Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Teething Babies and Age-Old Remedies

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Great news to report! I finished my recent book by the deadline and got it submitted to my editor on time. I also decided the weekend of the deadline would be a good weekend to install new floors in the upper level of our home. Well, God must have been working overtime for us, as we accomplished both. Of course, the children were at their grandparents for the weekend, so that helped considerably. :)

And speaking of children, it's no secret that I am a mother of young ones. They are now 4 and 2, and it wasn't too long ago that I dealt with the teething phase. In fact, my youngest recently got in his 2nd set of molars. And since I'm a historical author, each time new experiences happen with my children, I think about what those living in the 1800's would have done. We all know the issues that plague us today aren't new to those who have gone before us.

Even some of the remedies have remained the same.

Teething is one part of an infant's life that all parents and babies must endure. Take a look at some of these tried and true solutions and see if they might sound a little familiar:

# Rub your baby's gums. Use a clean finger, moistened gauze pad or damp washcloth to massage your baby's gums. The pressure can ease your baby's discomfort.

# Offer a teething toy made of firm rubber. If a bottle seems to do the trick, fill it with water. Prolonged contact with sugar from formula, milk or juice may cause tooth decay.

# A drop or two of whiskey or brandy. Alcohol is an anesthetic. Putting it on gums makes the gums feel numb, but the duration isn't long. It is a temporary relief and not recommended repeatedly for a long duration of time due to the baby's delicate constitution.

# Keep it cool. A cold washcloth can be soothing. Don't give your baby anything that's frozen, however. Contact with extreme cold may hurt, doing your baby more harm than good. If your baby's eating solid foods, offer cold items such as applesauce or oatmeal mixed with cold water.

# Dry the drool. Excessive drooling is part of the teething process. To prevent skin irritation, keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby's chin. You may want to lay a clean cloth under your baby's head while he or she sleeps to keep the sheet dry.

# Try herbs. A mixture of ginger, fennel and chamomile helps settle an upset stomach, but it also provides relief to swollen and sore gums.

Seems like some remedies have passed the test of time and are still in use today. Like the old adage says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Except for perhaps the whiskey, though some might still try that today. :)

Oh, and as for the doctor...if one is near enough to come calling or to visit, teething can usually be handled at home. Call the doctor only if your baby develops a fever, seems particularly uncomfortable, or has other signs or symptoms of illness. Remember, teething doesn't cause fever, colds or diarrhea.

So, there you have it. Advice from our great-great-grandparents that's still full of wisdom even today.

Here's another one for babies:

Once a baby's teeth come in and they begin to bite while nursing, pinch their nose lightly when they bite. As they are still primarily nose-breathers, if you cut off their air flow, they break contact to catch their breath. A few times of this and they'll realize that biting isn't the way to go.

Ok, your turn...

What "age-old" remedies have YOU used that might have been passed down from generation to generation through your family or friends you've known? It can be related to anything, not just babies. You never know, what you share just might help someone reading this post and looking for solutions. So, start the chatter!

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author, speaker, and virtual assistant, who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold fourteen books so far and is represented by Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary Agency. Read more about her at her web site: http://www.amberstockton.com.


  1. a fresh slice of onion pressed against a wasp or bee sting draws out the pain and swelling. Go ahead. Strap a fat slice on with medical adhesive tape and keep it on for an hour or two. it works. And you might want to have a nice tomato sandwich (with a fresh slice) after smelling that onion!

  2. My great-granny had a treatment for earaches that my mother used on me and I used on my own boys. She filled a sock with cornmeal and warmed it in the oven then placed it over the aching ear. She kept two filled so that one was warm and the other warming ready to replace the first one as it got cold. I went to sleep many an afternoon and night with a warm cornmeal sock over my ear. It really worked and I was thankful that I remembered when our oldest boy had ear problems from birth. The warmth always soothed him. My great-granny was born in 1856.

  3. An icy cold washcloth for stomach aches--not sure where I got it from, my mom or grandma, but it does calm an upset stomach.

  4. When my son was little, other mothers told me not to pay attention to some of things doctors say. Such as "Teething babies don't get a fever". I found that my son did, and never mentioned to the doctor. We did just fine.

  5. Petite frozen green peas worked with my kids once they were highchair safe. I'd rinse a few under the cold water tap and sprinkle some in the tray. They'd roll them around one at a time in their mouth which softened them to eat. Helped a lot.

  6. I like reading about old remedies. For us it was a little shot of whiskey (Rock & Rye) for a cough - to sleep thru the night. Worked like a charm every time!
    Great post. :)
    Susan P