baby proof: teething.

July 30, 2015

baby proof: teething | reading my tea leavesWar and Teeth.

Love in the Time of Teething.

A Tale of Two Teeth.

That a novel based solely on the tumult of teething hasn’t made into our literary canon can only mean that the great writers didn’t spend nearly enough time with teething humans. Surely even a novella would offer comfort to bleary eyed parents. Reading the dramatic arc of someone else’s struggle to soothe a puffy gummed human would assuage doubts of one’s own parental failings and offer reassurance that one’s sweet baby did not indeed become irrevocably possessed in the middle of the night. Or, if there was no questioning that that did indeed happen, that the parent would at least not feel alone in the struggle.

Last night the waking hours began with a long mournful cry that surely woke the neighbors in the highrise across the street to say nothing of the neighbors directly below us. It wasn’t the usual sort of cry, pitiful and whimpering. It was a howl. A head-thrown-back wail turned into a croaky yawp. Faye’s tiny fists gripped the crib rails and her shock of sweaty hair was knotted into an unruly pompadour above her face, clearly beet red even without the light turned on to confirm.

That we’re currently enduring a New York City heatwave wasn’t helping matters. In the semi-darkness that’s a city living room with only sheer curtains, I walked our girl to the freezer where I commenced to partake in the most necessary and least environmentally trick in the book. I opened the freezer drawer and literally stuck her inside, balancing her enormous cloth-diapered bottom on the fridge door.
baby proof: teething | reading my tea leaves
She clung to my neck and cracked a smile when she spotted the bag of frozen blueberries on the fridge door. She began to oooh in spite of herself. And so despite the hour, which was wee, we sat on the apartment floor together and ate frozen berries. I mama-birded tiny bites of frozen strawberries and wiped her back and my own neck with a cool cloth.

When Faye’d had enough of the berries, we returned to the freezer and wrestled a frozen blue fish teether from underneath the ice trays. The teether is a recent aquisition—along with fancy mayonnaise and sour cherry compote—gained from my sister Cait emptying her fridge before her move cross-country. It worked wonders last night though on other nights we’ve had similar luck with frozen cloths for sucking and chilled rubber spatulas. We’ve tried homeopathic tablets which seem to do more to make us feel proactive than anything else, but I’ll take it. I haven’t yet embraced my full hippie parentdom and gone for the amber necklace, but I haven’t ruled it out either.

Mostly, I’ve found that taking a minute to go all in helps the most. On nights when a tooth is working its way up through those tender gums, I’ve found that embracing the fact that it won’t be business as usual helps me about a million times more than trying to pretend otherwise. Frozen strawberries on the middle of the floor in the middle of the night? You betcha. As my Dad would say, “We do what we do.”

And as far as the next great teething novel? Here’s my vote for Zen and the Art of Teething in a Heatwave.

Just this week, Courtney posed the same question on Instagram, and there’s some good advice there, but if you have teething tricks or tips up your sleeves, in the name of love and wisdom, let us know in the comments.

More posts about baby stuff, HERE.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jessica July 30, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I haven't had to try them yet, as my babies are only 3 months, but I do own a bracelet. I mean, at least they look good…

  • Reply Katie July 30, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    My son is one week younger than your daughter and has all but two of his teeth. The cold rubber spatula is a smart one. He preferred cold mushy things to swirl in his mouth – applesauce and yogurt – rather than biting anything frozen. And if I could I would buy stock in Little Remedies acetaminophen. None of the dye or junk of the bigger brands and the berry taste he enjoyed. Cheapest I've found is a 2-pack at Target for 9.99. If I give it to him at bedtime and naptime he falls asleep easier, and if he wakes in pain, nursing will usually get him back to sleep. He also wears an amber necklace, but like you said, I think it's more for my mental ease than doing much to help him. Good luck – teething is a bear. Love your blog.

  • Reply netanya July 30, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Oh man those amber necklaces…making little babies looks like homies everywhere. Seriously though I looked into those to see if there was actually any truth or science to them, and all I found were doctors saying they are more of a choking hazard than anything else. Yikes!

  • Reply nicanon July 30, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Hilarious, I went from googling teething tablets to read through my blog roll. We started teething 2 nights ago. What a pleasant time. Haha. Cucumber sticks today. Heaven sent.

  • Reply Nancy Cavillones July 30, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    In my family, all the babies start teething at 4 months and have a full set of teeth by their first birthdays. Remedies: cold pickles, and a little booze swiped onto the gums–whiskey works well!

  • Reply Anonymous July 31, 2015 at 1:15 am

    What worked well for my two was slices of lemons. Apparently the citrus helps the gum peel away from the tooth, as well as numbing it, and because their tastebuds haven't fully developed, the flavour doesn't bother them. The rinds are good for chewing, too. Literally, a cm thick round (or half slice, but they don't last long enough!) in their paw and watch them chew away. You could probably refrigerate for extra comfort, too. Good luck! I remember those days!! XKate

  • Reply Elysabeth Ratto July 31, 2015 at 1:32 am

    We received an amber necklace as a gift and in a fit of sleepless desperation, we pulled out all the guns: amber necklace, homeopathic tablets, frozen silicone teethers, you name it. I have no idea if any of it worked, but it didn't hurt. So there's that. 🙂 Good luck, mama!

  • Reply Anahid July 31, 2015 at 1:49 am

    Oof, teething is tough stuff. You've got our main bases covered, with frozen berries, teething tablets (I know it's supposed to be hooey, but they work so well to help my little guy calm down and sleep), and that general go-with-the-flow attitude. And cold brew for mama? Cold brew for mama helps too.

  • Reply Miina July 31, 2015 at 6:18 am

    Y'know, if I'm ever going to be a mama, your posts will be a lot of help. I like your attitude 🙂

  • Reply Sally July 31, 2015 at 7:36 am

    celery! its cold front the fridge or freezer and has a bumpy texture! it also apparently has analgesic properties i don't know but it works for us anyway!

  • Reply thefolia July 31, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Poor little love! A growing pain that they won't remember, but boy does it bite when it occurs. Growing up in my family, it was Metaxa on the gums…yikes…I even heard of a pediatrician recommending it, but I am weary about such an easy fix. The heat combination is what make it the worst but frozen berries…I think you have the best idea…sweet painfree dreams to all!

  • Reply emma summer July 31, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    my second is almost 6 months and I find myself bemoaning the fact that we have to do ANOTHER 20 TEETH. didn't we already suffer enough? I remember seriously considering throwing myself a party when my daughter's last molar came in. yes to everything you've tried (and your attitude about it), but also: clove oil. you can dilute a little clove essential oil in any edible carrier oil and it's just topically numbing. try it on your own gums first! safe and effective. good luck 🙂

  • Reply tarynkay August 5, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Frozen mini-bagels worked wonders. They absorb the drool as they thaw and the baby gnaws on them, so less mess than frozen berries. Obviously watch her closely with those. We did the all natural orajel, too- it's basically chamomile goo. I don't know if the jel did anything, or if it was more the gentle gum massage. My grandma did whiskey on our gums, but I chose not to keep up that family tradition.

    The amber necklaces are definitely a placebo. And a choking hazard.

  • Reply Kate August 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I don't have any of my own babes, but I have plenty experience babysitting a teething little. I always use what my mother did for me: a cold, wet, terrycloth washcloth wrapped around my index finger. The texture is abrasive without being too rough and the index finger is chewy enough to sink little gums into, but doesn't deteriorate like food.

  • Reply heather August 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    not going to lie…my daughter has worn the amber teething necklace since she was 3 months old (currently 22 months) and we've never ever had an issue. (she's going on 16 teeth…)

  • Reply Karishma October 12, 2015 at 7:05 am

    In Australia – we tend to use Brauer – Baby & Child Teething as a natural option. I’ve tried just about everything, frozen orange bits, panadol, frozen cloth – yet to try the amber teething necklace though. He has his moments, last week was hellish. Thanks so much for talking about how you remind yourself it won’t be business as usual. I start thinking “oh gawd, is it going to be like this forever”… Will do what I need to do 🙂 x

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.