Teething sucks. It’s miserable for both parent and child. When I can tell my baby girl is hurting, one of the things I grab by default is a teether. They’re designed to let your baby gnaw away safely, providing comfort and a welcome distraction from teething pain!
I’ve collected quite a few varying designs and brands of teethers over the last few years and I decided it was time to do a comparison review! Here’s my honest opinion on several teethers of various styles, with photos included!
I do have affiliate links in my review. You can be confident that all of my opinions are unbiased, and I appreciate you supporting my little blog (and family)!
Sassy Firefly Water-Filled Teethers
This set of two Sassy fireflies was one of the first teethers that we got my second child. They’re adorable, and I love the size and shape of them – great for little hands and little mouths. (My daughter is exceedingly tiny.)
However, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really like the water-filled teethers; rather, my kids don’t. There’s just something about how they feel which is a turn-off for them. Maybe it’s the cold-and-squishiness? Additionally, these got really scratched up really easily (isn’t the point of a teether that it will be durable against the forces of tiny teeth?)
We’ve had this Nuby Bug-A-Loop for years, and it’s so cute! I love the original concept of having a large hoop which the child can hold and chew on. I’ve seen it described as a necklace, which is not accurate; this is just a large loop but there’s no clasp, nor is there a way to open it.
If you look closely, you can see that some of the coloring has been worn away on ours. That’s not as concerning to me as a few of the sharp/jutted-out edges on the bugs themselves. It seems to me that if a child bit this the wrong way, like with one of those little wings right on a swollen gum, that would really hurt!
My kids like playing with this in the car but never really used it as a teether. And looking back at how it’s held up (and how the beads are shaped), I’m glad.
Bright Starts Snuggle-N-Teethe Giraffe
Ok so I know this doesn’t look like a teether but hear me out. This is the Bright Starts Snuggle-N-Teethe Giraffe Teether. The two feet on this big guy are soft plastic which can be chewed on like a flat teether. My kids have both used it for this purpose. And even though it’s large, I find that this can be an advantage because it’s easy for my kids to hold. An added bonus is that it has that crunchy paper inside, so it makes noise when it’s rustled. (It confused my dogs, but otherwise is a great idea!)
I’m also not a huge fan of giraffes, but I think this guy has the cutest little face!
The problem with a fabric-based teether like this is that it will get drooled on. A lot. And you’re not really supposed to wash stuffed toys any way other than by hand. So longevity-wise, this probably isn’t a good option. We still have this tired old guy around, but he’s put away when the kids are sick so that he doesn’t get infected!
This is also going to be one of the pricier options on this review, I’m guessing because it’s large and they market it as a teether-plus-stuffed-animal.
Munchkin Fun Ice Chewy Teether
This Munchkin Fun Ice Chewy Teether comes in various colors of feet and hands, and probably wins the award for the most unusual teether. They have a bumpy texturing to them. I do like that the plastic here feels more durable than the Sassy ones I mentioned earlier; this Munchkin doesn’t have as much “give”. This is probably because these teethers are full of gel, not water. (Reviews also show that this one will stay cold longer than a water-filled teether; although I haven’t tested it personally, I would assume this to be true.)
I also like that the cutout on the foot makes it easier for small hands to grasp. My daughter’s tiny hands would have to work together to hold this otherwise! And you have a lot of color and shape options.
This is one of my favorite teethers out of this comparison, even though it may seem a bit weird to have your kid chewing on a purple foot. It’s durable, and the hole in it means I can string it onto my teething necklace (I’ll show you with another teether later on).
Munchkin Fun Ice Ring
We don’t have this one anymore but we used to, so I wanted to add it on here. The size and shape of this Munchkin Fun Ice Ring, much like the similar product above, is full of gel. It’s another unusual, yet practical, shape for a teether.
Tinukim Soothing Baby Fruit Teethers
Thanks to Tinukim for sending me these teethers for my review!
Then I got this set of four fruit teethers from Tinukim. They are by far the most adorable in this review, in my opinion. These teethers are just solid silicone, but they are pretty soft (I can easily bend them almost in half, for example).
For my tiny daughter, these have been the best option. These fruit teethers are cute and bright, but they’re honestly lightweight and easier for her to play with. You can see the different textures on each piece, which is cool. Tinukim also uses environmentally-friendly packaging, which I love.
We do put them in the fridge (they’re freezer safe, too) even though they’re solid, and they’ll stay cool for a little while, though not as long as the gel- or water-filled ones. I also appreciate that the Tinukims have the open hole so that I can string them onto my teething necklace!
I can see that some other children may not like the Tinukim teethers as much, if they prefer ones that are water filled or made of rubber; however, both of my children have prefered teethers made of solid silicone, just chilled in the fridge.
Vulli Lazare The Cat
We were gifted the Vulli Lazare the Cat when my daughter was a baby; look familiar? This cat is in the same series as the famous Sophie the Giraffe baby toy, and is made in France.
Lazare is made of natural rubber, and squeaks adorably! My daughter likes to play with it and make it “meow”, but she hates the squeaky feel of the rubber on her gums. Unfortunately, these rubber toys are also hair magnets, so be careful if you’re a pet owner: don’t let it fall on the floor!
This is one of the teether options I would have probably never bought on my own, simply because it is going to be pricier, and I’m not a fan of the rubber feel. Also since it technically is a squeaker and has a hole in it, be careful if you wash it; don’t submerge it as it will be nearly impossible to dry completely.
Infantino Go GaGa Squeeze and Teethe
The name went a bit overboard, I admit, but the Infantino Go GaGa Squeeze and Teethe toy is another option if your kids would like the feel of rubber (and a squeaker!).
This rubber toy is the Infantino version of the Vulli above, and will usually run you close to $20 as well. The shape of this monkey, called Coco, seems to have more parts for small kids to chew on, especially the ear and tail.
My kids just really aren’t fans of chewing on the rubber teethers, but if we had to pick one we would pick Coco!
KidzNet Silicone Teething Cookies
Thanks to KidzNet for sending me some teething cookies to try with my daughter! These colorful biscuits come with a small hole and a cord attached, which can be worn by the parent as a teething necklace. While I personally didn’t like the quality of the cable itself, it’s quick and easy to remove – then you can just hand a cookie to your child!
My daughter looked at me for a minute like I was crazy for handing her a bright pink “cookie”, but the size and shape of these little teethers are really great. They can be chilled in the fridge or frozen in the freezer, and the packaging was adorable too.
The three pieces which make up the sandwich can come apart, particularly the white ring which makes up the “cookie filling” (though it’s a challenge, it is possible); when I first saw the cookies, I also wondered how easy it would be for food or bacteria to get in between the layers. Like anything else, just be vigilant in cleaning your babe’s teethers, and never ever leave a child unsupervised. These can be boiled too!
MAM Cooling Relief Teether
The MAM Cooling Relief Teether is another one we’ve had for years! It’s another unusual design – we call it the bird claw – and the texturing on it is great. It’s also a teether you can clip on to things, and the handle allows your child to grab it easily.
The three-pronged side is filled with water so that you can chill it; MAM claims that the other end (the rounded handle) “stays at a comfortable temperature”, but hey if you throw this in the freezer, the whole thing is gonna be cold!
While I’m not crazy about water-filled teethers as a rule, I love the shaping of the bird claw. This is one of the best teethers for your kids to use when those damn molars are coming in, because this teether can safely go deeper in your child’s mouth. Some of the other ones, like the Munchkin foot, would just gag your kid if they were trying to soothe gums way in the back. My daughter can gnaw on one of the side “claws” comfortably, and it reaches farther back in her mouth without it choking her.
The First Years Bristle Buddy Teether
Don’t snort at the name: the First Years Bristle Buddy is actually so cute! It does call this one the “girl” teether which is a bit annoying, but the concept is great. You have the handle to grasp, you have the various textures, and it’s just solid plastic so it’s easy to clean. This teether feels the heaviest out of all of these, and it’s super dense. We keep it in the fridge anyway but of course it won’t stay cool for long when being held in little hands!
I will admit to you that my kids love to chew on the poor little nose as much as the bristles, so be wary of that. Also, I gave you the cheapest affiliate link above but it does say “pack of 4” when the price is just for one. Just so you know.
General Teether Tips
- If you’re looking to also get a teething necklace or other teething jewelry, you can see my honest comparison review here of Nixi and Chewbeads. I really like the concept of teething necklaces, because not only are they there for your kid to chew on, but they’re fashionable and a welcome distraction for the active nursing toddler.
- Clean all of your teethers often. Your best option is to use warm water and soap; alternatively, most of these teethers are dishwasher-safe. In a pinch, you can use baby-safe cleaning wipes. This is especially important when your kid is getting over an illness.
- You may have also heard about amber teething necklaces as a remedy for pain when your child is teething. I never used one with my son but got desperate with my daughter and bought an inexpensive one. While I will reiterate that the science doesn’t really back up the effectiveness of the Baltic amber, I can tell that it relieved my daughter. You can read all about our experience here.
- Never leave a child unsupervised with a teether. I know they’re supposed to be safe, but it’s not worth the risk. If you’re in the car and your child has one in the car seat, make sure you can see them.
- Worried about mold in those toys with a hole (like the Vulli Lazare Cat)? Here are a few articles which give you a practical response to the panic which spread not too long ago, causing parents to chop toys in half. There’s this CNN Report from January 2017 and there’s this fantastic post from Hilary Clay, the Friendly Biologist:
Mold has somehow gotten a really bad reputation, even though it is literally everywhere and 99.999% harmless. These days, people will look at a picture of mildew and proclaim that it is toxic black mold and that this will cause any number of health problems from asthma to cancer. The truth is that most mold is just random harmless mold.
Most molds are dark, and many of them are black. There are certain types of mold that are considered “toxic,” and these are mostly the Stachybotrys molds that grow into, for example, the drywall of a water damaged house. This is what people are talking about when they say “toxic black mold,” but the truth is that the science is kinda unclear about whether or not even this kind of mold is dangerous, because it doesn’t seem to affect everyone the same way. The general consensus is that there is probably a link between heavy exposure to this type of mold and asthma, particularly in children.
However, most of the mold in your house isn’t this kind of mold. This is certainly not what is growing in your bathroom, or in your bath toys, or in your Sophie giraffe. The mold that you see in these places is probably mostly algae, which isn’t a fungi at all, potentially mixed with some mold, potentially mixed with some bacteria. This sounds and looks disgusting, but the thing is, this delicious mixture is actually coming from your drinking water, mostly, and possibly your body, and possibly the air, but in any event, you are literally covered inside and out with it no matter what you do. Any time someone opens up a bath toy and gets upset about the gunk inside, I have to laugh, because you should seriously see the inside of the pipes that bring your fresh water. You’d never sleep again.
So, when do you need to worry about mold? You should worry about mold if you are immunosuppressed, have a specific allergy, or if it is growing out of your walls. The mold that you see in your bathtub or your windowsill is not something to panic about.
How do you get rid of mold? Mold is, like I said, everywhere, so the trick to keeping it from taking over your space is to keep things dry. Dehumidifiers, damp-rid, and just regular airing out will usually keep mold from becoming a visible problem. When it’s already there, you have two good options for cleaning it: one is to use a 1:10 mixture of germicidal bleach diluted in water. There’s an interesting internet myth that bleach cannot kill mold but this is dramatically untrue. Bleach absolutely kills mold, and it kills it better than any other substance out there. What bleach can’t do is penetrate into semi-porous surfaces like caulk or rubber effectively enough to kill every last mold hyphae and spore, and because of this, you will be have to periodically retreat these kinds of surfaces or just replace them. But you can be sure that if bleach isn’t penetrating it, nothing else is penetrating it either, so there isn’t an alternative cleaner that will do a better job. The other thing you can use is isopropyl alcohol, like the drug store rubbing alcohol, which will kill mold as it evaporates and will also dry out the surfaces. Rubbing alcohol is probably better for maintenance, and bleach will do a better job of removing stains.
Lastly, I just want to point out that mold is actually part of the normal flora our bodies are exposed to and that this exposure really does help build our immune systems and keep us healthy, so when you see some mildew, don’t panic. Aside from the odd athletes foot and yeast infection, most people go their whole lives without becoming infected with anything fungal. Keep calm and don’t cut open your toys.
Some more info from the CDC on Stachybotrys:
You can find Hilary on Facebook here. This quote is used with permission.
I hope that you’ve now got a good idea of which teethers your child might like! They’re a great little thing to have around. Let me know which teethers are your kid’s favorites in the comments below! And thanks for sharing this out!