Chew on This

When we found out I was pregnant with our second child, I felt pretty confident about my parenting skills and was certain that this time around would be much easier because, hey, I’ve done this once before and have it all figured out. Well, apparently, kids are all different. I know… I was flabbergasted too. When did we start allowing individuality in our children? What’s this world coming to?!

My son (Thing 1) took to the pacifier from day one, and it was his best friend until we finally got him totally weaned from it when he was almost 3 (I know…I’m a little ashamed it took us this long).  My daughter (Thing 2)?  Hates them. I tried four different types, and she rejected them all.  Not just rejection either – she gets downright angry when you try to give her one.

When we needed to soothe a colicky Thing 1 to sleep, we turned on the vacuum or TV.  He loved noise. In fact, there were many nights in the first months when we would fold out the futon, put our jammied little bundle in the middle and watch episodes of the BBC Robin Hood until he woke up for his 11pm feedings. Our sweet little girl, on the other hand, is a far more sensitive soul. She’s often not quite sure what to make of her constantly noisy (yes, apparently his spirit is still soothed by sound) big brother, the vacuum scares her and she will absolutely not go to sleep unless we prepare her room with dim mood lighting and silence.

When she put my fingers in her mouth the other day and I felt the jagged edges of her first tooth, I’ll admit, I panicked a little. She’s only 3 1/2 months! Thing 1 didn’t get his first tooth until he was around 8 months, and then he got four at once (boy was that fun!).  He wasn’t really into teethers and seemed mostly satisfied to gum his pacifier. I could tell Thing 2 really wanted something in her mouth (as long as it wasn’t a pacifier), so I ran to Target, grabbed one of each teether in stock and brought them home. Click “Read More” to see the line up and Thing 2’s review of each, interpreted by me.

Sassy Terry Teether 

This is the one I hypothesized would be best and also the cheapest (win/win!). It’s made of terry cloth, which I thought would be an excellent absorber of the copious amounts of drool constantly dripping from her mouth. This was, in fact, probably her least favorite. Once you wet it and freeze it (I did follow the instructions and only immersed half of it in water), you end up with three terry ice blocks that are hard and a bit unforgiving for a baby mouth and three cold, but soft, terry segments. The ice block sections she licked, then looked at me as if to say “Really? You thought this would be good? What am I supposed to do with this?” The other half she couldn’t really get to without having to hold the frozen part, so I held it for her to try. She sucked it, made a face, and pushed it away. Ok. Next…

*Edited to add:  I checked the Sassy webpage, and they gave additional instructions that say to wring the water out of the teether before freezing.  That makes sense, and I attribute my not thinking of this to my sleep deprived mommy brain, although I imagine that many parents have this issue, so it would be helpful for the packaging to have this suggestion.  They also suggest soaking it in a mixture of chamomile tea and water to help soothe baby.  When Thing 2 wakes up from her nap, I shall embark upon this endeavor (although, without the chamomile, as I don’t currently have any…maybe I’ll try fennel tea though) and report back.  In short…the jury is still out on this one!

*Update:  No go!  I tried this one again using the web instructions, and she sucked on it a bit but wouldn’t hold it herself.  After a few minutes, she was completely disinterested.
Nuby Teethe & Play Ice Gel Flower Teether 
I grabbed this one as an afterthought because it was both toy and teether. Great! Two birds, one stone! The problem with this one is that, while the concept is neat, the design is a bit lacking. She loves the crinkly flowers on one end, but if she holds it so she can see and touch those, the gel parts on the other end are at the wrong angle for her to put in her mouth. So, she ends up sucking on crinkly flowers for a few minutes, then getting frustrated that it’s not satisfying her need to chew and drops it. Again, neat concept, but I think it could use some design modification.

MAM Mini Cooler with Pacifier Clip

I’ll admit, I grabbed this one (in green) because MAM pacifiers were the only brand Thing 1 would use, and I liked the sleek, modern design. It also wasn’t too cutesy, as baby toys can often be. Let me tell you, she has not released this teether from the clutches of her chubby little fist yet! I loved that, even after putting it in the freezer for the gel part to harden, she could hold the handle without getting frostbitten fingers. I’ve seen her gum both the gel end and the hard handle end with equally blissful abandon. She plays with it, rides in her car seat with it, lounges with it and even clutches it at nap time. I haven’t even refrozen it. I think, for my sensitive, quiet baby, minimalism really is best. The only suggestion I’d have for improvement is to make the gel end a bit smaller for ease of mouth cramming, especially since it is specifically marketed for babies as young as 2 months.  Thing 2 had trouble with gagging when she tried to put too much of the gel end into her mouth, although the packaging claims that it is specially made to be able to reach the back teeth.  We’ve not yet used the clip with it, but we did use the clips with Thing 1’s pacifiers, and I could see it being useful to prevent it from being thrown or dropped.

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