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The best baby teethers

They’re designed for your baby to chew, drool over and suck on when those new teeth are poking through, offering safe comfort and relief. We’ve rounded up the best baby teethers and soothers, as tested by our parents

Teethers for Babies

Most of us know all about the hell of teething. Sore gums, rosy cheeks, constant dribbling, fretfulness, ear-pulling and a loss of appetite are just some of the common symptoms – along with the strong desire to chew and gnaw everything in sight. All of which means you can find yourself with one seriously unhappy baby on your hands. It’s no fun for them, and definitely no fun for you either.

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However, having a teether on standby can offer some welcome relief and help dry those tears during this tricky period. A baby teething toy is particularly handy when first teeth are pushing through gums – usually between age 3 and 7 months (it’s generally the bottom front 2 that make their first appearance).

Bear in mind, also, that teeth continue to emerge until well into toddler age – so it’s worth investing in a quality teething toy that lasts the distance. You’ll want something sturdy enough to endure plenty of gnawing and biting. Having a teether on hand also means your infant is less likely to start chomping on unsafe alternatives lying around the house – cutlery, remote controls – which we all know babies have a sneaky habit of doing the moment our heads are turned.

Baby teethers safety: how to clean baby teething toys

Teethers can be made of various materials – silicone is particularly common, a type of synthetic rubber that’s safer to chew on than plastic, as it won’t leach any chemicals. However, you can also buy natural wood, natural rubber and cloth teethers. If you purchase a plastic teether, check they are free of BPA, PVC and phthalates, which may be harmful.

Whatever they are made of, baby teething toys are specially designed to be safe to put in your baby’s mouth and are usually easy to clean. If you’re concerned about hygiene, look for ones you can pop in the dishwasher – check the label when you buy – or that can be sterilised. Some may be suitable for steam sterilisers, others for cold water sterilising. Otherwise check if they can safely be washed in hot soapy water. Some can only be surface cleansed, particularly those made of natural rubbers, which may be an issue if you’re worried about bugs and germs.

What to look for in baby teething toys

Textured surfaces – Look for plenty of knobbly bits, ridges and flexible surfaces so your baby can gnaw, bite and chew to their heart’s content and efficiently soothe sore gums. Some teethers may feature both harder and softer parts, to suit baby’s preference or match different teething stages.

A ring shape or a handle – The most basic teether designs are teething rings – easy for little fingers to grab onto and guide to their mouths. These can sometimes be filled with water and chilled. Similarly, many teething toys also feature round, curved handles that make them easier to hold.

A bright design – A bold colour or smiley face might help your baby find their teether easily, and provide some extra fun. Many teethers double up as cute mini toys, so choose something your baby seems drawn to. There are plenty of lovely novelty designs around so explore what’s on offer before buying.

The chill factor – Babies love teethers that have been chilled for extra soothing powers – check the packaging to see if they can be safely popped in the fridge or freezer.

BPA-safe – Most teethers will be BPA safe these days, but it’s always worth checking the packaging when you buy, just in case.

Something different – There’s a huge range of baby teething toys out there from classic designs to clever modern solutions such as teething necklaces that mums can wear. Also remember that some babies prefer to chew on cloth teethers, rather than something harder. You can also buy teething sets that offer solutions for different stages of teething.

How much should I expect to pay for a baby teething toy?

A simple plastic or silicone teether can be picked up for a few pounds. However, more expensive modes can cost up to £20. This might be because they’re a stylish, modern design, or made from a more eco-friendly or natural material.

The choice is yours, but bear in mind that the teething stage can last a long time – as long as 25 to 33 months. It might not seem like something you want to splash out on at first, but a teething toy that works for your baby could make a big difference to their happiness and yours during this trying time. It might be worth spending slightly more on a product they really love if it calms inflamed gums and reduces grizzles. You may also want more than one, in case one is in the dishwasher, or you’re out and about.

We’ve spoken to our mum testers – and done some in-depth research of our own – to come up with 10 of the best baby teethers and soothers out there to help calm a grizzly teething baby.

Here’s our pick of the best teething toys for babies…

1. Matchstick Monkey Lion Teether, £9.99

Best for hygiene

Age suitability: From 3 months | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Steriliser safe: Yes | Award: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Teething Toy – Gold

Matchstick Monkey makes super-stylish teething toys that really work. Our testers’ babies loved this bright yellow, lion-themed number, which features plenty of textured ridges to massage aching gums. You can also apply teething gels to the bumpy mane for a double win – helping babies reach those frustratingly hard-to-reach back molars.

Our testers also liked how the lion’s ‘arms’ are ergonomic handles, designed to be a doddle for tiny hands to grip.

Where this teether really stands out, however, is on the hygiene front. The silicone forming the teether has added antimicrobial technology to prevent the growth of germs on the surface. Crucially, it’s not a coating that wears off, but will last your teether’s lifetime – so no need to panic each time your baby throws lion on the floor with a shriek of joy.

Users of this teether love the fact it’s dishwasher safe, and safe for steam and cold-water sterilising – a surprising number of teethers aren’t.

“It’s perfect to know this teether is hygienic and safe,” agreed our reviewer Sara, who has a baby daughter. She added, “It looks really cute – the design is beautiful. It’s my daughter’s favourite teething toy by far. And so far I haven’t seen any marks, in spite of a lot of biting.”

It can also be popped in the fridge for the extra-soothing chill factor, and it gets particularly good feedback for young babies of around 4-5 months.

Pros: Super-stylish, hygienic, easy to hold
Cons: Not the cheapest

Available from: Matchstick Monkey, Amazon, and Jojo Maman Bébé

2. Sophie La Girafe Original Teether,  £15

Best timeless design

Age suitability: From birth | Dishwasher safe: No | Steriliser safe: No | Award: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Teething Toy – Silver

Sophie is a classic for a reason. The old-school French-designed giraffe has a huge following thanks to her cute picture-book looks. However, she’s not just a stylish nursery accessory – Sophie has been easing unhappy gums since 1961, and our testers confirm she’s still a brilliantly effective teething toy. Babies love the little squeak in her tummy, and it’s decorated using safe food-grade paint.

Light and easy to grasp, the giraffe’s long neck and limbs are ideal for babies to drool on, with plenty of chewable edges to explore. The squishy, natural rubber feels soothing against sore gums – and this plant-based material gives Sophie eco-credentials compared to plastic teething toys.

There’s no doubt that, at around £15, it’s on the pricy side for a baby teething toy. But our testers felt Sophie still offered superb value for money. Our reviewer, Emily, mother of a baby boy, said, “It may seem expensive, but having used the toy for some time now, it really is worth it. It’s really well-made and has stood the test of time, with my son chewing it every day for extended periods. It looks lovely and is great as a regular toy, not just a teether” She also praised the patterned skin, which interested her “wee man’s vision”.

If there’s a disadvantage, it’s that Sophie can only be surface-cleaned with a cloth moistened in soapy water. But overall she’s a clear winner – nabbing our silver award in the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Teething Toy category.

Pros: Cute, timeless, made of natural rubber, squeaks
Cons: Can’t be sterilised or put in the dishwasher, surface clean only

Available from: Amazon, Jojo Maman Bébé and John Lewis

3. Brush-Baby My FirstBrush and Teether Set, £7

Best for healthy teeth

Age suitability: From birth | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Steriliser safe: Yes | Fridge suitable: Yes

Once baby’s first tooth breaks through, the drooling and pain continues for a fair while yet – but mums and babies also have something new to worry about: brushing those brand-new pearly whites. Luckily, this smart set encourages oral hygiene from a tiny age – this set includes a brush-like teether plus a first toothbrush to keep teeth pristine.

The teether has soft silicone bristles to massage gums and gently scrub enamel – you can use it with tiny smear of toothpaste to get your baby used to the taste and habit. The long handle means babies can hold it instinctively, and there’s a flower-shaped mouthguard for safety.

Admittedly, this isn’t the most beautiful, fun or stylish teether out there. It’s about practical rather than providing entertainment. But users report the teether is light and easy to use, and, most importantly, that it offers genuine relief to fretful babies.

Our home tester, Ionela, mum to a 1-year-old, wouldn’t be without it now. “The teether helped my son soothe his gums,” she commented. “He’s got four molars coming through at the moment, so he is a big screamer. Every time he sees the teether he knows it will help him. He just grabs it, chews on it for five minutes and he is all better. It’s always in my changing bag!”

Pros: Practical, good value, encourages good oral hygiene
Cons: Plain design doesn’t double as a toy, like many other teethers

Available from: Amazon and Boots

4. MAM Friends – Max the Frog, £8.99

Best eco option

Age suitability: From 4 months | Dishwasher safe: No | Steriliser safe: No | Fridge suitable: No

MAM makes sweet animal-shaped teethers from natural rubber. These aren’t the cheapest teethers, but babies make a beeline for their bright colours and they feel great quality.

They’re light and ring-shaped so babies can easily grab them, then chew and drool to their heart’s content whenever the urge strikes. They also have plenty of ridges and bumpy bits to run over inflamed gums and painful teeth.

Max the Frog is typical of the range – a happy smile and bulbous froggy eyes mean it’s a toy that tiny ones will engage with from a small age. (Also look for a teething snail, bee and turtle.) MAM Friends teethers are all BPA-free, too.

Our reviewers particularly loved that these sweet teethers are made from 100% natural rubber, locally sourced and expertly crafted by hand in Thailand – giving it eco credibility. “The natural rubber is a good justification of the price,” pointed out our home tester Kat, mum to a 9-month-old.

She added, “The quality is beautiful as with all MAM products. As with most teethers, there are interesting patterns and textured areas in the rubber to satisfy curious gums. The rubber, being natural, also feels slightly rough to touch, unlike plasticky silicones – I feel this would just add to the satisfaction of the chewing.” The size and build were perfect, too. “It feels weighty enough to suggest it’s well-made, but light enough for small hands.”

Pros: Made of eco-friendly rubber, good quality
Cons: Can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher or chilled

Available from: Mam Baby and Amazon

5. Mini Mizzie the Kangaroo, £9.99

Best for play

Age suitability: From birth | Dishwasher safe: No | Steriliser Safe: No | Fridge safe: No

Another seriously cute animal-shaped teether, Mini Mizzie is the younger sibling of the larger Mizzie kangaroo-shaped teether. This travel-friendly version features a ring-shape even smaller babies can cling onto easily, before thrusting that tempting kanga head in their mouths for some serious chewing action.

The main appeal of this teether, apart from its compact size, is definitely the cute cartoon-style character – no surprises to learn it’s an Australian design. The makers say the Mizzie has been designed to develop sight, touch and smell through fun and play.

MFM tester Naomi, mum to a 6-month-old, agreed Mizzie made a fun play pal. “We could involve it in everyday play because of the face and character which meant it was more interesting,” she recalled. “Pippa used it regularly to soothe her gums and she found it very easy to hold. We were both very pleased with it.”

Made from 100% rubber and painted using water-based, non-toxic dyes, Mini Mizzie is also free from PVC, BPA, nitrosamines and phthalates. Ideal when your baby embarks on their next marathon nibbling session.

Pros: Natural materials, engaging design, handy ring shape
Cons: Fairly expensive, can’t be sterilised or cleaned in the dishwasher

Available from: Mizzie the Kangaroo

6. Nuby Lots A Loops Teether, £5.49

Best for value

Age suitability: From 3 months | Dishwasher safe: No | Steriliser safe: No  | Fridge suitable: Yes

If you’re looking for a bright, simple teether that won’t break the bank, but still works as a toy, this is your number-one contender. Featuring numerous colourful, interwoven plastic loops, there’s plenty of choice for fussy babies to suck on. All those irresistible loops mean it’s simple to find and hold, even for very small hands – so great for developing hand-eye coordination.

Our reviewer Zoe, mum to a little boy, was a big fan of the rainbow design. “The bright colours means he picks this first out of all his toys – it’s very eye-catching,” she reported. “There is a not-too-loud rattle inside, which is great.” She also appreciated the pocket-friendly price tag. “This is cheaper than some teething toys on the market. It’s easy to use and soft to chew on. My son has had great use as he’s currently got two teeth breaking through and I feel it’s been a blessing for him.”

This teething toy also features a built-in rattle for extra sensory fun. It can be safely popped in the fridge to cool down hot little gums, though bear in mind it won’t hold the cold as long as specially designed cooling teethers. It’s also BPA-free.

The only negative? Our reviewer said that, as it was a little on the large side, it might not be suitable for taking out and about.

Pros: Bright colours, good value, easy to hold
Cons: Less suitable for travel

Available from: Amazon, Nuby and Boots

7. Skip Hop Explore & More Stay Cool Teether, £6

Best cooling teether

Age suitability: From 3 months | Dishwasher safe: No | Steriliser safe: No | Fridge suitable: Yes

There are plenty of silicone baby teethers out there, but this smart teething toy stands out from the crowd thanks to its stainless-steel disc insert – designed to stay chilled and ultra-comforting. Simply pop the teether in the fridge, freezer or under the cold tap to get the cooling benefits for dribbly baby mouths. The disc pops out lollipop style to encourage sucking action and numb sensitive gums.

“My nine-month-old loves this cooling effect on his teeth. It’s bright and colourful as well as being easy to hold. Worth the money,” our home tester Emma Louise reported.

The soft silicone-coated disc has plenty of textures for gums, tongues and teeth to explore. It’s reasonably priced compared to some other teethers, and our tester loved the owl and bee design – there are also a bee and a fox, if you want some variety.

Pros: Can be chilled for extra soothing action, good value, comes in a range of characters
Cons: Can’t be sterilised. Some users report it doesn’t stay cold for that long

Available from: Amazon and Polly and Tots

8. Cheeky Chompers Handychew, £9.99

Best cloth/multi-sensory option

Age suitability: From birth | Machine washable: Yes | Steriliser safe: No | Fridge suitable: No

Not all babies like to chew on silicone while in the midst of a full-on teething episode. In fact, some prefer a good old chomp on a soft cloth. A fabric option will help mop up dribbles and drools, plus it’s just nice to hold, offering that ‘blankie’ feel that so many babies find comforting.

It’s no wonder our testers loved this soft, fleecy Handychew, which packs in extra features – including a rattle, a dummy loop and myriad textures, such as a chewable silicone elephant ear, ribbons and crinkles. The strap proved popular too – something many teething toys lack – meaning it won’t mysteriously fall out of the buggy on your travels.

“It’s definitely worth the money, you get multiple features in one item – the chewy ear, the textured parts, the rattle and dummy strap plus the Handychew acts as a comforter,” enthused our home tester, Nicola, who has a baby girl.

Tester Heidi, who also has a baby daughter, added, “I am obsessed with this Cheeky Chompers Handychew! It’s really an amazing product that my baby girl loves and so do I. So many different features, it’s so cute, very reasonably priced and I can’t say anything negative about it! It’s the best teething toy I own yet, and I own plenty.”

Pros: Lovely design, machine washable, doubles as a sensory toy and rattle
Cons: Can’t be chilled, not for babies who prefer harder surfaces to chew on

Available from: Cheeky Chompers, Amazon and John Lewis

9. Tommee Tippee Kalani, £10.99

Best for every stage of teething

Age suitability: From 3 months | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Steriliser safe: Yes | Fridge suitable: Yes

With its owl design, bug eyes and bright colours (choose from orange or green), at first glance the Kalani may look cute and appealing – but otherwise like a fairly ordinary teether.

In fact this sensory teething toy, made from medical grade silicone, is designed to assist your baby through different stages of teething – from first teeth to final molars. (We hate to break it to you, but the misery won’t end once that first bottom incisor pokes through those red, angry gums.)

Each part of this bird is designed for a different job. So the smooth, hard head is for the earlier stages of teething. The body and wings should help your baby reach back teeth. The softer, chewy ‘feathers’ are designed to encourage good oral hygiene. And the feet are built to be nibbled on by sharp canines. All this and the winged shape makes it highly grippable.

This teether was a huge hit with home tester Aamna and her 1-year-old daughter. “She loved the design instantly – bright and eye-catching but not garish,” enthused Aamna. “This teether feels sturdy, tough and resilient, and is easy to clean and sanitise (especially as it can be put in the dishwasher). It’s very easy for children to carry and hold and encourage [developing] motor skills.”

Silicone toys and teethers have a habit of attracting dust and fluff, which can be irritating. Not this one, however – it boasts anti-static superpowers to stop dirt collecting on the surfaces. “It stayed very clean considering my daughter had been holding it in her hand most of the day,” said Aamna. “I also carried it around in my pocket for a day and that didn’t attract any fluff or lint either. I was really impressed as a nuisance of silicone toys is the fact they always become very dusty and dirty.”

Pros: Lots of surfaces for different teething stages, antistatic design repels dust
Cons: Simple design

Available from: Tommee Tippee and Amazon

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