Babies tend to examine and explore everything they see by putting it into their mouth. But sometimes, especially when teething, they really need to have something to put between their gums. Teethers or teething toys help a baby soothe painful or irritated gums when a baby is teething. A teething toy can help occupy a baby and distract him or her from the discomfort of erupting teeth and tender gums. Since it goes right into the mouth of the baby, it is but pertinent for parents to exercise utmost care in choosing such toys.
What Sort of Teethers to Pick
Teethers can be made of wood, plastic, rubber and come in a dazzling array of shapes, colors and types. Ideally pick a teether than a baby will find easy to hold and grasp and which is also of a size that baby can easily put into the mouth. Look for a tough, well made teething toy that will not break, chip so there is no danger of the baby swallowing any part of it. Pick a teether that is not abrasive but which has a surface that will soothe irritated gums.
A rattler cum teether is a good idea too. Baby will find it amusing to look at and wave around, enjoying the sound that it makes. When bored with waving it around, your baby will resort to sucking, biting and chewing.
Water filled teethers are a very popular option since they provide some amount of cushioning to the chew toy. Also they can be cooled in the fridge or freezer – many babies find that the cold numbs the gums, soothing the pain and irritation.
What to Avoid
Teethers should be large enough not to pose any kind of choking hazard. They should also be free of toxic chemicals such as phthalates and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Pick teethers that are good quality, tough and durable. Very complex teethers with nooks and crannies may be difficult to clean and could harbor bacteria; they are best avoided.
You can get a little creative and make some perfectly adequate teethers right at home with everyday objects. Some parents find that freezing a clean, wet washcloth and then offering it to baby works wonderfully well as a teether.
A carrot stick (frozen or at room temperature) is something else that parents recommend. It’s nutritious too! Similarly a frozen banana or a frozen bagel or a teething biscuit could also work perfectly well to help soothe baby.
You do however have to be careful that baby doesn’t bite off a piece and choke on any of these homemade teethers.