents of co-sleeping; even studies published by the British Medical Journal, Military Medicine and Lancet have shown that there are marked benefits to co-sleeping with your infant. The “Sleeping Position, Orientation, and Proximity in Bedsharing Infants and Mothers” study published in 1996 indicated that infants sleeping near a parent boast regular heart rhythms, more stable temperatures, and fewer long pauses between breaths than infants who sleep alone. The “SIDS Global Task Force Child Care Study” published findings in 2001 that showed that deaths attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome were at their lowest rates in countries where co-sleeping is a culturally-accepted, normal practice. However, there are a variety of situations that make sharing your bed with an infant infeasible or downright impossible for your family.

So, can you and your baby reap the benefits of co-sleeping without sharing an actual bed? In a word, yes.

How Can You Co-Sleep Without Bed-Sharing?

The practice of co-sleeping without sharing a bed has become much more common now that there are two commonly accepted terms. The first is co-sleeping, which means that parents and infants sleep in close proximity, but on a separate sleep space, in the same room. The second is bed-sharing, which refers to a sleeping arrangement in which parents and children share a sleep surface. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages new parents from sharing a bed with their infant, but has encouraged a co-sleeping arrangement in which the baby does sleep in the parents’ bedroom, just in her own safe, separate space. Groups that promote breastfeeding, like La Leche League, suggest that co-sleeping leads to higher breastfeeding success rates than a separate room arrangement.

Co-Sleeper Products

There are entire lines of co-sleeping products that allow you to keep your baby on the same level as your mattress and within arm’s reach, but maintaining your own sleep surfaces. Researching various makes and models of co-sleepers can help you get a better idea of how well you feel each will suit the needs of your unique family. The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper attaches to the parents’ bed, providing the benefits of co-sleeping without the risks of bed-sharing.

Portable Cribs

If you’re only planning to practice co-sleeping temporarily, a collapsible, portable crib might be the solution to your problems. Easy to assemble and lightweight, you can move the crib from one room to another as needed with relative ease. There are weight limits specific to each model, so you’ll want to be sure that your baby hasn’t’ outgrown his. Also, it’s important to be sure that each re-assembly is completed according to the manufacturer’s instruction and presents no pinching, choking or other hazards.

Bassinets and Cradles

While a cradle isn’t collapsible like a portable crib, it is lightweight and easy to move from one room to the next as the need arises. It’s not advised that children who are old enough to sit independently sleep in cradles or bassinets, but they can be ideal for parents of newborns who only plan to co-sleep through their child’s early infancy.

One of the benefits of co-sleeping is being able to react immediately to your infant when she stirs, which can make it easier to soothe her back to sleep in a short time, thus cutting down on the sleepless nights that are the bane of new parents everywhere. While fears that co-sleeping children will become overly sensitive and dependent upon their parents as a result of spending their nights in such close proximity are a leading reason for many parents to eschew co-sleeping, attachment parenting guru and father Dr. Sears insists that infants who share a room with their parents become much more independent kids, with lower levels of anxiety, higher self-esteem and higher levels of academic achievement than their peers. He also asserts that psychiatric problems are less prevalent among adult products of a co-sleeping infancy. Because it’s not necessary for families to share a bed in order to provide the children with the safest and most enriching sleep experience possible, it may be wise to consider a co-sleeping arrangement with your own child. Just remember that every infant, just like every pregnancy, is different. The same co-sleeping arrangement that worked for your oldest daughter may be a complete failure with your youngest son. Taking the individual needs and temperament of each infant into account before making the decision to or to not co-sleep is important, as it can mean the difference between a well-rested parent who’s ready to face the challenges of the day, and an exhausted one on the verge of burnout.

30 of the Best Blogs for New Moms

Becoming a mom for the first time is one of the most exciting experiences you’ll ever have. It can also be one of the most confusing, especially if you have no family or friends with parenting experience nearby. Thankfully, the global village created by the Internet and supported by the vast network of mommy bloggers does offer a significant amount of information and food for thought for new moms. These thirty blog entries cover a variety of parenting topics, both controversial and widely accepted, from feeding to sleep training and vaccinations.

Nursery Safety

When you bring your brand new bundle of joy home, her nursery will be her sanctuary. Unfortunately, that nursery can be filled with dangers that new parents may not be aware of. In the interest of ensuring that your baby’s room is the safe, peaceful place it’s intended to be, check out what these five bloggers have to say on the subject of infant nursery safety.

Safe Sleeping

Since the “Back to Sleep” campaign began in 1994 to promote safe sleeping positions for infants under one year of age, infant mortality rates related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have been steadily dropping. These five blogs take on the scary subject of SIDS, and explain proper sleep safety techniques to new mommies, and provide warnings regarding the importance of relying upon a pediatrician’s advice over that published by bloggers that are not medical professionals.

Feeding

The World Health Organization strongly recommends that all infants be breastfed for at least the first year of life, with the majority of healthcare experts in agreement. While breast milk does provide your baby with the most complete and health-promoting nutrition, the choice to breastfeed or bottle feed is ultimately up to you. The information provided in these five blog entries can help you determine which option is best for you, and provide you with concrete information about the pros and cons of each.

Diapering

While they’re definitely more convenient, disposable diapers can be dangerous to both your baby’s health and that of the environment. These five bloggers tackle all the implications of disposable diapers versus more earth-conscious methods, along with the health benefits of pursuing alternative diapering methods.

Sleep Training

By the time your baby is past the newborn stage and thus in possession of the physical capability to sleep throughout the night, you’re likely to be very anxious for her to begin to do just that. Sleep training encompasses various methods of teaching and encouraging your infant to sleep soundly, allowing everyone to get some much-needed rest.

Vaccinations

From questioning the efficacy of vaccines in the first place to blaming their contents for a variety of behavioral and learning problems, many parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. The controversy surrounding the subject is at a fever pitch, with emotions running high on both sides of the debate and turning the entire concept into a hot-button parenting issue. These five blogs approach immunization from both sides of the argument, allowing new moms to make their own informed decisions.

How to Make Your Own Baby Wipes

Baby wipes have long been hailed as a godsend for parents, and many parents use them for far more than just their intended purpose. In addition to being used to clean up messy babies during a much-need diaper change, lots of parents swear by using them to wipe up messes, act as a mini-shower, and serve as tissues, paper towels, and napkins. However have you ever taken the time to look at the ingredients listed on your baby wipes packaging?  Are the ingredients listed full of words that you can’t pronounce?  Babies have sensitive skin, and the harsh ingredients in commercial wipes can irritate a baby’s soft bottom, not to mention while wipes are super convenient, they can also get pretty expensive. By making your own baby wipes you will not only save money, but you can use gentle ingredients that won’t harm or irritate your baby’s delicate skin.

Gather together the following items:

  • 4 qt. round or square container with a lid (wide enough for paper towel roll to fit in and tall enough for ½ of the roll to fit)
  • Roll of 2-ply paper towel (Bounty select-a-size work well)
  • 2 tablespoons of baby wash
  • 2 tablespoons of mineral oil (use coconut oil or vegetable oil if sensitive skin)
  • 2 ½ cups of hot water
  • Cutting board
  • Knife

Start by cutting the roll of paper towel in half using the knife.  Pull the cardboard core out of the paper towel halves.  The last paper towel is usually glued on, but with a little work you can get it to come loose.  Place half of the paper towels into the container, cut side down.  Measure the hot water, add the baby wash and oil to the water, and stir.  Pour this mixture over the paper towels.  Put the lid on and turn the container upside down.  Allow the container to sit for about 5 minutes.  Flip container back over and now the wipes are ready to use.  Cut an “X” in the lid of the container if you’d like to pull the wipes through.  Otherwise you can just take the lid off each time.  Start pulling wipes from the center.

Since there are no preservatives in these wipes there is a chance for mold to form.  To avoid this keep them in a cool place that is out of direct sunlight.  If you are worried about mold you can add 4 drops of tea tree oil to the water before adding it to the paper towels.  Tea tree is a natural antiseptic and will help to prevent any mold from forming.

You can also customize these wipes to suit you and your baby’s needs.  It’s simple to add a few drops of lavender essential oil if you’d like to have scented wipes.  Lavender also has antiseptic properties.

Homemade wipes can also be used in your travel wipes container, or you can simply throw some in a zip top bag and go.

The savings on these wipes will vary by where you live, but on average you can save about $10 a month by making your own wipes.  Homemade wipes tend to be moister then store bought ones, so some parents think they work better as well. If the wipes seem too wet for your liking just decrease the amount of water you use the next time you make them.

10 iPhone Apps for Expectant Dads

Learning that you’re going to be a father is one of the most exciting pieces of news that you’ll ever get. That doesn’t mean, however, that poring over dry instructional books on pregnancy and childbirth is particularly stimulating. Thankfully, the advent of smartphones allows a father-to-be to stay involved and educate himself about the changes in his partners’ and his child’s body in an interactive, entertaining way. These are the ten must-have iPhone apps for expectant fathers, from the informative to the amusing.

  1. mPregnancy – For Men With Pregnant WomenAt ten weeks gestation, your baby is 3cm long. In guy-speak, that’s the size of a beer cap. This is just one of the ways that mPregnancy explains the process in funny but useful terms, keeping it light and geared towards the male pregnancy experience.
  2. Labor and Contraction Timer – While this app will really only come in handy at the end of your partner’s pregnancy, it’s still not one that you’ll want to be with out. Timing the duration and spacing of her contractions, as well as recording the intensity, gives you a heads-up when it’s time to go to the hospital.
  3. The Guy’s Guide to the Delivery Room – Even the most eager expectant fathers are likely to have a few qualms about the delivery room, most borne of fear and inexperience. The Guy’s Guide to the Delivery Room is spelled out in clear, easy to understand language that lets you know exactly what to expect and how to prepare for your little one’s big debut.
  4. iPregnancy – Written by an actual OB/GYN, iPregnancy is one of the most popular pregnancy apps on the market. Track your baby’s gestational age, learn what your partner is experiencing with each week that passes and integrate the app with Facebook and Twitter for easy social networking updates.
  5. Baby Names – One of the things that has to be decided is your baby’s name, otherwise she’ll never get a driver’s license or a job, and will never move out of your house. Baby Names lets you browse through thousands of names with several different sorting features to narrow the search, saving your favorites and accessing their meanings.
  6. Pimp My Ultrasound – Your baby’s ultrasound is the first time that she’ll show her face to the world. Her time to shine. That doesn’t mean that you can’t slap a football helmet on it and a mic in her hand for a little pre-parenting fun. Pimp My Ultrasound lets you personalize your ultrasound photo with tons of graphics and frames, with tons of options for customizing the precious moment caught on film.
  7. Baby Pool – Dads-to-be that know the line on every sporting event in the foreseeable future are sure to get a kick out of Baby Pool, which allows your friends, family and coworkers to place bets on your baby’s gender, size at birth and the date and time that the blessed event occurs.
  8. Pregnancy (Sprout) – Choose a 3D avatar and watch it grow each week along with your baby with Pregnancy (Sprout). You can even assign the avatar a gender when you learn that of your upcoming bundle of joy, and enter the name you and your partner decide on for a customizable and impressive iPhone pregnancy experience.
  9. BabyBump – A more interesting way of learning about the ins and outs of your partner’s pregnancy than reading a textbook on the subject, Baby Bump offers sound, real-world pregnancy advice and lets you keep track of your little one’s developmental changes week by week.
  10. UrbanSpoon – When those pregnancy cravings for a specific style of cuisine hit your partner, save the day by pinpointing the best match closest to you with this top-rated local restaurant app. You’ll be feeding them for at least the next eighteen years, so it’s a good habit to get into.

Some of these apps are funny, and some are written by actual medical professionals. That doesn’t mean that they’re any substitute for the actual advice of your OB/GYN, so be sure that you always follow her instructions to the letter. Even the informative apps are for information purposes only, and not intended to help you make any medical decisions. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask your obstetrician or midwife.

How to Ease Teething Pain Without Medicine

Teething is a necessary, albeit painful, rite of passage for your baby. Sprouting her new teeth is hard work, and can leave her irritable, feverish and with difficulty sleeping as those teeth cut through her delicate little gums and break the surface. Because so many parents today are hesitant to use any over-the-counter medications unless they’re absolutely necessary, there’s quite an interest in more natural, chemical-free ways of soothing the screams and the pain that accompany teething. While each baby is different and will respond to each solution with varying degrees of relief, here are some of the ways that you might be able to cut the pain of cutting teeth without reaching for medication.

  • Keep Gums Cool – One of the most cost-effective methods of drug-free relief of teething symptoms is wring a wet washcloth out very well, leaving it only damp, then place it in the freezer. Letting Baby chew on the frozen (or very chilled) cloth not only helps to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation; it also satisfies their innate need to chew, in order to speed the process of the teeth surfacing. The softness of the washcloth versus the sometimes rigid and uncomfortable plastic of a frozen teething aid might be just what your little one needs; remember, all babies are different and will like and dislike different things. Be careful that you supervise her at all times to prevent any chance of choking, and let her gnaw to her heart’s content.
  • Choose Teething Rings Carefully – Older teething rings may freeze into very hard and uncomfortable rings, contain the potentially dangerous chemical Bisphenal A, also known as BPA and may not be compliant with all modern safety standards. Teething rings that are hand-me-downs might save money, but they could present a hazard. The problem of freezing teething rings to boost Baby’s level of relief has been addressed in recent years, with newer offerings hitting the market every day that are designed to be placed in the freezer without losing their pliability.
  • Rub Her Gums – The first-ever teething aid was Mom’s finger, and things haven’t changed so much that they can’t be used in a pinch to massage a teething baby’s sensitive, inflamed gums. Be sure to wash your hands, however; using gel hand sanitizers can expose your baby to chemicals, dyes and fragrances that should never been ingested. Good, old-fashioned soap and water is best.
  • Soothing and Comforting – Sometimes a baby that’s irritable and uncomfortable from the effects of teething just needs to be held, cuddled and soothed to sleep. During particularly rough bouts of teething, it may be necessary to spend more time than usual loving on your little one to get her calmed and feeling secure enough to sleep despite her discomfort.
  • Clove Oil – Many all-natural moms rave about the soothing power of clove oil for teething gums, but it’s important to remember that, in its pure form, clove oil is very strong and can increase Baby’s discomfort. Dilute the oil with food-grade carrier oil and test it out yourself before applying it to her gums via massage, and keep in mind that her gums are far more sensitive than your own. If the mixture feels uncomfortable, is accompanied by a very strong taste or is otherwise unpleasant for you, it’s a safe bet that the same will hold true for your baby a few times over. It’s always a good idea to speak with your child’s healthcare provider before using homeopathic remedies.
  • Teething Biscuits – Traditional teething biscuits tend to be laden with sugars and preservatives that you probably don’t want your little one ingesting, but there are a wide variety of low sugar or sugar-free, organic offerings on the market as well.  
  • Cold Spoons – The American Dental Association recommends that teething babies be given a chilled spoon to suck on, to ease their discomfort without presenting a serious choking risk. It’s still important, however, that you supervise her at all times as she gnaws away on the flatware.

Benzocaine and other numbing agents sold over-the-counter and marketed as teething relief ointments do numb your baby’s gums and reduce her pain, but they can also numb the rest of her mouth and her throat. That numbness can greatly increase her chances of gagging or choking, another reason why these remedies should be avoided whenever possible. Also, the drooling that often accompanies teething can cause your baby’s skin to become irritated, so be sure to keep her face, neck and torso as clean, dry and saliva-free as possible to prevent a rash that increases her discomfort even further.