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How to Choose a Baby Teether

Published February 01, 2011        by Sarah

Image by kspsycho83 on FlickrMost people wonder what the use of a teether is. Until they see a teething baby. Then it becomes clear. Babies need to chew on things. It’s part of how they learn about their world. It’s also a soothing way for them to get through the difficult process of cutting new teeth. Chewing on something will help their aching gums to feel better.

You can find teethers of every shape and size. Today’s teethers often come in shapes that look so much like regular toys you’d never guess that they even are teethers. But some of the best teethers are liquid filled. They are great because you can freeze them in the freezer. When baby chews on the cold ring or shape, the iciness is just enough to soothe the pain of teething. The liquid inside is harmless and it is designed to withstand constant biting. They are washable and refreezable, so they are perfect.

Choose a teether that will be easy for baby to handle. Chubby little fingers need objects that are easy to grab, like a ring. If it’s too heavy or bulky, baby won’t be able to pick it up. Check the safety of the teether before giving it to your baby. Make sure it has no BPAs, the harmful material in some plastic. Make sure any paint or coating is non-toxic and can’t chip off. Also, check where the teether is made and whether it is up to snuff on U.S. regulations for safety. Be careful with any from overseas that may not have to adhere to the same standards to be sold.

Teething toys actually help baby’s brain to develop. They will encourage baby to check out his environment, explore, and exhibit curiosity towards objects. These are all great ways for him to develop ideas about the world around him.

You can get soft or hard teethers and either solid or liquid filled teethers. Try a few different kinds to see which your baby prefers. It may be that one day he prefers to chew on a teether blanket and the next day he’s grabbing for a gel-filled one. It’s fine to alternate as long as each choice is proven safe for use with babies.

The age that your child may start noticing and wanting a teether can vary. Some babies want them at eight months and others later. It depends a lot on when he gets his first teeth and how fast his teeth come in. If it’s very painful for him to teethe, he may want to chew on a teether all day. Those are times when you can ask your pediatrician whether it’s ok to give him something like Anbesol to soothe his gums.

Teethers are great for distracting babies, helping to alleviate tooth pain, and allowing babies another tool for exploring their world. Choose a teether based on the style you like as well as what baby seems to gravitate towards. There’s always a new model coming out and you'll have plenty to choose from.

If you are giving a teether as a baby gift, ask the parents what kind she might like or buy a few types so the parents can experiment with the different textures and brands.