Cranky Babies & Teething Blues: Help Is Here!

It’s a natural part of life and we all have to go through it, but teething isn’t something toddlers deal with very well and every parent braces themselves for when “it’s time”. It can be quite painful with some suffering more than others, their young gums haven’t had a chance to toughen up yet and the sensation of cutting teeth is new to them.

ToysHere are a few home remedies to help ease the discomfort and the result may be both you and your baby get some well-needed rest ;).

Keep in mind that there are commercial items you can buy such as topical gels, tablets and baby Tylenol that can help dull the pain, but consult your doctor or pharmacist first for recommendations and ask for what risks (if any) they may pose.

First, how to tell if teething is the problem…


  • Cranky and irritable
  • Gums are red and swollen (especially where tooth is coming through)
  • Fever
  • Chewing on fingers and toys
  • More drool than usual
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Redness or rash on cheeks or chin
  • Congestion
  • Sore ears
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loose stool or mild diarrhea


  • Wash your hands well then rub your finger along the gums, massage them slowly but firmly.
  • Soak a clean washcloth in water and freeze then let them chew on it. The cold will numb the pain. If that doesn’t work, try soaking a cloth in chamomile tea and then freeze.
  • A common recommendation is to give the baby a frozen piece of food such as a waffle, bagel, carrot stick or popsicle but these can be a choking hazard if pieces aren’t large enough or chunks break off, do so only with close supervision.
  • Freeze chewing toys and have them at the ready for when trouble starts making an appearance.
  • Have them sip on cold water or juice, the coolness will soothe the mouth.
  • Chilled metal spoons can offer relief when the toddler chews on them, but only give this to a child while they’re closely supervised, sitting and buckled in (high chair or car seat). A tipsy toddler can fall forward or trip shoving the spoon deep into the mouth and cause serious injury.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 drop of clove oil then massage onto gums. Clove oil is a natural analgesic but it’s too strong for youngsters if used full strength (will burn), make sure to dilute in olive oil first.

Notice a trend in this list? Chilled items work well, even feeding your child spoonfuls of chilled yogurt or pudding can help. Keep a tub of washcloths and rubber rings in the freezer so you’ll always have one ready during troublesome moments.

What about brandy? Rubbing brandy or other alcohol along the gums is an old wives remedy used for many decades but it is now recognized as unsafe to use on youngsters and no longer advised or recommended.

If your child is suffering for long periods of time and the above remedies don’t help, consult your doctor for a commercial product as advised above. If you have a tried-and-true that isn’t mentioned here, please share in the comments below (a desperate mom or dad will surely be grateful for the tips).

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What Readers Are Saying: 6 Comments
  1. annie says:

    Just want to say something about the teething gel as for baby orajel I am not a fan of using this and it worries me for the babies a woman I know used this on her son it made his gums tough and he had problems teething he was almost two before his first tooth came in if you do use this I would recommend massageing it in so it can help the tooth come in also I’m concerned about if some gets in the babies throat numbs it and they strangle on their salvia I may be a worry wort to say but I work with babies and never advise that gel to use for any of my parents all of them use the frozen cloth or teething rings

  2. Erin says:

    Should also mention that, until you know the signs well enough to be sure it’s teething, check with your doctor to confirm the cause – ear infections have many of the same symptoms.

  3. Jessie says:

    i was told to take a old recieveing blanket cut in squares (hankerchif size) then take a pice of bread cut off the crust spread butter on both sides (a small amount) sprinkle sugar on it then wrap in the cloth square use a rubberband to fasten. put in a ziploc bag and throw in the fridge or freezer till you need them. before you give to baby wet it a small bit so the sugar seeps through. give to baby and watch them enjoy 🙂 the cloth helps massage the gum so the tooth can come through.

  4. Jan says:

    Annie, I think you might be worrying unnecessarily. There was a recent study about teething gels with benzocaine being very dangerous, and I will not give that to my twins, but Orajel Naturals is made with cloves and should be safe. My girls really don’t like it so I stopped giving it to them, but they love Hyland’s teething gel. I rub a dot on their gums, so there is no risk of them choking on it, and I give them two Hyland’s teething tablets under the tongue. These are homeopathic, very safe and work wonders!

  5. Danielle says:

    Humphrey’s teething tablets or homeopathic chamomile has worked for me. I have used baby orajel for a few as a last resort for extreme cases when the baby is screaming in pain and it’s two in the morning and nothing else is working.

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