Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Green Baby Series: Teethers and pacifiers

Somehow, anything and everything goes into an infant’s mouth. At 18 months, my son is even worse! Seriously, he eats dog food on a regular basis, and if I’m not looking he will suck down a tube of diaper rash cream, toothpaste, or hand sanitizer. I’ve pulled batteries, coins, gum, and who knows what else out of his mouth. For the things I can control, I try to stay as natural as possible!

There are plenty of arguments about whether or not to give your baby a pacifier in the first place, and I really like the view from this article. The AAP does say that giving a sleeping infant a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS, which is a big benefit in my eyes. However, I think the lines that surrounds SIDS are a little blurred, so don't feel guilty if you decide not to give your child a pacifier for whatever personal reason. I personally chose to give my son a pacifier around two months old, before we switched to co sleeping, and my son is almost weaned at 18 months. (Almost! He would have been weaned already if it wasn’t for getting sick!) I chose Jollypop pacifiers (previously Hawaii medical) because they seemed to harbor fewer germs with the one piece design. At the time, I didn't even think of looking for a more green choice because I really didn’t think that there would be one. But of course there is a natural choice: Natursutten pacifiers are made with natural rubber. They are expensive, but we survived with only two pacifiers at a time with Caden and only had to replace those once because of wear and tear. I'll definitely choose these with my next child if we decide to use pacifiers.

Chances are, you have had many family members recommend orajel for your child's sore gums (in addition to plenty of crazy old remedies). I personally decided to stay away from orajel because I was afraid of numbing my son's gag reflexes, but with a quick Google search, I found a better reason for steering away: according to the FDA, benzocaine can cause a disease called methemoglobinemia that causes dangerously low oxygen levels. You can read more about the symptoms and concerns in this article from the FDA. As a disclaimer, the children's Orajel box does say that it is intended for children age 2 and up.

Tylenol almost always does the trick, but it is not natural in any way, and it increases the risk of developing asthma if given in the first year, something I wasn't aware of until a few months ago. However, I don't believe this study does much more than provide a link between something we give our children (as a society) and a growing health concern, but that is just my opinion.

The solution- Stock up on teethers! One of our family favorites is Sophie the Giraffe because she is made with 100% natural rubber and food paint. Around 6 months old, Caden would go to town chewing on her feet while they squeaked against his gums. Caden's all time favorite teether was actually his Nuby Silicone teether with bristles. This one stays soft in the freezer and can reach to the molars. Opinions on silicone differ, so this might be something you want to do your own research on.

I know a lot of mom's swear by Hylands teething tablets and Camilla teething liquid, but we only had mediocre results with Camilla and never tried Hylands. Orajel also has a natural teething gel that is actually made with homeopathic ingredients. We have used it a few times, and I’ve noticed a tiny difference, but at this age it is really hard to get it on my son’s gums. Either he clamps down his lips or he sucks it right off my finger before I can get it to the right place. Some people also swear by amber teething necklaces, but I just haven’t been comfortable enough allowing my son to wear a necklace when I’m not looking at him 24/7.

Are there any other natural teething remedies that you use with your child?

I hope you stop by next Tuesday for a post all about feeding our little ones!

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