Learn what to look for in natural, non-toxic teething toys as well as materials to avoid.
These days, it seems I’m constantly trying to keep things — like sand at the beach or books on the bedside table — out of Wilder Baby’s mouth. (At mealtime, he is a healthy, adventurous eater. His current favorite meal is my favorite green smoothie.) Although I miss his gummy grin, it’s fun to see his sweet new smile emerge with each new tooth.
From swollen gums and excessive drooling to irritability and slight fevers, teething isn’t fun for babies. Thankfully, both of my boys’ teeth have come in without much fuss, so far. Nevertheless, I like to offer them natural, non-toxic teethers in various shapes and textures to make for a gentler, more pleasant teething transition.
Materials to Avoid
As you’ll see, I suggest choosing safe, high-quality teething toys made from natural, biodegradable materials. At baby showers and birthday parties, well-intentioned family and friends may choose to gift your little one with more mainstream toys. You’re going to end up with more toys than you want, so here are a few points to keep in mind when deciding whether to keep them.
Plastic teethers are the biggest offenders when it comes to BPA (which has been linked to neurological problems and may mimic estrogen) and PVC (which can contain toxic phthalates and heavy metals).
Latex, not to be confused with natural rubber, can cause allergies and be contaminated with carcinogens.
Paints and varnishes could contain lead, so look for those with water and plant-based pigments.
Many stuffed toys are made with petroleum-based foam filling and some are treated with flame retardant chemicals, which have no place in the toy basket or baby’s mouth.
Silicone is manufactured with chemicals that can leach. If you choose to go this route, look for teethers made from food-grade silicone.
Natural, Non-Toxic Baby Teething Toys
Natural rubber teething toys are flexible and easy to grip. Harvested from plants, most commonly the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, natural rubber is a renewable resource with antibacterial properties.
Solid untreated wood teethers can effectively relieve teething discomfort. Like natural rubber, wood is naturally antibacterial. Look for wooden teething toys that are unfinished or created with a non-toxic, vegetable-based or 100% beeswax finish.
Organic cloth teething toys are soft and soothing, which can be especially helpful for sore gums. Natural fabrics like organic cotton and hemp are safe and snuggly.
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My boys are big fans of the Under the Nile plush veggie toys. When it comes to chewing, I’ve noticed that Wilder Baby tends to reach for one of his Oli&Carol natural rubber toys, which are great for teething and bath time. Talk about good, clean fun! You can find these natural, non-toxic teething toys at baby boutique sites like Rose & Rex.
On that note, I do not advise letting kids play with the original Sophie the giraffe in the bath, since it has a hole that can trap moisture. Some parents have discovered a mold problem in this popular toy.
At the end of the day, a washcloth fresh from the freezer can work wonders. You could also try ice in a baby sock (just be sure to supervise), as Alicia Silverstone recommends in one of my favorite books, The Kind Mama.
Hope you found this post helpful!
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