Oh, the drool. THE DROOL.
How is there so much? Will it ever stop? Is your baby destined to soak through six outfits every day for the foreseeable future? If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, chances are you have a teething tot.
And while excessive drool is a telltale sign teething has begun, most parents are more concerned about lessening the pain that comes along with sprouting new teeth. It’s no walk in the park for your little one, as is often evidenced by irritability and fussiness, so it’s a good idea to provide baby with some relief. Although there are a plethora of teething remedies on the market, teether toys are the only remedy recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a means to soothe baby’s sore gums without the use of medication. However, it’s important to know that not all teether toys are created equal, and some will be much more safe and effective for your child. Read on for 10 things to look for when selecting your tot’s teether toy.
1. FDA Approval
First and foremost, be absolutely sure that anything your baby is putting in her mouth is safe. This means ensuring that the materials used to make the teether meet the approval of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). It’s also a good idea to avoid materials and substances the FDA considers a safety risk, such as teething necklaces and homeopathic drugs. Many of these are available, though they lack a stamp of approval from the FDA watchdogs.
2. BPA, PVC and Phthalate-free
Even if a baby product has been approved by the FDA for distribution, it may still pose a risk to your child. BPA, PVC and Phthalates are all toxic substances found in many plastics, even in products marketed to children. Shocking, right? These chemical additives make plastic softer, which is why they’re so often used in toys, but they have been linked to asthma, developmental disabilities and more. Luckily, you can find excellent teethers like these Ike & Leo Teething Bracelets, which are completely free of these harmful additives.
3. No Liquid Inside
Some teethers feature liquid-filled sections that can be frozen to provide baby with additional relief. However, the AAP also warns against these. If the teether springs a leak, your child could be exposed to a potentially harmful substance, or choke on a broken piece of the toy. Additionally, freezing a teether until it becomes rock-hard can actually injure a baby’s delicate gums, rather than providing pain relief. So, stick to solid substances where your baby’s teether toys are concerned.
Speaking of solid substances that won’t pose any risk to your developing baby, food-grade silicone is a current favorite for baby teething products. Silicone is flexible and won’t hurt baby’s gums, it contains no harmful chemicals, won’t mold and has no liquid inside. Check out these Ike & Leo Teether Toys, perfect for tiny hands, made from soft but strong silicone, and an Amazon Baby Top 100 product.
5. Easy to Grip
Babies can start teething as early as three months, so it might be difficult for your little one to hold onto a teether on his own. Fend off your tyke’s frustration by looking for toys that are easy for little hands to grip, or you may spend all your waking hours picking teethers up off the floor.
6. Ease of Cleaning
Of course, all your baby’s toys willend up on the floor at some point – or on the dog, or in the trash can, or in the toilet bowl… the possibilities are remarkably endless once baby becomes mobile! Don’t worry, it happens to even the best of parents. Plan ahead by opting for teethers that are easily cleaned. Many are dishwasher safe, like both the Ike & Leo products linked above. Simply pop them into the dishwasher, using the antibacterial cycle if you have one, and you can be assured your baby’s teethers will be germ-free and good as new once again.
7. Freezer Safe
Cold teethers can really help you level-up your gum-soothing game, so look for teether toys that are safe to refrigerate or freeze. You won’t want to let them get hard enough to injure baby’s gums, but that is unlikely to happen if you’ve opted for a silicone teether, as recommended above, because they will remain soft even when cold.
When a teether is textured, your baby gets the ultimate gum massage! Look for several different textures to provide her with some variety. Every baby is different and yours will probably learn quickly which textures best soothe her aching gums. These Teething Trees from Ike & Leo are a great option, as they’re easy to hold, freezer-friendly and offer lots of textures to choose from.
9. Engaging Colors
Three-to-four months is both the age when many babies begin teething, and when most can begin to see a full array of colors, too. This means that colorful teethers will be the most engaging to your baby’s growing mind, while providing visual stimulation that doctors say is necessary for infant brain development. What’s better than a toy that can soothe and teach at the same time.
If you’ve followed the guidelines above and your little one simply isn’t getting much use out of his current teething toys, it may be time to try a different variety. Babies’ tastes can be just as unique as adults’, and using teether toys truly is the best way to survive the teething years. Hang in there with your high-maintenance tot until you find the perfect, functional teether, and you’ll both be happier for it.
Teething can be a challenging time for both babies and parents and, unfortunately, it can last for quite a while. Take the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics and invest in a teether to help your little one help himself. Ike & Leo teethers meet all ten guidelines above, and they’re baby loved and mom approved. Give them a try today!