I have had three beautiful children. Throughout my pregnancy and parenting journey I have come across many strange questions from parents about pregnancy and about children.
One of the craziest questions that I have come across was when I was asked by a young new mom if she could use whiskey for teething. This question was baffling.
Obviously my immediate response was an overwhelming “no.” Why would you ever think about putting whiskey in your child’s mouth to help them with teething? The woman insisted that she had heard the whiskey advice from a retired neonatal nurse.
So, I started wondering. Why would a neonatal nurse, whom presumably has a lot of knowledge, tell a woman to use whiskey in her child’s mouth?
The thought raced around my head and I began doing research about whether or not whiskey was once used for teething and if it is actually a good way to help uncomfortable babies with the process of cutting teeth.
What Is Teething?
Before I dive into the research of whiskey helping for teething I wanted to first discuss what teething is, for those who don’t know. When babies are born they are all gums. Every once in a while a baby is born with a tooth, but that is very odd and extremely rare.
Baby’s teeth begin to come out of their gums typically around 6 months. However, the rate at which teeth come in is unique to each baby.
When the teeth come through the gums it is extremely painful. They have to cut through the unopened gum. When your baby begins to “cut teeth” you might notice a change in their mood and behavior.
Some signs of teething include increased irritability, crying for “no” reason, a fever, runny nose, lethargy, excessive drooling, increased desire to bite on things and even bloody gums.
As a parent it is very hard to watch your child go through their teething experience, because you can tell that your child is extremely uncomfortable. You know that it is part of growing up, but it is hard to watch your kids struggle with pain that you can’t do much about.
In this time of desperation parents begin to try anything to help their babies deal with the pains of teething. Therefore, some parents might even turn to ridiculous methods to help with the struggling baby.
Benefits of Whiskey
To begin my research, I started looking up the benefits of whiskey. I was completely surprised to find all the things that whiskey can help with. You learn something new everyday, right? I found several awesome health benefits from drinking whiskey that still has my mind exploding. These health benefits include:
Helps controls diabetes
Decreases risk of ischemic stroke
Healthy for cholesterol levels
Prevents heart disease
Reduces risk of cancer
Helps with memory
Gives immune system a boost
It is still mind boggling how whiskey has been known to have so many benefits. Who knew? So, I learned that whiskey does certainly have some health benefits. But, should it be used to help remedy baby health issues such as teething?
Whiskey For Teething
First of all, let me start out by saying that it was not hard to find the answer to this question. The answer is “no” you should not be using whiskey for teething. No amount of alcohol should be given to your baby for any reason.
It comes at no surprise that the woman who instructed this poor young mother to give her child whiskey for teething was a retired nurse (she is obviously a little bit older).
A lot of medicine practices have changed a lot through the generations. Many things that our great grandparents, grandparents and even parents did are unsafe and not still used.
The nurse wasn’t all wrong. Whiskey use to be used for teething.
Starting in the the mid- 1800’s parents and doctors started using alcohol to help the pain in little babies. Dr. M. Esther Harding, a psychiatrist and the first American Jungian psychoanalyst, wrote in 1920, “Alcohol is, I suppose, the most valuable sedative and hypnotic drug we possess for infants and young children.”
The dosing of alcohol has been used many times in the past. Alcohol has been used to help with sleeping, coughing, sore throats and even pain management. Even simple items such as Gripe Water use to contain almost 4% alcohol.
The alcohol in Gripe Water was to help with colic and overall fussiness of the baby.
Although 4% alcohol doesn’t seem like a lot, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine compares dosing a nine- pound baby with this formula to an adult knocking back “almost five tots of whisky.” It is insane to think that parents were actually getting their children drunk.
Modern day nurses and doctors will never recommend any parent to use whiskey (or any other alcohol for that matter) as a form of pain management for your child’s teething. If they do, you need to find yourself a new doctor.
I am so glad that this mother didn’t give her child the whiskey, but I am upset that the nurse is going around and advising mothers to give their child whiskey. Please stop.
Remedies For Teething
There are many other ways to help with your child’s teething issues, that don’t involve alcohol. Certainly stay away from anything alcoholic.
Some of the best home remedies to help with a grumpy teething baby include ice teething rings, orajel, teething tablets, and pain medication such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen (do not use Ibuprofen on children under than 6 months).
It kills me a little bit that this young mom was hearing this type of information from a woman that she is supposed to trust. Thankfully she didn’t immediately listen to the advice. She was very skeptical and wanted to make sure to check before throwing alcohol into the baby’s mouth.
As a mom you are going to get TONS of advice. Some of the advice will be great and you should totally try some of it.
However, if you are feeling uneasy and not confident about a piece of advice you may receive then you should never feel pressured to try it. You are the parent of that baby you should always follow your gut.