10 best baby teething toys
05 August 2020
Teething can be a miserable time for children, so we’re all for anything that might help to soothe the pain. Here are the best teethers for babies.
When a baby's first tiny teeth start to make an appearance, being able to chew on something can be really handy – not only to encourage teeth to come through, but also to ease the discomfort of sore gums.
Obviously you need to be confident that anything your baby puts in their mouth is completely safe for them to use, so we’ve done the research for you to find the top teething toys that are reliable, hygienic, safe and a bit of fun too.
You'll find many types of teether on the market and you might want to try a couple of options first to see which suits your baby best. There are teethers that double as learning toys, some that can be put in the fridge, others that attach to your baby’s clothes, and even those that work as a bib so they can’t be dropped (the five-second rule doesn’t apply to teething toys, we’re afraid).
Here are the 10 best baby teething toys. We hope they bring gummy grins all round.
1. Best all-round teething toy: Sophie La Girafe
“It's a wonder. Seriously. We bought it for my son when he was 12 weeks old and he was able to get it straight in his mouth and has barely let go of it for five months. I do wish they'd make one that didn't squeak though.”
Before you become a parent, you'll likely never have clocked Sophie La Girafe. Once you’re a parent, she’s as ubiquitous as muslins and nappy sacks.
Possibly the most popular teether of all time, soft and squishy Sophie has been getting chomped on by babies for nearly 70 years and is still selling strong today. Her slender neck is easy for babies to grasp, and her soft ears and horns are ideal for gumming on when teething pain strikes.
Recommended by dentists and paediatricians, Sophie also happens to look rather stylish and will sit nicely in any tasteful nursery – and she pops easily into your handbag too.
- Made from natural rubber and food paint
- Big baby appeal
- Doubles as a toy and companion
- Can’t be sterilised or put in the dishwasher
- The squeak is a bit loud
- A little pricey
Retailers: Amazon, JoJo Maman Bébé, John Lewis & Partners, Argos, Next and other online retailersBuy now from Amazon
2. Best teething bib: Cheeky Chompers Neckerchew Baby Bib
“I just came across Neckerchew bibs for teething. They are expensive, but they have a plastic end for chewing.”
Teething comes with a lot of extra dribble, so this Neckerchew teething bib, which mops up any drool while offering something for babies to chew on, is a great option.
It can be worn like an ordinary dribble bib with adjustable poppers to fasten it at the back, and it has a triangle of dimpled silicone for your baby to chew on, with a texture that gently massages the gums.
This absorbent soft cotton dribble bib is also reversible, giving you two teething looks in one.
- Soaks up teething dribble
- BPA- and phthalate-free
- Machine-washable at 40°C
- Fairly expensive
Retailers: Amazon, cheekychompers.com, JoJo Maman Bébé, John Lewis & Partners, Uber Kids and othersBuy now from Amazon
3. Best dummy-style teether: Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Easy Reach Teether
“I had this for my son and he chomped away happily for hours. No chance of choking or hitting himself with it as the outside is like a dummy and the inside is soft rubber. It gets everywhere in the mouth and you can rub teething gel on it if needed.”
The Tommee Tippee Easy Reach Teether works like a dummy, so will suit babies who love to suck for comfort.
It's suitable from three months and has a cooling textured piece that goes in the mouth for your baby to chew on, which will help to soothe sore gums.
In each pack there are two different teethers, one with a narrow surface for sore gums while your baby is cutting her first teeth and one with a wider surface to help when her incisors come through. Each also has built-in channels designed to hold teething gel.
- Designed for use with teething gel
- Stays in the mouth easily
- Two models to grow with your baby in one pack
- Easily dropped
- Slightly utilitarian look
Price: £3 for two (stage one)
Retailers: Amazon, tommeetippee.com, ASDA, Tesco and other online retailersBuy now from Amazon
4. Best budget teething toy: Nuby Bug-a-Loop Teether
“He loooooves his Nuby Bug-a-Loop Teether and Nuby Teething Keys that you put in the fridge.”
This ring of various bugs, bees and beads is sure to bring a smile to even the grumpiest of teething faces.
The Nuby Bug-a-Loop has lots for little hands to explore, and several different sizes and surfaces for them to get their gums around.
The loop design means it can easily be attached to lightweight buggies or car seatbelts for travel, and it’s easy for babies to grip onto as well.
- Easy for little hands to grab
- Approved by orthodontists
- Stimulates gums
- As with all bead-style toys, close adult supervision is required – Nuby also advises parents to immediately inspect the teether before and after each use and to throw the product away when damaged or punctured
Retailers: Amazon, Boots, Tesco, Nuby and othersBuy now from Amazon
5. Best mitt-style teether: Nuby Teething Mitt
“I used teething mitts with my little one because he started to teethe before being able to handle a teething ring."
Really useful for early teethers who don’t quite have the dexterity for a handheld teether, the Nuby Teething Mitt can be worn like a glove.
Available in several designs, the crunchy, crinkly fabric appeals to babies, and the mitt has a textured silicone top that’s perfect for that phase when absolutely everything goes in their mouths. It also helps to soothe sore gums.
The Nuby Teething Mitt also has a Velcro strap that can be adjusted as your baby grows.
- Difficult to drop as it doesn’t need to be held
- Protects babies from scratching themselves
- A bit big on very small babies
- Wipe-clean only
Price: From £4
Retailers: Amazon, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, ALDI, Nuby and moreBuy now from Amazon
6. Best eco-friendly teething toy: MAM Friends Max the Frog
“Best teether toy? MAM Friends Max the Frog.“
The MAM Friends teethers are a range of different animals for varying stages of babyhood and are suitable from the age of four months.
Max the Frog is a particular favourite. He's made from natural rubber, is partly hollow so can be squeezed and is lighter in weight than more solid teethers.
He also features several differently-textured parts to help massage the gums.
- Made from BPA-free natural rubber
- Easy for hands to grasp
- Colour and shape provide a sensory experience for babies
- Doesn’t attach to a baby's hands so can easily be dropped
- Can’t be sterilised or put in the dishwasher
Retailers: Amazon, Boots, ASDA and mamonlineshop.comBuy now from Amazon
7. Best teether for easy holding: Halia Rose Elephant Teether
“When my son started teething at eight weeks, I bought the lightest teether I could find (essentially it was just a thin, flat bit of plastic in the shape of an elephant with a hole in the middle to allow him to hold it) and found that, if I put it in his hand, he started to get the hang of putting it to his mouth.”
Sometimes simple does the job best, which is why we love this one-piece elephant teether from Halia Rose.
Babies seem to find the heart-shaped hole really easy to grab onto and the chewable texture is great for raging gums. It's almost flat as well, which makes it really lightweight to handle.
It’s available in a range of really pretty colours and, as it's made from food-grade silicone, can be popped in the dishwasher to clean.
This was one of only eight products, including Sophie La Girafe and Comotomo's Silicone Baby Teether (more on that below), that impressed Which? by passing every single one of its stringent safety tests.
- BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free
- None that we could find!
Retailers: Halia Rose and other online retailersBuy now from Halia Rose
8. Best silicone teether: Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether
Mumsnetters love Comotomo baby bottles for seamlessly introducing breastfeeding babies to mixed feeding. It's no surprise then that their silicone teether has also proven popular – it comes highly recommended by Which? and has won several awards.
Like the Halia Rose Elephant, the Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether is super simple in design, but does its job very well, making it a huge hit with babies.
The silicone shape is made up of a ring (sized to fit babies’ hands) and four soft, rounded prongs to grab and hold.
Comotomo's Silicone Baby Teether is also made from medical-grade silicone so can be cleaned using a dishwasher or steriliser.
- Easy to clean
- Made from 100% medical-grade silicone
- Very ergonomic
- Expensive, though excellent quality
Retailers: Amazon, comotomo.com and KidlyBuy now from Amazon
9. Best teether for introducing toothbrushing: Matchstick Monkey Teething Toy
”My son loves his Matchstick Monkey. It's pricey, but good, with big loops for small hands to hold.”
This cheeky monkey has scooped several awards and is fast catching up with Sophie La Girafe in the popularity stakes.
Made from flexible food-grade silicone that can be chilled in the fridge, Matchstick Monkey's two big loops are really easy for little hands to hold and are good for chewing on too.
On the back of the monkey’s head you'll find textured bumps (a bit like tiny bristles) which you can put teething gel onto. This will allow your baby to get to the hard-to-reach molar area.
It’s a great introduction to toothbrushing too.
- Can be used with teething gel
- Introduces toothcare
- Dishwasher-safe and can be sterilised
- Ergonomic design helps to develop motor skills
- Comes in 12 bright colours
Retailers: Matchstick Monkey, Amazon, Next, JoJo Maman Bébé, Boots, John Lewis & Partners and moreBuy now from Amazon
10. Best teething toy for travel: Gumigem Car Keys
“Mine had Gumigem teethers as babies. One still wears her Gumigem pendant as a fashion necklace.”
If you’ve ever struggled to wrestle your car keys from your baby’s grasp as they head towards their mouth, this is the teether for you.
Made from medical-grade silicone, Gumigem's Car Keys can go in the dishwasher for easy cleaning and have differently-shaped sides to reach all areas of the gums.
The realistic design is enormously attractive to babies who just want to get their hands on your stuff – incidentally, they do a TV remote control and phone teether as well.
While the keys don’t have their own clip, they can easily be hooked through buggy or car seat straps. They also fit easily into your bag for days out and come with a nice storage bag to keep them clean.
- Dishwasher- and steriliser-safe
- Doubles as a role play toy
- Could do with their own clip for attaching to buggies
Retailers: Amazon and other online storesBuy now from Amazon
Why do babies need teethers?
Teething toys help to ease the discomfort of sore gums as a baby's first few teeth start to push through.
The chewing action offers counterpressure to the teeth pushing upwards, massaging the gums and providing babies with some much-needed pain relief.
Back in days of yore, parents would have let their baby gnaw on a bit of cucumber or carrot from the fridge, and teethers were generally simple plastic rings. These days, designs are much cleverer, which means that dedicated teethers can be very handy once your baby starts teething.
What are the different types of teether?
There are various types of teether available, with designs suited to different occasions and stages. It's also worth noting that some babies may like the shape of a particular model and eschew (rather than chew) others.
If your baby doesn't get on with your chosen teether immediately, it’s worth giving something else a try.
Teether materials include:
- Plastic – available in various shapes, these sometimes come with sterilised water inside so that they can be put in the fridge for extra cooling. Look out for BPA-free versions.
- Silicone – often softer to chew on than ordinary plastic teething toys and can be moulded to give different textures to help massage the gums. Look for food- or medical-grade silicones. These can usually be put in the dishwasher for cleaning (check the packaging).
- Natural rubber – like silicone, this is soft, very satisfying to chew and can be moulded into varying shapes. Rubber is natural rather than manmade, which might appeal to you, but this usually means that rubber toys are wipe-clean only.
- Wood – you can still find good old-fashioned wooden teethers, which green parents might be a fan of if you’re trying to stop the incoming tide of plastic.
- Mixed materials – some teething toys will have chewable fabric pieces as well as some silicone and harder plastic bits to give your baby a menu of teething options.
These are worn like a glove, but have chewable plastic or silicone bits on the end for children to chomp on. Babies who are big hand-chewers might like these. They’re also good for early teethers who may not be able to hold onto a toy so well as it can’t be dropped.
Teething bibs look just like ordinary baby bibs, but they have a silicone piece on the bottom which a baby can pop into their mouth to chew on. They're also very helpful in catching teething drool.
These are for you to wear, rather than your baby, and are usually made of silicone beads tied securely onto a scarf or string. Also helpful for hair-pullers or babies who like something to fiddle with while feeding.
From giraffes to TV remotes to car keys and more, teething toys offer familiarity as well as a sensory and learning experience for babies.
Which teethers are safe?
Any teether on the market made by a reputable company should have been tested for safety, but always double check before you buy.
A teether with small pieces needs to be 100% secure to ensure there are no choking hazards, and teething toys that can be squeezed need to be inspected regularly to check for mould and to check that there are no cracks or splits.
Teethers with ball-shaped ends or handles small enough to get lodged inside a child’s throat should be avoided and, if you’re going to use a teething necklace, only an adult must wear it – never a baby.
As with all toys, you shouldn’t leave your baby unattended with a teether anyway. You should also ensure they are kept clean and checked regularly for any damage.
At what age do babies need teethers?
Teething most commonly starts at around six months, but can be later or earlier. If you notice your baby is dribbling a lot, putting her fist in her mouth (and isn’t just hungry) or has slightly red cheeks, those may be signs that it’s time to bring out the teething toys.
How to choose the best teething toy
The right teething toy for your baby will depend on their preferences and how they use it. If your baby is early to teething, you’ll want to look for something light and easy for them to hold. Older babies will be able to cope with something chunkier.
A mitt-style teether is also good for younger children as it can’t easily be dropped. For big dribblers, a bib style will do double duty.
If you want something that can be used out and about, look for teethers that attach to clothes with a dummy clip or can be clipped to a pushchair harness.
For the most part, though, it’s about what works for your baby. If they don’t get on with a smooth ring-style teether, try something with lots of lumps and bumps. If plastic isn’t doing the job, a softer silicone or fabric teether will be more appealing.
Can I sterilise teethers?
Always check manufacturer instructions. Some materials, such as plastic and silicone, can go in the dishwasher or a baby bottle steriliser. But if the teether is made from natural materials, such as wood or rubber, this may not be the case.
Can you put teething gel on teethers?
Yes, for the most part, but usually not on teethers that are made from natural materials. Some teethers, such as the Matchstick Monkey, are designed to have teething gels added to them.
Can you put teething toys in the freezer?
Not usually. Freezers can sometimes make plastics crack. Check the packaging if you’re not sure, but lots of teethers can be popped into the fridge for cooling.
What is the best teething toy?
When it comes to teething toys, Sophie La Girafe is the most popular among families. We also love the Halia Rose Elephant Teether and the Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether for their simple designs and safety credentials.
Why is Sophie La Girafe so popular?
Many babies love the ubiquitous French giraffe for her soft colours and curves, which is why she’s also a popular new baby gift.
She’s said to smell faintly sweet, like vanilla (the natural scent of the natural rubber from the Hevea tree), and she feels smooth to the touch.
She’s also very easy to hold and, while you wouldn’t naturally assume a giraffe to be so pleasingly unwieldy, scaled down to Sophie size, most babies can easily get a good grip on her long neck and slender legs. They also seem to like chomping on her bumpy ears. A lot.
While we find the squeak more than a little irritating (with something of a dog-toy feel about it), Sophie nonetheless comes recommended by dentists and paediatricians and has sold in her tens of millions since her launch in 1961. Not bad for a girl of nearly 70.
How we chose our recommendations
As always, we trust the recommendations of real parents, so we went first to the Mumsnet forums to find out which teething toys Mumsnetters had found most success with and which were swiftly consigned to the bin.
Reviews on Mumsnet ranged enormously, with some babies loving teethers that left other babies cold. So we added in research from other sites, customer reviews and also looked at which teethers had been given awards and accolades in recent months.
Additionally, we looked at safety records, whether any issues had come up in the past and how companies had redesigned and upped their game to improve on their products in response.
Having collated all that information, we then chose the 10 best baby teethers, with something to fit the bill for every baby.
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