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.
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!