Posted in Parenting

Non-Toxic Teether Recs: No Plastic, No Prob!

When my baby started teething between 3 and 4 months, she was chomping HARD on my fingers and anything she could grab!  With the recent plastic warnings even for BPA free items (and past things I’d heard about China chemical fillers or toxic toy recalls), I knew I wanted safe wood or silicone teethers made in the USA. Even with lots of searching, finding made in the USA was hard.  Here’s what I learned, which will hopefully save your time and worries (this is my unpaid, unbiased review).

  • Top choice: Baby banana. Silicone teether made in the USA, good shape for small hands and doubles as a toothbrush up to age 12 months.  The silicone also got less fuzzy than other silicone, and the shape has the benefit when it falls the brushpart the baby chews on most doesn’t hit the ground.  Plus silicone I don’t mind washing/sanitizing on the dishwasher top rack. (Also, I used it past 12 months myself, but she didn’t have molars yet, so it seemed to still work in my mind.)  If you buy just one teether, I’d pick this one!
  • 2nd silicone choice: Baby Banana Smoothie Soakers (also made in the USA).  My baby suddenly bit (er, teethed) everywhere so I needed multiple supplies.  This 3 pack for about $12 were good, especially as those 4 front teeth came in, although they weren’t her top choice after even if they didn’t have an age limit.  Please note, besides the 2 mentioned above, the other things by this Baby Banana brand are actually made in Taiwan (toddler banana, octopus, dolphin etc and was a lower quality and really sticky, fuzz-magnet silicone-plus my baby didn’t chew them as much… Online that non-USA fact is not obvious and felt like a waste of money)
  • Best all around utility:  Wooden toys by Maple Landmark . I got the shape stacker which my baby chewed on, in addition to playing with other ways.  The USA made products are made in Vermont with hardwood, and the stacker has no paint or sealant, just high quality sanding.  They have a teether I didn’t try, one review said that shape cracked, and for the price point the stacker seemed a better value plus durable and educational to teach triangles, square shapes etc…At the younger age my baby loved chewing on the stacker (especially before/as the front teeth came in) and at nearly 1 year old she still plays with the pieces to stack and will for a long time as blocks.  Maybe not be a custom teether, but a good all around toy and one I’ll think of giving as a baby shower gift since people always admire and ask where I got it. Note the central stacker spike doesn’t rock like the common plastic version, so if your baby is unstable sitting, learning to walk etc, keep that part put away so she doesn’t have to on it-mine feel on the flatter stacking piece alone with her mouth and that was enough ouch!
  • WowieStar Silicone Starfish.  Not as beloved by my babe as baby banana, but better for the 12 month or older or teething after the first 4 front teeth arrive.  This was a surprise find that didn’t come up readily in Amazon searches for USA made, and is a little pricey at $16… It became my last resort when my 10 month old chewed and are every board book around. It does have a custom strap attached option with the teether for $20, in case that interests you it’s cheaper to order them together at the start.  The USA made starfish gathers less fuzz and had more use than the Taiwan made octopus by the Baby Banana brand, but for it’s price point and how much my baby uses it, I’d say it’s just ok.
  • LifeFactory Silicone Ring (often out of stock it seems).   This shape seems good (my daughter tries chewing on similar plastic pme) and it’s USA made silicone from a company that does a US made silicone covered glass bottles for babies and adults (the glass itself might be made in France).  This teether might be out of regular production since the price for 2 teethers on Amazon was $35… But the same $35 price for 2 baby bottles and 2 teethers, in case you’re in the market for bottles too maybe it’s worth a try (and some googling for the latest in stock link at Amazon or Pottery Barn).
  • Cheapest option you already have:  My baby 10 month old loved chewing on a wet washcloth- the roughest, cheapest made in China ones she liked best rather than my dance organic bamboo ones. 😛  I’ve seen hacks if freezing breast milk on the cloths to encourage them to teeth, but that wasn’t necessary in my case. Bonus that wiping teeth with a wash cloth is another way to clean them at this age, so she was staying that process herself!
  • Teether I hated: Manhattan Company Squish Toy.  This screams Montessori and looks great in pictures and in reviews, but the made in China paint and sealant (sealant is even on the natural wood colored one) plus super choking hazard sized elements held together by elastic always makes me nervous.  Plus my baby only showed momentary interest in the $15 plus toy. .. don’t waste your money like I did.
  • Side note: USA made baby toothbrushes.  Once she grows out of baby banana, I was trying to find another both USA made tooth brush.  The USA made finger one here has some reviews saying it was tight, maybe it’s a bit expensive at $10 for what it is, but I wonder if it might be a safe teether back up too.  She preferred imitating us with a toothbrush at about 12 months, so sticking my finger in by her chompers was not a top choice 😛  Regular baby toothbrushes made in the USA are here (3 for $10) which I didn’t try as I found that later, after just getting one at Target by Colgate or another company.  Although with how she’s pulled out bristles by chewing her brush I wonder about safety at there current under 1 year age…at least the silicone banana teethers any piece she broke off seemed smaller and less of a choking risk. 
  • Other teether thoughts:  my baby loved chewing in the silicone cups and straws… Although they aren’t USA made, Silikids (Amazon $8)  made a silicone cup with silicone lid and straw.  It seemed better than the crunch sound she made on our stainless steel cups, but the silicone lid was super thin to tear and the straw was short (although clear so a good one to see if she got any liquid when she was first learning to use it around 6months).  Once your kiddo knows how to use a straw, the best I could find for cleanable straws with a cool silicone squeegee that were also longer so easier for her to use without pulling out of the cup were Softy Straws.  (Reminder- all those straw and cup  products are NOT USA made).

If you find any other good USA made options please contact us so it can be added-in the meantime best of luck with your teething babe!

 

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