Your little one will probably start teething between four and seven months, according to the American Dental Association. During that time, your previously happy-go-lucky newborn might become uncharacteristically clingy and fussy, and for good reason: Teething is uncomfortable! You'll probably head to the baby store to find a product that promises to make teething more bearable for the both of you, but the shelves upon shelves of toys can leave you blindly grabbing for something – anything – to help your little one feel more comfortable. Not all teethers are good for baby, but the best teething toys aren't too hard to find if you know what to look for; here are fives types of toys that are both safe and effective.
1. Cool Toys
Toys that can be chilled are typically made from rubber or plastic and are put in the fridge before it's given to your babe, but liquid- or gel-filled teething rings should be avoided, says MedlinePlus. Because teething can be painful, cold – but not freezing – temperatures are ideal to soothe swollen gums. It's best to choose a toy that remains flexible even when cold. Babies love to chew, so find a toy that "gives" a little, even after spending time in the refrigerator. The best teething toys mold the cold to your baby's most sensitive areas.
2. Mesh Feeders
If your teething infant is over the age of six months, you can offer up a mesh feeder as a teething toy for your fussy aficionado. Mesh feeders have a small mesh bag attached to a sturdy ring. You pop a few cool delights into the mesh bag – think chilled strawberries or bananas from the fridge – and close up the top before you hand it over to your babe. Cold food is a great remedy according to MedlinePlus. The mesh allows safe amounts of flavor and pulp to make it through, while the cold food soothes sore gums at the same time. It's the best teething toy for babies who are learning about new foods.
3. Teething Buddy or Blanket
Part comfort item, part teething toy, teething blankets or buddies are perfect for when your baby needs some extra love. Often, buddies and blankets have soft bodies, but rubberized caps on the corners so your little one can hug and chew at the same time. Look for buddies that have teething areas with different textures for little gums to explore.
4. Vibrating Toys
As one of the newest types of teething toys, vibrating objects can feel great on sore, swollen gums. One popular teething toy is a rubber vibrating star, which only buzzes when your baby clamps down on the exterior, recommended from parents at the BabyCenter. Just remember to only give your baby vibrating toys specifically made as teething toys, since they need to be safe for your little one to put in his or her mouth.
5. Cloths and Toothbrushes
You don't need to go to the baby store to score teething remedies that really work. Some of the items around your house acting as toys can do so in a pinch, and many babies prefer them over store-bought teething toys. A clean washcloth with one corner dipped into water and chilled can be a perfect solution for a baby who needs soothing cold. Or, let your little one chew on a baby-safe toothbrush, like the Colgate® My First® Toothbrush. The soft bristles massage gums gently. Both of these come recommended from the Mayo Clinic.
The best teething toys are the ones that help your little one feel comfort during an uncomfortable stage. By offering items that sooth, massage and cool sore gums, you welcome a triumphant return back to the happy, silly baby you know and love.
Learn more about infant oral care in the Colgate Oral Care resources.