Teething is no fun. For anyone. But before you grab that OTC numbing cream or plastic teether, think twice about what you’re putting in your baby’s mouth. “You should avoid any gels that include benzocaine,” says Dr. Lawrence Rosen, founder of the Whole Child Center (one of the country’s first green and integrative pediatric practices), and co-author of Treatment Alternatives for Children. “It’s a topical numbing agent linked to a rare but very serious blood disorder,” he explains. “Plus, many OTC teething gels contain artificial dyes and flavorings or sweeteners.” Instead, Rosen recommends a water-based homeopathic remedy like Boiron’s Camilia. He also suggests a cold washcloth or non-toxic teethers—and shuns the age-old method of rubbing whisky on sore gums.
To that end, we like the wooden teething toys from Little Alouette (check out the silly moustache, $12) and Little Sapling Toys (also $12). You can also try chewbeads’ silicon teething jewelry, the animal-themed, organic velour teething blankets by Dandelion, $14.99 (babies like chewing on the ears and tail knots), and of course, Sophie the Giraffe ($22.99). Ergobaby makes organic teething pads for babies who chew on carrier straps ($16); and the OrganicSmart by Leachco Easy Teether lets your little one safely gnaw on crib rails—it’s made with 100 percent organic cotton ($22.36).