Friday, February 10, 2012

My "Green" Medicine Cabinet: Baby Teething Relief

So last time we peeked into my "green" medicine cabinet, we talked about pink eye, now we're on to teeth...baby teeth that is. As I said before, I love to find green alternatives to traditional medicine that are free of yucky chemicals, additives, and other odd ingredients.

"Let's talk about teeth!"
Now teething is one of those things that can drive a new mom or dad crazy. Here you're going along, feeling like you finally got your baby figured out then...WHAM! In come the teeth. That routine you thought you had- gone. That sweet little happy baby-gone. Those peaceful nights-gone. In come the screaming, the chewing, and the drooling.

Okay, I'm probably making it more dramatic than it actually is, but to a new parent, it can be quite a challenge. I spent many hours Googling teething tips, alternative teething remedies, and other ways that I could make the process more bearable for Avery and myself. In the end I discovered...Hyland's Homeopathic Baby Teething Tablets and as a result our teething issues became much better.

My favorite teething tablets!
 Let's take a look at Avery's teething journey...

The first two teeth that poked through around 5 months old.


The top two followed next around 8 months old.

Once again, my disclaimer- I am not a medical doctor or a pharmacist. So while I can share what has worked with me, it may not work for you.  I would say to talk with your "health care provider" but they will probably  just tell you to take the traditional over-the-counter or prescription medication. Instead you could do your own research or talk with someone at a natural health food store. Also, I purchased the products mentioned in this post with my own money and this is my honest opinion of them.

So let's just right in to my "green" medicine cabinet pick for baby teething relief.

Symptoms I observed my baby experiencing:
-more crying than usual
-chewing, chewing, and more chewing. She'd chew anything she could get her hands on, and I knew she was really desperate if she was chewing on her fingers.
-sometimes a runny nose (especially when she got her top teeth)
-sometimes a slight diaper rash (it's often debatable if this is connected to teething, occasionally I did see it though)
-red cheeks
-seeing an actual tooth beginning to stick out (or just feeling the razor sharp beginnings)
-other symptoms your baby may have...click here.

Case in point....the chewing girl.

When she started the chewing around 3 months.
Still at 6 months.

Fingers aside, toys are one of her favorites to chew on too.


Traditional medicine:
I suppose a traditional route would be to give acetaminophen or ibuprofeun, or possibly a teething gel that will numb the gums.  Here are two common baby teething remedies that I looked closer into when I was searching for green alternatives (shocker: these did not turn out to be very green):

Probably one of the most common alternatives: Baby Orajel Teething Pain Medicine. According to their website: "Relieve teething pain safely, effectively, and instantly with Baby Orajel® Teething Pain Medicine. Baby Orajel is the #1 teething brand used by pediatricians, recommended by pharmacists and trusted by more parents than all other brands combined.* Don’t trust your child’s teething pain to anything else."

That's all nice and fine, but I'm all about the ingredients, so let's see how this one stacks up...

Active Ingredients: Benzocaine 7.5%
Inactive Ingredients: Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, FD&C red no. 40, Flavor, Glycerin, Polyethylene Glycol, Purified Water, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbic Acid, Sorbitol

WTF? Red dye? Saccharin? Ammonium Glycyrrhizate...say what? Nothing green here folks. How about their more "natural" teething gel?

Baby Orajel Naturals Teething Gel. According to their website: "New Baby Orajel® Naturals offers the power of safe and effective eugenol. It’s also dye-free, paraben-free, alcohol-free and benzocaine-free. It’s soothing relief. Pure and simple."

I'm glad they're trying to go green with it and at least it's a more natural option, but still, I don't know if the ingredient list will pass the test, let's see....

Active Ingredients: Eugenol 1.2%
Inactive Ingredients: flavor, glycerin, polyethylene glycol, sorbic acid, sorbitol, sucralose, water.

Definitely sounds better than the first, but I just don't know if I'd want all those ingredients to be going into my baby. This lead me to find the holy grail of all green teething remedies...

"Green Medicine Cabinet" alternativeHyland's Baby Homeopathic Teething Tablets

According to their website: "It temporarily relieves the symptoms of simple restlessness and wakeful irritability due to cutting teeth. Helps reduce redness and inflammation of gums."
  • Free of benzocaine, parabens, artificial dyes & flavors
  • No numbing effect
  • Easy to administer
  • Soft tablets dissolve instantly upon contact with saliva, and can also be dissolved in teaspoon of water
  • Fast, natural relief for the trials of teething 

How I used it: I gave (and continue to give her) 2 tablets in the morning after she wakes up and 2 tablets before bed. On a day that I can tell she is in more pain or is extra fussy, I'll give her 2 more after lunchtime. The bottle states that you can give 2-3 tablets under the tongue 4 times per day."

Avery's usual dose...2 tablets in the morning, and before bed
when she's "teething".
Like they say, these tablets do dissolve instantly. I've never had a close call where it seems like Avery is choking. I put these in and just like that...they're gone.

How it's greener: Let's take a look at the formula/ingredients:
Calcarea Phosphorica 6X HPUS  For teething, dentition
Chamomilla 6X HPUS For irritability
Coffea Cruda 6X HPUS  For sleeplessness
Belladonna 12X HPUS (0.0000000000003% Alkaloids)  For redness and inflammation
All in a base of Lactose, N.F.

Sounds much greener to me! On top of that it's homeopathic (a medical philosophy based on the idea that the body is capable of healing itself).  According to WebMD:" Homeopathy is based on the idea that "like cures like." That is, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness. In theory, a homeopathic dose enhances the body's normal healing and self-regulatory processes."

As I've said before, a lot of medications in my "green medicine cabinet" are homeopathic. I enjoy using homeopathic alternatives because they do not have other additives, dyes, flavorings, or chemicals. They're safe to take when pregnant, nursing, or even on babies .  I took them throughout my pregnancy and I currently give them to Avery, as I'm writing about in this post.

Just a head's up: An odd side effect, your baby may fall asleep quickly after taking these...never quite saw this effect with Avery but this is posted on the bottle: "Please note: if your baby has been crying or upset, your baby may fall asleep after using this product because the pain has been relieved and your child can rest."

Other funny effect: You're baby will become conditioned very quickly to this bottle. All I have to do is show her the bottle and shake it several times and she will start smiling, laughing, or sometimes happily screaming! She loves these things and I can bet your baby will too. (  :

Where to find it: Whole Foods, local health food store, or online for about $7-9.

Another tip: The teething tablet bottle is also a great entertainer for babies during diaper changes! Who knew? Double duty! Obviously you want to make sure the bottle is completely closed before handing it to your baby so they don't end up with a face full of teething tablets. But really, Avery has a blast with the bottle because she can shake it, chew on the outside of it, or just hold onto it.  Kind of strange I know, but you do what you got a do.
"I'll just be taking this."

Just a little splits action after the diaper change.

"Hmmm...Hyland's Teething Tablets.  Seems like a green
choice to me!"
Now I've tried a few other natural alternatives when it comes to teething, one main one is an  an amber teething necklace that I first blogged about here.

Amber teething necklace at 4 months.

These necklaces aren't for chewing, instead they are thought to help ease the pain that comes along with teething (read more here). They contain amber (which is a rock that used to be resin from a tree) and when the amber gets heated up by being next to a baby's skin, it releases trace amounts of healing oils that can help relieve the inflammation and pain that accompany teething.  Avery started wearing her teething necklace back when she was 3 1/2 months old, and although it hasn't been our "cure-all" (since I'm blogging about teething tablets), it has helped in some ways. If I go a day or night without it on her, she will drool more and sometimes seems more irritable, so in those ways, I truly believe the teething necklace has helped and continues to help. Anyone else try these or have success with them? 

Another thing that's helped is my approach to baby food, called baby-led solids or baby-led weaning which I first blogged about here. It's basically the idea that you let your baby wean themselves onto solid food by offering them "adult food" to eat at meals while still continuing to breastfeed when the baby wants to.  A specific feature of this method is that you skip the "baby food stage" of the mushes, mashes, and other mixtures.  I know that for some people these work, but for others (like Avery) giving her real food has really worked out great. I think it's helped her teething because it gives her more items to chew on that could help cope with her need to "chew" and alleviate pain.  Some foods that helped were apple sticks (just cut into finger-like shapes), carrot sticks, and even gluten-free toast. 
"Apples help my teeth!" 

So there you have it, some of my favorite natural alternatives to baby teething, more specifically: Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets. Anyone else have favorite tips or tricks that worked for your babies? Post below!

See you next time to see what else is in my "Green" Medicine Cabinet".

Recently this post was linked up to a blog party called, "Tuesday Baby Link Up". This is where other bloggers can gather together and share their baby-related posts, such as: pregnancy & birth, adoption, newborn & baby, or toddler & child. You can find more of the "Tuesday Baby Link Up" over at the blog Satisfaction Through Christ, as well as a number of other blogs that are listed in the link above. So hop on over and check out some other fun baby posts!


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