more than one way to raise a child

Teething: What helps and what doesn’t

Teething: What helps and what doesn’t

When our kids started teething, we bought every remedy the pharmacy sold — why would we let our kids experience pain if we could do something about it?!

As we quickly learned, it’s not as simple as that!

Here’s what we found helped and what didn’t — as you’ll see we have different opinions! Is there something you do that we haven’t listed below? Let us know.

Calpol / Neurofen:

Kate: Calpol seems to help The Girl’s overall mood when she’s in pain from teething, but it doesn’t work quickly! I’m also hesitant to give it this her often since it’s an overall pain killer rather than targeted. When her current teeth were just at the break through stage, we used Calpol every 6 hours but that didn’t last longer than a day or two.

Em: Calpol is our go to for any signs of teething or illness (and yes that’s Calpol not any own-brand unfortunately – The Boy does know the difference!) The concentration of paracetamol in Calpol is relatively small – 120mg compared with 1000mg per dose for an adult. It’s also proven to work – it is a painkiller and I know if I had toothache I would want proper medicine! I have no hesitation about whipping out the Calpol as long as it isn’t long term usage. Neurofen we use less as ibuprofen is more for muscle aches and has more potential side effects.

Gels (Bonjela, Dentonex etc)

Kate: The Girl HATES the taste of both Bonjela and Dentonex, so we haven’t used them much. Also, I find it’s way too dangerous to try to put it on her gums now that she has other teeth – she bites!

Em: We have had quite a lot of success with both Bonjela and Dentonex and The Boy loves the taste. I’ve perfected my technique to help sooth The Boy – I find it works especially well when the gums are really swollen and raw.

Ashton and Parsons Teething Powder

Kate: These are by far The Girl’s favourite – her face lights up when I start to shake the little white sachet and she opens her mouth in anticipation. Whether or not they reduce her pain, I have no idea! But I figured it doesn’t have any side effects so I use these often.

Em: I cant get my head around homeopathy I’m sorry so I haven’t even tried these. The main ingredient seems to be Xylitol – artificial sweetener so no wonder babies like it! As Kate said though there are probably no side effects so if it works for you..

Essential Oils

Kate: I have to admit, I do roll a VERY diluted lavender mixture over her cheeks. It smells lovely and she enjoys when I roll it on – NO idea if it works.

Em: Again – bit too woo for me!

Cold muslins

Kate – I could never get The Girl to suck on these for long enough to make any difference!

Em – I’d agree with Kate – The Boy isn’t interested and you get left with soggy bits of cloth – no thanks!

Teething toys

Kate – We have some bog standard plastic teething toys, but there is one in particular that The Girl loves that we got from the US: a fake teething ice cream cone!

Em – Similar to most parents we have mixed success with teething toys – sometimes The Boy likes them, sometimes not so much. In fact the most used toy is actually his M&S monkey comforter – not only is it his sleep aid he also likes to chew it’s feet and arms.

Organix Ginger Biscuits

Kate– I personally haven’t used these, but I’ve heard they are great for when top teeth descend.

Em- Despite having three top teeth and one nearly out I’d never heard that the ginger biscuits helped with teething so have not intentionally tried this one. I can vouch for the fact that they are very yummy and The Boy enjoys eating them as an afternoon snack (as do I).


Full disclosure: Despite a year of drooling constantly, The Girl only has two bottom teeth, so we haven’t hit the full on teething phase yet. We’ll update the article once the kiddos have all their teeth!

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