Are teething devices suitable for babies?

Are teething devices suitable for babies?

Baby teethers come in all shapes and sizes. Moms have relied on teethers for decades to soothe a teething baby’s painful gums during the dreaded teething phase. 

Teething is the time in a baby’s development when the baby teeth push through the surface of the gums, and it can be a painful ordeal, of course! 

The process usually starts between three to seven months old. Baby teethers bring parents some sanity amidst the chaos of parenthood, but are they always the right choice?

Biting babies

As your baby looks for sweet relief from the new-tooth pain, they’ll want to bite and gnaw to soothe their irritated gums, says Healthline. Your baby might start reaching for dangerous household objects — or your hands or shoulders, ouch! Teething toys are a great and safe alternative.

Teethers come in different shapes, colours and sizes to make them more appealing for babies. They are usually rubbery and soft but not soft enough to chew through. You don’t want a piece to break off and get lodged in the baby’s throat! 

Look out for the following.

When you pick a teether, there are certain ingredients you should avoid, such as Lead, BPA, Phthalate, heavy metals, cadmium and other toxic substances.

Teething toys have pros and cons:

Pros

  • When your infant begins to teethe, they are willing to put anything in their mouth. To relieve their irritation and avoid dangerous objects going into their mouth, finding something for them to suck on is the main aim. Baby teethers do the job! They soothe gums and temporarily entertain your infant when they are hungry, and you still need to prepare their food.
  • According to Triplets Book, the soothing properties of baby teethers come in handy when your baby is in a stressful situation. They are helpful when having to get blood tests done or taking an injection. Some infants struggle to settle down at bedtime. A teether can provide comfort at this time. Sometimes, the teething tool is so comforting; it can put your baby to sleep. 
  • Teethers can control the start of bad habits, such as thumb sucking. You can replace the thumb with a teething toy instead.
  • Baby teethers are made from different materials – wood, plastic, silicone and rubber. Silicone is an excellent teething choice. You can place them in the fridge. The coldness soothes irritating gums. Make sure that you don’t freeze the teether. It may become too complex and hurt your baby’s soft gum. 

Cons

  • Teethers can be laced with possible toxic chemicals. If a teether reads that it is BPA-free, it may have a poisonous synthetic included in it. BPA stands for bisphenol-A. It is an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics and resins. It is ideal for evading all plastic teethers. They may contain this harmful compound. 
  • Parents have been using teethers as an aid for years. Some disadvantages have been picked up because of parents doing this. The main problem is that your baby may become dependent on the teether or even their pacifier. It may be the only item that your baby can use to fall asleep. If the device falls out of their mouth in the middle of the night, you may face repeated crying periods. Instead, practice carrying and rocking your baby to sleep. A white noise app may be helpful too. The process of removing the teether or pacifier can take time, but it is possible. With lots of patience, your baby can eventually fall asleep without a pacifier and sleep right through the night.
  • Paediatricians fear that teethers may interfere with breastfeeding your infant. If given a pacifier too soon, babies may opt to suck on that rather than the nipple at feeding time. Sucking on a nipple compared to a pacifier are two different textures. It may result in you needing to pump out your breastmilk and feed your baby with a bottle instead.
  • Certain studies have suggested that using a pacifier may increase the risk of middle ear infections. Also, the prolonged usage of a pacifier can cause dental problems. The top front teeth may begin to slant, and the position of the teeth may not go back to normal. 

Be sure to sterilise teethers regularly. Babies have bacteria in their mouths and on their grubby, tiny hands! Baby’s teething age also love to crawl on their hands and knees and accumulate germs on their teether. 

Never tie a teether around a baby’s neck, or pin it to their clothing. This can cause harm. 

Go the natural way?

Some parents opt for more natural chew toys. A common one is a piece of sugar cane. Once the baby is done chewing it, throw it away and use a new piece next time. Biltong is also popular in SA. You actually get teething biltong!

Some moms freeze pieces of fruit for babies t chew and snack on to ease any discomfort and have a yummy treat at the same time! Two birds, one stone! 

Become familiar with the product

It is vital that you do the proper research and knows the product that you are purchasing. Ultimately, it is going to spend a lot of time in your baby’s mouth. Be sure that you are satisfied with the final choice of teether.

 

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