Teething Bites

Oh the pain, the horror, THE TEETH!  If your baby’s teething, you know you’re not sleeping, not resting and not loving life right now.  I’m honestly no expert on anything, but lately I find myself giving lots of advice on teething.  (For some reason when you make teething toys, people think you know something about teething- ha, imagine that!)  But I have had 2 babies spring some chompers and I’ve talked to lots of parents to find out their favorites to try.  After much trial and error, I present to you my teething baby must haves!  Got something you love?  Share it in a comment so we can all get in on the good stuff!

1.) My boobs– I mean, really, when it comes to soothing a baby who’s upset about anything, breast is best.  My littles have always nursed more when they’re teething, though it will often be for shorter periods of time- I think the suction created by nursing makes it uncomfortable so they go on & off the nip a lot.  Also, they like to practice those sharp new chompers on whatever they’re sucking on so be prepared for a baby barracuda who doesn’t want to let go!

2.) The Essential Essential Oil– now oils are all the rage right now and I’m totally a believer.  But you’ve got to be careful- they’re nothing to be toyed with, they’re potent medicine.  I’m no expert and I really don’t trust just anyone with a essential oils 101 Facebook group to tell me how best to use them.  When it comes to essential oils for my kids, I turn to someone who actually knows what she’s talking about.  For me, that person is Elizabeth Reynolds of Lux Amare.  Elizabeth’s been an aromatherapist for over 35 years and she knows her stuff.  I had heard about her Chamomile Baby Rub (CBR for those in the know) from other moms but had no idea what it was until I was introduced to it by a friend.  Well, low and behold, this stuff contains actual real magic.  Seriously.  It calms my babies teething pains, eases them to sleep, heals diaper rash, soothes ear aches, helps with colic, gas pains, cuts and scrapes and even provides emotional support for our little bundles of emotion.  No joke, this oil really does what it says- I now totally swear by it.  If I had one thing in my arsenal for teething pain, it’d be this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Counter pressure– teeth are attempting to push out of those sore gums, so push back, baby!  If you have a teething baby, I’m sure you’re familiar with them chewing on absolutely everything.  If you want to give them some good things to chew on, I like a frozen bagel, a frozen clean washcloth, a mesh or silicone feeder with ice or frozen fruit and veggies inside (I like to use frozen grapes- but only in a feeder like this for little ones).  I really like this super cool silicone feeder from Boon.

4.) A good teething toy– speaking of counter pressure, of course I’ve gotta include some of the best teething toys on this list.  Not only do I love our Tough Love Wooden Teethers, but I’ve got some other non-TLT’s too.  The ideal teether will be a good size for baby to hold and chew with contours for sensory development, maybe make some noise and be made out of something safe.  If you’re on this page, you know I hate plastic teething toys.  We’ve all used them so drop the guilt, but if you’re looking for something safer for your little love, give them a teething toy made of wood, organic cotton or bamboo, silicone or natural rubber.

 

One of our all time non- Tough Love favorites is of course, Sophie La Damn Giraffe (isn’t that the correct French pronunciation?).  Made of natural rubber, just the right size to hold and with an annoyingly appealing little squeak, this pricey long neck’s got my heart.  Find her for $24.99 & up pretty much anywhere- do a search for teething toys and this one’s definitely at the top of your list for good reason.  Is it worth the money?  Well, compared to similar quality natural teething toys, Ms. La Girafe, is fair and really, if your little teething demon quiets down over anything, you’ll feel it’s money well spent!  There was some controversy over Sophie getting moldy all over social media lately, but they’ve updated her design so new ones should hold up to more slobber (and this jury’s still out on how dangerous a little mold is anyway- more on that in another post).

That damn girafe!

Other natural teething toys we love are the Hevea Natural Rubber Panda, Calmies Rubber Teether, and these awesome double duty natural rubber toys from Begin Again- they’re made as bath toys, but they’re shapes are ultra chewable, super fun and unlike other bath toys, they’ve got large holes for drainage to avoid any Sophie-like mold scandals.  At only $4 each, they’re a real steal!

 

5.) The uber sexy amber teething necklace– more than just a fashion trend, I’ve come to believe in this one.  I had my doubts and explored them in a previous post,  but my son has been the proof in the pudding and I’m sold!  My now 4 year old was honestly a bitch when she was teething- those suckers came in & got sucked back into her gums so often & each bout brought us runny noses, fevers, crankiness, and basic baby PMS- it sucked.  We never used an amber necklace for her, nor had we yet invented the coolest, most natural teething toys on the planet.  Our now 16 month old son has worn an amber teething necklace since the first signs of chompers around 5 months old and I’ll tell ya, that boy’s a champ!  He has just finished cutting six teeth at once and before that, it was a round of 4 at once.  I honestly had no inkling they were even in until I took him to the dentist!  No fevers, no fussiness, no drooling, nothing- really, he didn’t act like he was teething at all.  Now, he is the best baby on the planet (and I can say that totally objectively!), so it may just be him, but I’m not willing to chance taking that necklace off.

 

My little hunk in his Amber Necklace

I’m gonna keep it simple and leave the list there for now, but as always, I’d love to hear some of your wisdom- what do you use that works?

 

Check out this all encompassing guide to more things you may love for your baby:  Jen Reviews 

Why you Should Play with Your Wood


When we made the first Tough Love Teethers, I had no idea the worlds it would open up for us.  We really just made them on a whim as a way to avoid plastics in one small area of our lives and the more I’ve learned, the happier I am that we are choosing to give our children more toys made with natural materials and less toys made of toxic, manufactured plastics.  Here’s why I love wooden toys:

They’re like zombies– Wooden toys live forever- they’re so durable!   Shoot em in the head and they’ll just turn into some even more badass toy out to get you.  I’ll bet you’ve got some piece of furniture, some cuckoo clock, a hope chest, model car, or some other wooden hand me down from your grandparents or even their parents somewhere in your home (Ok, I won’t really bet you because a.) that’s illegal and b.) I hate to lose, but you get me).  And if you do, you love and cherish it, right!  That’s because they last- they last long past their novelty.  Plastic toys are cheap- both in price and quality.  They break and when they do, we throw them out.  Wooden toys we pass down- from child to child, family to family, generation to generation.  Several people have told me when their child is done with their Tough Love Teether, they’re going to turn it into a wall hanging or a Christmas Tree ornament- these suckers last.  Tell me you do that with your my little pony and I will laugh- hard.

They’ll save you a buttload- Plastic toys, made mainly in China, are cheaper to buy up front- we’ve got lots cheap crappy toys lying around that I’m constantly picking up & donating.  But cheap plastic toys break often and have to be replaced, so that inexpensive toy ends up costing you a lot of headache and money in replacement costs.  A wooden toy can literally last a lifetime- they can be transformed throughout a childhood to be used for different purposes to get more than your money’s worth.  Not to mention where your money is going- I’d much rather support some local artisan or small business person proudly making toys than a huge conglomerate underpaying workers around the world to mass produce toys they don’t love.

It’s hip to be green- When we’re finally done loving wooden toys, they go right back to the earth.  They are made of trees and usually not much else and they will bio-degrade right back into the earth from whence they came.  Because most plastic toys contain a variety of types of plastics as well as metal, once they break or lose our interest, they can’t even be recycled.  They stay around FOREVER- floating in our oceans, filling up our landfills and taking  a shit all over the planet we are passing onto these beautiful children we gifted with them.  Wood is sustainable- we can grow more and it’s good for our planet to grow more, we can re-use wooden toys over and over and they’ll break down into our soil when we are done using them.  Wooden toys are totally green and we love that!

LOVE our wooden toys!

They fatten those little brains up for good zombie eats-  It’s good for children’s brains to manipulate common objects and use their creativity to make them into whatever they need them to be for whatever it is they are playing.  We don’t need to tell them what to think by supplying the characters, the storylines, the clothes, heck even the voices to tell them how to play.  We can give them simple toys and let their little brains fill in the details that they think would work best with what they are playing.  By giving children objects that are not highly formed and detailed, they can easily become more than one thing, and give children’s imaginations free reign.  Wooden toys and Waldorf Toys, in particular, allow children more flexibility in their play so they are not stuck by the pre-manufactured colors, characters and conversations adults make for them.  And let’s face it- those plastic toys with all the bells, buttons and whistles are annoying!

Kids are F*@&)%*ing dirty- And wooden toys stay cleaner- really, they do!  While wood is more porous than plastic, every time your little one bites, scratches or dents their plastic toy in some way, they create a rough surface that is almost impossible to fully clean. Bacteria loves to live in those little plastic cavities, but for some reason, the pores of wood are naturally antimicrobial- cool, right?  So bite away on your wooden teethers, kids- In academic studies of wooden vs. plastic cutting boards, wood wins hands down.  In a University of Wisconsin study by Dean O. Cliver, Ph.D of UC Davis, Scientists found that three minutes after contaminating a board that 99.9 percent of the bacteria on wooden boards had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic. Bacterial numbers actually increased on plastic cutting boards held overnight at room temperature, but the scientists could not recover any bacteria from wooden boards treated the same way.  With wood, there is no need for harsh chemical cleaners, instead your material is your anti-bacterial.

He’ll cut a bitch- How many times have we been told that a plastic or painted toy is safe, only to see it recalled or find out it has lead in the paint or plastic body or is unsafe for any number of other reasons? This holds especially true for very small children and babies. These little ones will be putting whatever they play with in their mouths, and plastics, painted toys and metals probably aren’t high on the list of things you want in your baby’s mouth. (Uncle Bob’s Workshop).  When plastic toys break, which they do very easily, they become little shanks for your delinquents to get hurt on.  Wooden toys are so tough and much more difficult for tiny prisoners to use a weapons.  Finely sanded wooden toys are unlikely to splinter unless completely broken, and even if your little one can break that super tough wooden toy, if it’s made of a fine grained hardwood, such as maple (as our Tough Love Teethers are), even the splinters are unlikely to hurt them (but do remove any broken toys from your little one’s playing reach).  That’s because the grain quickly heals itself and maple doesn’t flake like other woods such as ash.

Clay loves his wooden toys!

Tiny Tree Huggers-  Wooden toys aren’t just good for the environment, they’re good for the soul.  They feel good- they connect us to something real, to the hard work behind them and the love that went into them.  It’s like tree hugging child style!  As Roland Barthes, wrote,  plastic and metal are “graceless” and “chemical,” and argued that wood “is a familiar and poetic substance, which does not sever the child from close contact with the tree, the table, the floor. Wood does not wound or break down; it does not shatter, it wears out, it can last a long time,”(The New Yorker, 2013).   “Imagine the sensory experience of a toddler cuddling a rigid, hard plastic doll with synthetic hair, and then cuddling a wooden doll, covered in cotton with a head of soft mohair. Not only is the (wooden) doll more aesthetically pleasing, but its softness and warmth will having a calming and soothing effect on a young child,” (Sarah Baldwin, Bella Luna Toys).  People are often skeptical about wooden teething toys.  They ask if kids like them.  They are surprised how their babies take to this natural material.  I’ve  even heard stories of teething babies gnawing on furniture, wooden spoons and sticks- so give those little beavers what they want.  They know what’s good for them!

So let your kids be kids and stop telling them how to play!  Give them the best because we know you love them and  you love the earth you brought them into.  Down with plastics.  You’re witnessing the rise of the wood!  Check out our ever growing line of all natural Wooden Teething Toys here: 

 

 

Badass Baby Shower Must Haves


If you have a badass baby you’re welcoming into this rough world, you might want some ideas on what to shower that little delinquent with.  I’ve got a four year old and an 11 month old and I’ve gone to a few baby showers.  Here are some of my favorite badass baby shower gifts and mama must haves (and a few ideas on what you don’t need any more of):

Who Wants this Old Crap?

I do!  First and foremost, hand mama down some of your favorites.  Some may think this is tacky, but I find it incredibly thoughtful and eco-friendly to give mom a big bag full of your babies’ pre-loved clothes, books and toys.  Baby things get used for such a short time, they usually have a lot of life left in them- don’t trash them, recycle please!  And mamas, when you can, buy used or swap with local parents.  We have some great Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups in our area (that’s how we got started with TLT actually!)- check out your area for some.  You’ll find a list of my favorite Ventura County Facebook B/S/T groups at the bottom of this post.

Sweet Swaddles, Sunshine

We swaddled our children- it was the best way to soothe them when they were new and to give them security for the rare times they slept on their own as small babies (we co-slept with both of our babes).  If you haven’t read it yet, you’ve GOT to read Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on The Block– his 5 S’s will save your life!  But those babies are slippery and swaddling can be hard.  I was never good at rolling a fatty.  So, I had two favorites when it came to swaddling:  The easy way is with a sleep sack and I prefer the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle ($27-$31 available online and at all major baby stores).  It’s a simple design and those little Houdinis can’t break out of the strong velcro easily.  PLUS, it can be wrapped with their arms out when they get bigger and no longer need to be swaddled in the straight jacket style.

My second pick is the very versatile but pricey (think like $50 for a 4 pack- ouch!) Aiden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets.  At 47″x47″, these muslin blankets are the largest you’ll find outside of making your own so they allow you some room to actually roll that baby up, plus they double as a great coverup for nursing baby out and about if you’re feeling modest (don’t bother with a fancy nursing cover- too much work and my babies never liked to be hidden #freetheboobies).  I tried the Aiden & Anais Easy Swaddles (their version of a Swaddle Sack) and their thin muslin tore every time- don’t waste your money.

Rock A Bye Baby

Without a doubt, what every new parent needs is a Rock N Play Sleeper– these little tacos are the perfect sleeping spot for your new little one.  They are super portable, they rock (some even rock themselves!), and they provide a nice snug spot for your baby to stay put.  They range in price from under $30 to almost $100 and the choice is yours on what features you want to pay for, but I am cheap and I would probably stick with the cheapest option.  Though self rocking does sound like a good idea- let me know if you like that one if you try it!  You can usually find these used for like $5, but be sure to take them completely apart and clean them for any mold using these easy instructions

Guard your coochie

Having a baby hurts like a mother (what does that expression mean, anyway?!).  If you have a vaginal birth, your vag will ache and if you have a C-section, please take your pain meds liberally because that shit is no joke!  So help the new mama be prepared for coming home from the hospital with a few necessities.

First off, pads.  Take your pick, but I’d suggest something made for overnights (you’ll bleed more than you expect) with some heft that you can throw in the freezer to make padsicles.  Natural mommy cloth reusable pads would be a super nice gift, but I don’t know if I’d invest in them for this purpose, as mom will need to change them often.  Here’s a reasonable organic cotton disposable option.

And to go with those pads, a good perineum spray.  I loved Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray, but you could totally make your own using a recipe like this.  These sprays are also good for soaking your padsicles.  Spray it every time you use the bathroom to soothe stinging.

And mom will definitely need some good old granny panties to hold all that sexiness in!

OMG- I loved The Golden Girls, didn’t you?! I want these!

Those little boob barnacles can be hell on sensitive nipples so be sure to nurture those special bits, too with some nipple butter these awesome cooling gel soothies from medela or some fresh, cool aloe vera.  And always keep those puppies dry with my favorite nursing pads, bamboobies.  I also really liked this Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Soother- it can be heated to help your milk let down when pumping or frozen to soothe your sore nipples (though you do get into heating & cooling plastics territory, so you be the judge!)

Pump it up

You have to have a good breast pump postpartum and for me, I prefer the Medela Pumps.  I had an Ameda Purely Yours pump with my first child and a Medela Pump in Style  with my second and I found the Medela to be stronger and more effective.  The Ameda has the advantage of being a closed loop system so no milk ever enters the tubes, whereas milk can backup into the Medela and you have to open up the machine periodically to make sure it’s not molding because of this.  For this reason, if you have to get a used pump, I would only get an Ameda.  But be sure to check with your insurance because insurance companies in the US now have to provide a pump to new mothers (even medi-cal!).  And if you’re on WIC, you can usually get a hospital grade rental from them too!

The best teethers for little beavers

Well, the best teethers are of course our Tough Love Teethers– duh!  It’s always fun to give a toy at a baby shower- something cute that you know will be played with, but PLEASE, I beg of you, DO NOT give toys that make noise, light up or that baby just has to push a button to use.  Simple toys that make baby think and manipulate are best and really, the less toys the better- children learn the most from using things in their own environments (think banging pots and pans, making mud pies- the things kids are supposed to do).  Think simple when it comes to toys- Waldorf Toys, stackers (we’re working on some- stay tuned to our site!), shape sorters, blocks.  Wooden toys are the perfect option here. Our teething toys make beautiful gifts and are so durable they will be sure to be passed down through multiple children.  Whatever toy you choose to buy, be sure to steer clear of cheap plastic teething toys as they leach harmful toxins into the growing bodies of babies and into the environment we are passing onto them.  For teething toys, we also really love the Hevea Natural Rubber Panda and Sophie the Giraffe Natural Rubber Toy.

Gotta Wash that Dirty Little Bugger

Bath products are always a popular baby shower gift (but, read below for what to avoid) and our favorite bath by far has been the PUJ Flyte– this compact little sucker fits perfectly in a kitchen sink so you don’t have to break your back giving baby a bath and folds flat for storage and travel.  At $34.99, it’s a great option and we found that by the time our son outgrew it, he was ready to sit up in the tub alone, so no need for a hard plastic baby bath.  Pair this with some Dr. Bronner’s Gentle Baby Castile Soap and an organic cotton washcloth and you’ve got the perfect bathing set for that adorable little hunk of naked baby to come!

You’ve Got Your Hands Full (actually, they’re free- that’s the point)

Clay’s position doesn’t look too good here- make sure to get with someone to learn how to safely wear your baby

I LOVE wearing my babies- I don’t know what I’d do without it!  And whenever I’m wearing my kids and multi-tasking, I get this comment, “boy, you’ve got your hands full there,” but actually, my hands are free and that’s the point.  Get yourself a good, beautiful, buttery soft carrier and learn how to use it.  Find yourself a baby wearing group or guru in your area so you can try multiple styles and learn how to safely wear your little love close to your heart.  We’ve tried many and I use different ones for different stages of baby, but my favorite go-to is the Maya Wrap Ring Sling– it’s simple to wear (no wrapping despite the name), compact to carry and it has a pocket- yay!

Stuff Everyone Will Buy at the Baby Shower, so Avoid it if you Want to Buy Something They’ll Remember:

  • Clothes– Baby clothes are oh so cute and really, really hard to resist- cuz they’re tiny and frilly and cute colors, and funny sayings and all that.  So buy them if you must, but know that everyone will buy the baby clothes and everyone will hand the baby down clothes and that baby will have more clothes than time to wear them or mom will have time to wash
  • Baby body products– I cannot tell you how much baby wash,  baby lotion, baby powder, diaper cream, baby oil, etc, etc I got at my baby showers.  Slow your rollers here- moms of today aren’t using these products in bulk any more.  We are more cautious in what we put on our baby’s sweet little bodies (ahem- lawsuits Proctor & Gamble).  Baby lotions aren’t recommended even by pediatricians any more and you just don’t know how sensitive baby’s skin will be, so even though you love to picture just how cute that babe will look all naked and sudsy, skip the baby bath products.  Mom, however, would probably love some body products of her own to make her feel and smell good in those showerless days after baby is born.
  • Stuffed Animals– Babies really shouldn’t have stuffed animals in or around their beds and a lot of stuffed animals still have parts that can come loose and choke babies.  Plus, they take up a lot of room and we’ve got enough crap lying around.  Please, no more stuffed animals.
  • Crib Bedding– I’ve got a family member who loves to buy the crib bedding- it’s her thing and it’s special to her, so I let her with a thankful heart.  But really, all your baby needs is a sheet or two.  They don’t need a comforter and shouldn’t sleep with one until they’re well into their second year, what the hell do you even do with a crib bedskirt and they’re outrageously priced.  Skip the $200+ pricetag and get yourself two $20 organic cotton sheets and a nice organic mattress for baby to rest on instead.

That’s it- that’s my opinions for today.  I’d love to hear from you too, so comment below!

Ventura County Facebook Buy Sell Trade Groups for Kids’ Stuff (there’s a ton– feel free to comment with your favorites):

Check these out and ask to be added if you’re interested!

Sunshine and Sparkles Swap and Sell

Tummies, Toys and Tykes Resale and Swap of Ventura County

MOMS of Conejo Valley

VC Baby New and Used Sales

Ventura Little Peeps Swap and Sell

Baby Bum Traders of VC

VCBW Marketplace

 

The Jurassic Park Solution?

Got into a discussion with some other mommies yesterday about Clay’s amber teething necklace.  While they are the cutest little baby jewelry around and sure do look cute, do they really do anything?  Is amber the secret to a happily teething baby or just another gimmick?  Because I’m a nerd who loves to read and I hate to be fooled, I decided to see what I could find for hard evidence on the topic.

The theory behind the amber teething necklace is that when baby wears it, his body heat triggers the release of a minute amount of oil that contains succinic acid, a naturally-occurring substance in the body. When the oil is absorbed, advocates say, it has an analgesic effect on swollen, sore gums (Heidi Murkoff, What to Expect 2017).  But what evidence beyond anecdotal is there to support this claim?  Moms swear by this remedy and you can find numerous testimonials to this effect everywhere you look.  And it’s not just crunchy or new-age moms- this is a mainstream trend these days.

A review of PubMED and MEDLINE, two online medical journals, however, shows no actual scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of amber teething necklaces.  The only thing that has been studied are the dangers of them as strangulation and choking hazards.  Here’s the Wiki on Succinic acid, which does make passing reference to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s honestly kind of hard to believe that one could get a high enough dosage out of this tiny necklace to make a difference, or that absorption through the skin is an effective method of delivery for this minute dosage.  Even the Wiki on Oils of Amber has a measly one paragraph on historical medicinal uses- you’d think there would be a lot more on something that’s been encapsulating mosquitos since the dinosaur age!  One article I did read says that baltic amber degrades into acetic acids (vinegar) and I had been noticing my son smelled like vinegar since wearing his necklace- makes sense now! (John Snyder, Science-Based Medicine 2014).

I searched and searched today through my library’s online journal articles, the always informative, if not always legit, interwebs and various blogs and mommy boards and I can’t find one scholarly article showing that this super cute trend is actually treating my baby’s teething pain.  I do find a lot warning me to be careful that I don’t kill my baby with one, though.  I never tried the amber necklace with my four year old, Emma, but I thought it could be worth a try with my 9 month old, Clay, as what I thought worked well with Emma, Hyland’s teething tablets seem to be little more than powdered sugar and belladonna, but have been banned by the FDA.  And Clay looks just so adorable in his teething necklace and cloth diaper, but now I just don’t know!

Tell me, people- what are your thoughts and experiences?  Is there evidence out there I’m just not seeing and if so, why aren’t actual scientists studying it?  Is it the power of suggestion, like a placebo effect?  If I believe in it, does it make it true? Have I just ruined the magic?!  If I’m being scholarly, I have to think that amber teething necklaces are a hoax- a super cute, very fashionable, adorable hoax, but not one that is going to relieve the painful teething symptoms of my poor baby.  But, for today, I think I’ll think with my heart, remain in La-La land and continue thinking that positive thoughts and good looks really do bring happiness to my adorable jewelry clad little man!  How about you- does your baby subscribe to this fad and why?

 

Our battle with Teething Toys

 

So, Clay is teething and I have to say he’s a little champ.  Sometimes I wonder if this kid has no pain receptors or something because he pretty much laughs everything off.  But teething pain is no joke and I feel so bad for the poor guy.  I can remember getting my wisdom teeth in and how much that hurt.  I can only imagine what must be going on in his little mind wondering what that is that’s bothering him.  He’s slobbering, he’s not sleeping, and most of all, he’s chewing on EVERYTHING.  And what should we let him put in that sweet little mouth?

With our four year old, Emma, I honestly was so overwhelmed by just becoming a mother that I didn’t do much research into what I was putting in and on her body.  I just did what my mother  suggested and really didn’t have the energy to question if this was still the healthiest decision for my little love.  I gave her plastic teethers filled with God knows what, ibuprofen, and a wet washcloth for the most part.  Sometimes a frozen banana in a plastic mesh holder.  These are viable options and did relieve some of her pain it seemed, but now that I’m a second time mother, I am more able to consider other options for my family that are more in line with my beliefs.  Namely, I am very leary of hidden toxins such as phthalates, parabens and antimicrobials that manufacturers have found it acceptable to put in our lotions, toys, cleaning products, foods, etc.  A recent study in the ACS (American Chemical Society) journal Environmental Science & Technology “reports that all tested plastic teethers contained BPA and other endocrine-disruptors that leached at low levels,” (ACS.org 2016).  So, what do we do?

Luckily, we have options today like silicone teething toys, natural rubber teething toys and even better, wooden teething toys.  While silicone and natural rubber are good alternatives and my baby and I do love the feel of them, they harbor much more opportunity for bacterial growth than wood does.  Because of their porous structure, silicone and rubber just have more areas for bacteria to grow.  You also have to consider the source of your silicone and rubber- is it food safe, is it natural rubber or synthetic?  You also have to be wary about the compounds that bind the rubber and/or silicone together, about the fillers that provide color and stability, and there just haven’t been enough studies to satisfy me definitively that food grade silicone is not leaching stuff into our bodies that actually is toxic.  It’s still a scary world of teething toys to navigate.  That’s why we choose wooden toys.

Wood is hard and does not lend itself to bacterial infestation in the way that silicone and wood do.  It’s durable, it’s light, and with an untreated wood finished in natural materials (coconut and beeswax in our case), there really is no opportunity for nasty chemical compounds to be hidden.  It’s pure, it’s simple, with nothing hidden.  While I do love to sport my silicone teething necklace, I’m even looking to change it out for a wooden teething necklace.  I just feel better about providing my family with the safest products I can find and for me, wooden teething toys do the trick.

The first teether Jon made!

We are proud to make our toys out of untreated FSC certified maple wood.  It’s hard and it’s structure makes it naturally splinter free so you don’t have to worry about it hurting those sore little gums.  Wood is a renewable material so you can feel good about what you’re doing to the planet as well.  We carve, route and sand the wood by hand then finish it as simply as possible to enhance color and water resistance with a light coat of beeswax and organic coconut oil (we use refined coconut oil as it has a milder smell and less likelihood of allergic reactions).  That’s it- nothing added, nothing taken away, nothing hidden.  In the world of parenthood, there are so many dangers to navigate.  We shouldn’t have to investigate children’s toys to avoid them, but we do.  So I say stay simple- stick with products with ingredients you can pronounce that are manipulated as little as possible.

Let me know what you think and what your favorite teething toys are!

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