Teething? Here, have some sugar….

Poor Bub was a bit upset last night which we think might be the onset of teething. His Daddy had drawn the short straw and was on bedtime duty so he bore the brunt of it. We’d not really discussed teething remedies so he was a bit surprised when I thrust a homeopathic teething remedy sachet at him and instructed him to tip it into Bub’s mouth. Like a trouper he did as instructed but as he is instinctively distrustful of homeopathic remedies I knew this wouldn’t be the last I’d hear of it.

Once Bub was asleep we discussed these remedies and whether they were something we’d like to use. We’re both pretty scientific types and so homeopathy isn’t our usual approach. I’m pretty pragmatic though and given the anecdotal stories of success with these sachets I was willing to give them a try. He was more suspicious and felt it was ridiculous to think that the one part per trillion of camomilla in the sachets was making any difference at all.

So, armed with his trusty sidekick Google, he sought to look into these sachets, whether they can actually help with teething pain, and if so why.

In searching the web we found lots of blog posts praising these sachets and comparing the brands. But nothing exploring why they may work and whether there are any non-homeopathic alternatives. So I thought it might be worth a small post of my own.

The primary ingredient in the majority of camomilla homeopathic teething remedies is lactose. This is the sugar most commonly found in milk. Some brands contain sucrose instead, which is also a form of sugar. The brand I bought didn’t say it was sugar free but fascinatingly some of the brands do claim this whilst still being primarily lactose.

Sugar (sucrose) solution is commonly used by many doctors as a pain reliever for young babies for minor procedures. To someone highly sceptical of homeopathy like me it seems that this must be why the homeopathic remedies have so many satisfied customers. It’s all just very expensive sugar.

I’ve no problem with the use and promotion of homeopathic remedies for teething. There are clearly many mums who swear by them and it seems there is a pain relieving element to the granules. But how many parents realise that they are giving their children sugar to sooth their teething pain? This may be something they generally seek to avoid, especially at night, not least because of fears around tooth decay. It seems to me that these products are being pretty disengenuous about their contents, particularly those that say they are sugar free.

All this doesn’t mean that we won’t keep using these products. But it does show that you sometimes need to look beyond the front label on the pack – even on seemingly natural and positive products.


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