Fun Fact Friday – WEEK 166
Baby Teethers Were Once Made of Gold, but Modern Ones Vibrate!
There are hundreds and thousands of teethers available for your child.
So how do we know what one is best?
And what material is best?
And what shape is best?
We’ll cover this and more in today’s Fun Fact Friday whilst we delve into the world of baby teethers.
This week is the penultimate episode of our teething series. If you haven’t seen them all then check out the Fun Fact Friday Teething Series Playlist.
We’re finishing off the series looking at all the ways you can help a teething baby. Last week we took a look at the ones that require parental participation – such as giving medications and using topical rubs and amber. Unlike last week, this week you won’t be doing the work for them, as they’ll be able to to do it themselves with today’s tools – teethers.
The teethers of old were often made of wood or bone. That was unless you were wealthy. The teethers and teething toys of the wealthy would have been far more ornate and ostentatious. They were often made out of – or covered with – gold, silver, coral and mother of pearl.
Today’s parents have a far greater choice. The better ones are mostly made of wood, silicone and rubber. They come in virtually every conceivable shape you can imagine and some of them even vibrate! There are, quite literally, tonnes and tonnes of teethers and we’re going to give you a quick overview of those that are available today.
Wooden ones are generally considered the safest option. This is because they are naturally chemical and plastic free. They’re also great for those worried about their baby’s reaction to rubber or their consumption of plastic.
Silicone teethers are a man-made product and are considered dishwasher-safe. Natural rubber ones, however, should only be wiped clean. Natural rubber teethers come in as many, if not more styles, than the silicone ones and are often decorated with food grade or natural pigments.
Wooden teethers have remained popular, from simple wooden rings to more ornate wooden animals. You can even get dinosaurs and rockets!
Then there are the silicone ones. You can get silicone animals, silicone cookies and even a silicone chocolate bar.
If you’re not already spoilt for choice, then take a look at the selection of natural rubber teethers. They come in nearly every imaginable, baby related, shape you can think of. The two most popular categories being food and animals. Food ones include bananas, avocados, carrots, broccoli and kale. Amongst the animal ones you’ll find – “Lions and tigers and bears – OH MY” – crabs, flamingos, dinosaurs, geese and, probably the most popular animal to date, the giraffe – more specifically, Sophie the Giraffe.
Then, if you want to spice it up a bit in the teething department, how about a vibrating one. Whilst limited in the variety of shapes and styles you can get, some would suggest it’s a small compromise if your little one can get a massage at the same time. The great thing about these is that the baby controls the vibrating. Bite down in the right spot and voilà, a massage right where it’s needed!
Plastic teethers appear on nearly every sensory and plush baby toy. You can get rings to hold toys that double up as teethers too. You can also get fluid filled teethers that you can keep in the fridge. They help cool gums and adds an extra layer to a teether.
But, don’t think you can make them better by putting the fluid-filled teethers into the freezer. NEVER PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER! Their contents have the ability to retain sub-freezing temperatures far longer than you may think. They can, and have, caused to damage to babies gums.
When our little biter was teething, his favourite thing was often our fingers. In a bid to find something equally suitable I set to work scouring the internet for “finger-sized teething toys”. After a tiring, late-night search and many dead ends, I came across the Comotomo teether. It was finger sized! Whoop!
But, it was only available in the US, at the time, and shipping cost more than the teether.
We bit the “teether” and went for it. A week later and the package arrived – we were going to get our fingers back. We opened the package with excitement, expecting our dream teether to be gleaming as it came to our rescue.
That was not the case. The late-night purchase was not what we were expecting. It was finger-sized. It’s just, it wasn’t adult finger-sized. It was child finger-sized, so back to square one.
However, it wasn’t a complete dud. It eventually became one of the favourite teethers, reaching places other teethers couldn’t and withstood a tonne of abuse.
Whatever your tastes, there’s bound to be a teether that takes your fancy and suits your style. Take retro gamers for instance – you can get wooden teethers that look just like the controllers from your favourite retro games consoles. And, even better, great looking silicone gameboys and NES controllers. If you’re into retro gaming, you should definitely go and check out our friends at Arcade Attack whose podcast and blog include reviews, features and interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry.
So, what teether is best?
All of them and none of them, depending on the child and the tooth that is currently erupting. And this is where shape comes in. The longer, thinner ones can great for molars, chunkier ones can be great for front teeth and then there’s everything in-between.
Every child is different, so try as many different types, shapes and sizes of teether that you can afford or get your hands on. Once your little one finds the one that’s right for them they’ll be happy for the relief the right teether can bring.
But remember, they won’t always be the perfect one. As new teeth come in, old favourites can become less effective and new favourites will be needed. Having a selection on hand can make reaching new places an easier and less demanding task.
That said, the perfect teether isn’t always a teether. Teethers can be anything within reason and maybe something you don’t expect. But, that’s something that we’re going to be covering next week, in our final episode of the series. See you then…