The “teething stage” ranks right up near the top of the most challenging periods a new mom faces during her baby’s first years. Much like the first few months with a colicky baby, those teething times often mean that the mom’s miserable because her baby is in pain, and no one is getting any rest. In an effort to get some relief, some parents unknowingly put their babies at risk with over-the-counter medications or folk remedies.
Even for those who don’t use dangerous medications, it can be tempting to hand your child a sugary popsicle to numb the pain, but that’s not really the best substance to introduce to brand new teeth or to your baby’s digestive system. Instead, one of the best solutions for a teething toddler is breast milk popsicles.
So let’s take a look at different remedies and how to make breast milk popsicles for teething.
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Dangers of Over-The-Counter Teething Remedies
While teething is a normal part of your child’s life, it can be quite difficult for mom and baby. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), it is a painful time for infants and toddlers that can sometimes lead to parents and caregivers administering over-the-counter remedies that actually harm the child.
Topical medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, are not recommended by the USFDA for children. This includes gels, creams, and even homeopathic teething tablets. The FDA also warns against the use of Anbesol, Baby Orajel, Chloraseptic, and other products that contain benzocaine. Not only are they considered dangerous for the baby, but the saliva in the mouth rinses it away in seconds.
The use of these benzocaine products can cause serious or even fatal illnesses, such as a condition called methemoglobinemia. This condition severely reduces the ability of your red blood cells to carry oxygen. That’s not something you want to risk happening to your child for a few seconds of relief. There is also a chance of poisoning from teething medications with ingredients such as acetaminophen, as the CDC explains.
Teething Necklaces and Bracelets
The FDA also warns against the use of teething jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets that are marketed and sold as a remedy for teething pain. These products are also sold as sensory stimulation toys for older kids with special needs to distract them from chewing on other items.
The problem is that the beads on such jewelry pieces could be made with almost any material, including silicone, marble, wood, or amber. Teething rings made of hard plastic or rubber are not the same as teething jewelry. According to the FDA, the teething bracelets and necklaces could cause choking or strangulation hazards, as well as injury or infection in the baby’s mouth.
Folk Remedies for Teething
Throughout the years, people have tried many different things to soothe the teething pain of their babies. Before the 1800s, it was believed that teething was deadly for babies and could possibly cause seizures and death. American doctor Jacobi tried to quell this belief, yet it continued for some time.
By 1894, it was thought to be so severe that one doctor wrote, “So deadly has it become, that one-third of the human family die before the twenty deciduous teeth have fully appeared.” Sadly, it turned out that teething was not the cause of death in so many children, but instead, the remedies they used to try and relieve the baby’s pain. Syrups and concoctions made with alcohol and morphine were once among the most popular items in the home medicine cabinet.
The list of folk remedies for teething is exhaustive. What’s more unbelievable is that some of them are still practiced today. Thankfully, the most outrageous ideas seem to have stopped, such as lancing the gums, wearing wolf’s teeth, and rubbing a hare’s brain or minnows on the baby’s gums.
However, some old folk remedies still exist and carry some dangers. Giving the baby a cold vegetable such as a carrot, for example, could result in pieces of it lodging in the throat. Clove oil mixed with vegetable oil is also still used in many homes, yet it can burn or blister the inside of the mouth. Some parents may still give their children a cold, wet washcloth to chew on, despite the fact that it also carries a choking risk.
Why Use Frozen Breast Milk for Teething?
Most mothers are already aware of the benefits of breastfeeding for their babies. Not only does it provide an excellent source of nutrition for children, but it has been proven to also significantly reduce the risk of many illnesses for both babies and their moms.
The Center for Disease Control shares that most moms who want to breastfeed will stop early due to the lack of support they may face in both family and society. In an effort to alleviate this problem, the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity is working hard to increase breastfeeding rates throughout the United States.
The amazing qualities of breast milk make it one of the easiest decisions you could ever make for yourself and your child. Babies who are breastfed have lower risks of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, severe respiratory diseases, acute ear infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), gastrointestinal infections, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for preemies. In addition, breastfeeding moms can expect lowered risks of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
Knowing all of the risks and dangers of home remedies, folk remedies, and over-the-counter teething medications, and the benefits of breast milk, it is easy to see why frozen breast milk popsicles for teething are the obvious choice. It is just one of many ways to continue giving your child the benefits of breast milk even after they have been weaned. Let’s look at how to make breast milk popsicles for teething.
How to Make Frozen Breast Milk Teething Popsicles
Making teething popsicles from breast milk is actually quite easy.
Tools You Need to Make Breast Milk Popsicles
All you will need to make teething popsicles is fresh breast milk and popsicle molds suitable for your child’s age. You wouldn’t want to freeze the milk on a popsicle stick that a baby could choke on; however, it may be fine for toddlers.
Keep in mind that the breast milk should be fresh, not frozen, since re-freezing breast milk is not advised.
For babies, simply express your milk, pour it into the mold, and place it in the freezer.
Once frozen, you can rub the frozen breast milk along your baby’s painful gums.
If your baby is old enough to hold the popsicle, you can allow them to gnaw on the breast milk popsicle, but only with supervision, just in case chunks break off and pose a choking hazard.
If you are making them for a child that has been introduced to some solid foods, you can add those to the breast milk popsicle.
For example, adding fresh peaches, bananas, avocado, pear, berries, or other healthy fruits or veggies can increase the vitamins in your child’s diet.
However, make sure that it is a food that your child has tried before without a negative reaction.
If you decide to add solid foods such as fruits, vegetables, or baby food to your breast milk popsicle, simply throw these foods into a blender with your fresh breast milk.
Allow the blender to mix the ingredients until there are no solid chunks of food but only liquid. Once the mixture is well-blended, you can pour it into the popsicle molds and place it in the freezer.
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You can be creative about the shapes and sizes that you choose as long as you make sure that they are safe for your child’s age range.
When your child is in pain, it is easy to reach for the nearest thing you can find that will give them even a small bit of relief. This is instinctual for parents!
We don’t want to see our children suffer. However, it is important to be sure that what we are reaching for won’t ultimately cause them more harm than good.
Teething remedies from folklore, family antidotes passed down for generations, or even over-the-counter and prescription medications can be dangerous in many circumstances.
Giving your child a breast milk popsicle carries no risk as long as they are supervised to watch for choking.
We hope this article has helped explain the advantages of using frozen breast milk as a teething soother and given you ideas on making breast milk popsicles for it.
Feel free to look over our site for more informative posts on ways to keep your baby happy and healthy!