Why You Should Never Rub Whiskey On Baby's Gums

There are old wives' tales that can explain just about everything from animal behavior to food and the 5-second rule. And while some of them can be fun to hear about, and fun to try, there are some that medicine and doctors want us to stay far away from. The one about putting whiskey on a baby's gums to help deal with teething pain is definitely up there in the "don't try this at home" category.

The internet is full of threads from parents desperate for a bit of relief from the cries of angry, teething infants. While there are some who are definitely against the idea, others say they are open to the idea of trying it, and still others say they tried it (or know others that did) and everything turned out fine (via Vinepair).

But while there are those of us that think we're doing the little ones a favor, doctors ask us to think again. "First of all, children shouldn't be consuming alcohol," says Stanley Alexander, chairman of the department of pediatric dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (via CBS News). "Second, whiskey has no real numbing effect on the gums as the teeth are coming up."

These are safe (whiskey-free) alternatives to soothe a teething baby

So, whiskey is out because alcohol is bad for babies and doesn't work anyway. But if your baby is miserable because of teething and he (or you) haven't slept all night, you're probably looking for a bit of relief for your little babe.

Mayo Clinic suggests you rub your baby's gums with a clean (whiskey-free) finger, because the pressure will ease your baby's pain. A cold spoon or an icy teething ring can also work wonders, and you get bonus points if you use a cold, hard food — think a chilled carrot or a frozen bagel (just make sure you don't do this unsupervised, so baby doesn't end up accidentally breaking off and swallowing a piece, especially as it will naturally thaw from being gummed with a warm baby mouth). 

If your baby spikes a fever, this could be due to teething — and could have you reaching for an over-the-counter fever reducer. Keep in mind, though, that not all babies develop fevers while teething, and not all fevers that pop up in teething babies are due to the teething process itself, so it's important to not dismiss a fever as being teething related — it might not be, so it's best to check with your child's doctor before medicating.