Teething and alcohol

Sometimes it may seem like every grandmother, mother-in-law and stranger on the street is promising that a swab of alcohol, particularly brandy, to Baby’s gums will do wonders for teething pain. After all, parents have used alcohol on teething babies for generations and we haven’t heard of them being any the worse for wear. The trouble is that each baby is unique, and no one can predict how your baby will react to even the smallest dose of alcohol. If you do choose to go this route, recognize that you are going against the recommendation of almost all doctors, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Some editions of Your Baby’s First Year say it’s OK to use “a touch of fruit-flavored brandy rubbed on the gum—but no more.”)

During a time when my son was going through a particularly nasty bout of teething, several friends urged me to just give him some brandy already. One went so far as to bring me some brandy in a little container. I took it to be polite, already pretty sure I wasn’t in favor of going that route. But I didn’t dump it out right away, and there were a couple of nights where my husband and I certainly considered rubbing a little on our son’s gums. In the end, we just felt better erring on the side of caution and we’ve never regretted it.

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