Teething is a tough time for babies – none of us like to have sore gums – and your baby has no idea what is happening, only that there’s pain and irritation to deal with.
For some, teething time is an agonising combination of crying, crankiness and lack of sleep – and that’s just the baby! Thankfully, if you can provide your baby with the best baby teething toys, your baby can gain some relief, and all of us can get some sleep!
When Does Teething Start?
You will usually see the first tooth coming through your baby’s gums between 4-7 months of age, although some babies can start teething as early as 3 months old.
The first ones to appear are usually the two little bottom front teeth and they are usually followed around 4-8 weeks later by the four front upper teeth. Next, your baby’s first molars will break through, and the last usually to be seen are the eyeteeth. It can take until your child is about 3 years old for all 20 of the primary teeth to come through.
What are the signs of teething
For some babies, teething is no big deal. But for others it’s a very uncomfortable process and can cause your baby to be irritable and cranky, with lots of crying and disrupted sleep and eating. Tender and swollen gums are no fun for anyone and if it becomes really bad, your baby could also experience a raised temperature. You should definitely see your doctor if your baby’s reaction to teething seems more than what you consider normal.
Teething Toys to Relieve Pain
If your baby is having a tough time with teething – you should definitely try teething toys to get them chewing and give them some relief from those little teeth pushing through!
Babies want to chew on things when they are teething, so you need to be sure that what they put into their mouths is non-toxic, big enough that they can’t swallow it, and tough enough that it won’t break up into little pieces. Simply chewing on a safe teething toy can really help relieve the pressure they are feeling on their gums.
Even if your baby isn’t suffering during teething, baby’s love to put things in their mouths! This is one of their first ways of becoming aware of the world around them, and the sensory experience of using their mouth and tongue.
Teething Toys made from Natural Materials
Because your baby is going to put teething toys in their mouth, we only want to focus on safe, natural, and non-toxic teething toys.
We don’t want to be giving our babies anything made from plastic, especially toxic PVC/Vinyl, anything that contains BPAs, or anything that has an unnatural coating or fragrance.
We only recommend using teething toys made from natural wood, natural rubber, or silicone.
We don’t recommend teething toys that are filled with liquids or gels, as they’ve been known to puncture – baby teeth can be sharp.
How many teething toys do I need?
It’s best to have a variety of teething toys available for your baby. This way, if your baby doesn’t like one, they have another one to try – sometimes one becomes a favourite so it’s best to have two of that one in case it gets lost and your baby is crying out for it.
And if the teething toy gets dropped in the dirt, then you have a back up!
Natural Wood Teething Toys
Wooden teething toys are the most natural, and timber is also naturally antibacterial. We only recommend solid wood teething toys with no finish – or at most, a natural, vegetable-based finish is ok.
Wooden teething toys are the hardest material you can get and this can provide extra relief and help the teeth break through that final layer of gum!
Kay Bojesen Wooden Rattle
We already talked about this beautiful, natural toy in our post about Danish designer Kay Bojesen’s toys here.
“Rattle” is a simple, classic object that has been in production without change for 85 years.
The rattle is made of smooth unpainted beech, it’s 8cm in diameter and easy for small hands to hold, and it is naturally antibacterial – your baby can chew on Rattle and be entertained by it’s spinning, moving ball later on!
Maple Landmark Teethers
Maple Landmark have been making eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games and gifts since 1979 at their shop in Middlebury, Vermont, USA. They are very proud of their craftmanship, and we love their work!
Their natural wooden teething toys are crafted from locally harvested hardwood maple – a rugged wood that doesn’t splinter, and they are carefully sanded to be smooth to the touch – and to the mouth and gums!
These beautiful teethers are 3 1/2 inches or 9cm in diameter and 3/4 inch or 2cm in thick – making them large enough for your baby to hold, and small enough to chew!
A great idea is the pair of Maple Landmark Teething Toys so you always have that backup!
Mother Goose Ringley Teething Toys
Ringley teething toys are made in Canada from untreated Maple wood from North American trees, and 100% organic terry cloth.
The combination of these two textures will really satisfy your baby’s teething needs – the wooden ring is easy to grip and the cotton cloth can be used wet or dry and easily reaches around your baby’s gums and teeth.
The maple wood has no finish and is renowned for it’s antibacterial properties, and the whole toy can be hand washed when it needs it.
The Mother Goose Ringley Teething Toy feels beautiful, and we know you and your baby will love it!
Natural Rubber Teething Toys
Natural rubber is the sap harvested from the Hevea tree, and is a great choice for teething toys due to its chewy texture and natural antibacterial properties.
Natural rubber teething toys are completely chemical-free, sustainable, and they are also biodegradable!
Sophie La Girafe
The famous Sophie La Girafe was first produced in France in 1961 and is still being traditionally made by hand from 100% natural rubber today.
She has been a favourite for more than 50 years and she not only soothes your baby’s teething, she is visually stimulating and makes a squeak!
Sophie is flexible and soft, and has no seams or holes. She stands at just over 6 1/2 inches (17cm) so she’s a perfect fit for little hands – and she is hand-painted with non-toxic, food-grade paints – so each Sophie toy is unique!
Watch this video to see Sophie being made and how much babies love playing with her!
Sophie also comes in fantastic gift set – the Vulli Sophie The Giraffe Sophiesticated Classical Creation Birth Gift Set which features a Sophie the Giraffe toy, a Sophie teething ring, a customizable gift card and a beautiful gift bag!
Silicone teething toys
Silicone teething toys are made from 100% medical or food grade silicone and will not absorb odours or support the growth of mould, fungus or bacteria.
You can wash them on the top shelf of the dishwasher or even boil them up to sterilise.
They are soft and chewy and stimulating to your baby’s gums AND you can put them in the fridge or freezer to add some extra cooling relief!
Lifefactory Multi-Sensory Silicone Teething Rings
Lifefactory Teething Rings are made in the USA from medical grade silicone. In each pack is a set of two teething rings which are soft and lightweight, and are perfect for little fingers to hold. And because you have two – you have that all important backup!
The simple design has several different textures for your baby to chew on.
They are hassle free to take with you on a day out, and you can even put them over your wrist as a bracelet if you want to carry a few around when you’re on the move.
Lifefactory Teething Rings come in a range of colours, they are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and can be put in the fridge or freezer to help soothe aching gums.
Silicone Teething Necklaces for Mothers to Wear
We don’t recommend you put a teething necklace around your baby’s neck! There is a serious risk of strangulation and you just don’t want to even think about.
However, there ARE teething necklaces that mothers can wear made from safe, chewable materials – wearing one of these means that your baby can safely chew on your necklace whilst in your arms or on your lap – your baby will always grab whatever you have around your neck so you can put your diamonds away and safely use one of these!
We really like the Bebe By Me Harper All-in-One Teething Necklace. Bebe By Me, also known as Marotaro, specialise in custom baby products and toys – they are all designed in a research lab in Japan by a collaboration of American, Australian and Japanese parents, and are manufactured in Australia!
The Bebe By Me Harper teething necklace for mothers is made from food-grade silicone.
The necklace has 2 separate strands and holds hard beads, soft beads and cushy beads of different shapes so your baby can try out all those different textures against their gums to find what’s right for the moment.
The necklace is a good length at 15 inches long (38 cm) and it also has a super-strong clasp so your baby won’t be able to pull it off.
There are two pastel colour variations available which are fairly neutral so although it isn’t a fashion statement, it doesn’t stand out so much as to totally clash with your outfit!
We DON’T recommend Amber Teething Products
There’s a lot of hype around natural Baltic Amber teething necklaces. Baltic amber is a fossilized tree resin, not a stone, rock or gem. It is warm to touch, as well as very comfortable and light to wear. There are claims that Baltic amber releases traces of natural, anti-inflammatory healing oils and that these can help relieve teething symptoms by reducing swelling of your baby’s gums.
We don’t know if these claims are proven or not. But what we do know is that all of the amber necklaces we researched were made of small amber pieces that in our mind present a choking risk. We already know that we are not putting a necklace of any kind around our baby’s neck – and we don’t feel comfortable with our baby chewing on necklaces made of small beads of any kind, even if being worn by an adult!
You can find amber necklaces for adults here, so if you’ve been given a great story from a friend about these then we leave it up to you to decide. But in our view, they just aren’t worth the risk.
Do you have any favourite teething toys your baby loves? We’d love to know – just leave us a message in the comments below.