Teething is one of those stages that’s probably just as uncomfortable for parents as it is for their baby.
While cutting teeth is a major milestone that every baby goes through, the first few teeth tend to be the most painful — not to mention the most memorable for parents as they try to soothe their fussy babes.
As your baby looks for sweet relief from new-tooth pain, they’ll want to bite and gnaw to soothe their irritated gums. Your little one might start reaching for dangerous household objects — or your hands or shoulders, ouch! — and teething toys are a great and safe alternative.
So, we’re rounding up some of the most effective products on the market to put an end to those teething tears.
If you’re a first-time parent, you might wonder when your baby will begin to get their first few sets of teeth.
Most babies get their lower central incisors first between 6 and 10 months of age, followed by their upper central incisors, which appear between 8 to 12 months.
Even if you’re used to your baby’s fussiness, teething can feel like a whole new ballgame.
You’ll most likely notice a few specific symptoms that let you know that they’re teething:
- chewing on items
- crankiness and irritability
- sore and swollen gums
- excessive drooling
Is fever a symptom?
It’s a common misconception that a child can have a fever in association with teething. There’s actually no scientific evidence to support this idea, so if your child has a rectal temperature higher than 100.4°F (38°C), this could be a sign that they’re truly ill (and teething isn’t the underlying cause).
While most people think that teethers are only necessary for the first few sets of teeth, the molar eruption can also be very painful. So, don’t be surprised if you find that your baby needs a teether again when their molars begin to appear around 13 months.
While there are plenty of safe ways to ease your baby’s teething pain, there are also a lot of bad practices that shouldn’t be used.
Always inspect your teether
Considering how much gnawing and biting a baby can do, some teethers may not stand the test of time. Always inspect the surface of your baby’s teether for tears and if you find them, throw it away. A broken teether can become a choking hazard.
Chill, don’t freeze
A cold teether can be very refreshing for a teething baby. But experts agree that you should chill your teethers in your refrigerator rather than freezing them. This is because when frozen, the teether can be too hard and end up damaging your child’s gums. It can also damage the durability of the toy.
Avoid teething jewelry
While these are a popular category that many parents swear by,
Keep a bib close by
Babies are drooly, but it’s doubly true when they’re teething. All of that saliva can create skin irritations. So, when your baby is teething, keep a bib on hand to wipe up the excess dribble.
Even if this isn’t your first time as a parent, you want a teether that’s going to last through your child’s dental milestones from their first tooth to their final molar.
To create our list, we focused on durability, how easily a teether could be cleaned, cost, and design.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$15
- $$$ = over $15
Best overall teether
Hands down one of the most popular baby teethers that continues to delight parents and babies is Sophie La Girafe.
The teething material is made entirely from 100 percent natural rubber which is gentler on baby’s gums. Plus, thanks to Sophie’s long legs and chewy ears, there’s plenty to keep your baby occupied.
Best natural teether
If you’re concerned about your teether’s content, an all-natural toy is the way to go. This teether is made from 100 percent natural plant-based rubber and is free from BPA or PVC.
Reviewing parents love that the teether features multiple grips, giving their children plenty of holding spots. But for some parents and babies, the natural rubber smell may be too intense and can be amplified as it gets wet.
Best teether for molars
Not all teethers are designed to easily reach those back molars that can be especially painful. This teether from Baby Elefun is perfect for multiple stages of teething because it has five textures and bristles, giving your baby plenty of options when it comes to soothing their sore gums.
This option is made from 100 percent food-grade silicone that’s BPA-free and has a large open center to ensure that baby maintains a solid grip. Parents appreciated that it could be quickly cleaned and sanitized in hot water, the microwave, or the dishwasher.
Best cooling teether
A cooling teether can go a long way toward soothing your baby’s sore gums.
This set of teether keys from Nûby features three gel-filled “keys” that are meant to be kept in your refrigerator until your baby needs them. Designed for ages 3 months and older, parents like the easy grip handle and the multisurface texture that’s ideal for front, middle, and back teeth.
Best multipurpose teether
If your baby’s teeth are coming in, you’re also about to enter a new phase of dental hygiene. The Baby Banana pulls double duty as a teether and your child’s first attempt at using a toothbrush.
The gentle massaging brush head soothes gums and later works to keep those new chompers pearly white. And the cute banana peel handles give your little one something to securely hold on to as they bite down on the brush head.
Best teether treat
As we mentioned before, a traditional teether shouldn’t be kept in the freezer. But there’s an exception to this rule: Ices are a great way to soothe your baby’s mouth without posing a risk to their gums.
Parents love the teetherpop because they can fill it with breast milk, water, or even juice to create a sweet treat that gives your baby some comfort.
Intended for ages 6 months and older, it’s made from food-grade silicone and is BPA and latex-free. Plus, the safety cap has four small holes that allow the melted liquid to flow through for less mess.
Best teething mitt
Teething mitts are a great alternative if you’re tired of constantly retrieving lost or dropped teethers every 2 minutes. The Itzy Ritzy Teething Mitt stays put once wrapped around your baby’s hand and works to engage their senses as well as provide much-needed relief.
The fabric portion is designed with crinkly material that makes noise, and the colorful food-grade silicone is textured for gum relief. Parents love that you can choose from seven adorable styles and that this is a machine-washable teether.
Best wooden teether
Some parents prefer vintage-style toys for their babies. In that case, this 11-piece set of wooden teethers from Promise Babe will give you that retro vibe you’re looking for.
The fun shapes will keep babies engaged while you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing exactly what your baby is chewing on. However, keep in mind that these are all smooth textured, so you may not find them as effective as some other options in our guide.
Best teether for your budget
Many times, teethers only come in single-piece packaging, meaning you’ll probably need to buy multiple to last throughout your baby’s teething. But this five-pack set of fruit teethers from Lideemo is a great economical choice.
Parents also like that you get two additional clip loops so you can avoid constantly chasing dropped or thrown fruit.
Dr. Brown’s is another household name that’s a fan favorite among parents because many of their products are designed with the support of pediatric dentists.
This adorable watermelon wedge teether is easy for tiny hands to hold, making it great for babies as young as 3 months. Plus, it can be chilled in your refrigerator for a cool treat for irritated gums. It’s also top-rack dishwasher safe.
Most parents find that babies tend to have a favorite. So, when you’re first shopping for a teether, it’s a good idea to pick a few to give yourself (and your baby) some options.
Also, keep the following features in mind as you test out teethers:
No one wants to buy a teether that needs to be replaced a month later. Look for teethers made of sturdy silicone, rubber, or wood that won’t fall apart after a few uses.
Keep in mind, babies can be rough with teethers because they’re trying to soothe their gums.
Considering that a teether spends a lot of time in your child’s mouth, you want to make sure that cleaning and sterilizing a teether doesn’t become an impossible task. In our guide, we featured several options that were dishwasher safe, could be sterilized with steam in a microwave, or boiled.
In general, most teethers are affordable toys. While we did include a few splurge options, on the whole you should be able to stock up on this essential baby item without breaking the bank.
How easily can your baby grip a teether? Are there enough textures that can soothe their gums? Are the pieces too big for them to chew down on the toy? These are all important features to keep in mind.
A teether is an essential item for any parent of a small baby.
Teething can be a rough time for babies and parents, but you can make life easier by finding a teether that can be easily cleaned, is durable enough to last through your baby’s entire first round of tooth eruptions, and keeps them engaged.