Have you noticed that your baby refuses food – or acts out! – when they are teething? Don’t worry, this is completely normal.
Tackling Feeding While Teething
Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN
Have you noticed that your baby refuses food – or acts out! – when they are teething? Don’t worry, this is completely normal. It is uncomfortable to push out a brand new tooth, and chomping down a meal while in pain is the last thing your baby wants to do! So, if you notice a decreased appetite while your baby is teething, don’t panic! Use the strategies below to ensure that your baby still gets the nutrients they need during this toothy time:
Fluids are your friend. First and foremost, don’t be alarmed if your baby rejects solid foods and only wants milk. Breastmilk and formula are excellent forms of hydration, so make sure your baby is getting plenty of either while teething.
Offer cold and soft foods. Cold foods will help with pain relief, and soft foods are easier to chew. Think popsicles made from fruits, veggies, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, and breastmilk or formula. We love making formula or breastmilk ice cubes and then putting them in a mesh or silicone feeder for the baby to suck on. Click here to shop our favorite teethers.
Stay consistent. Offer meals and snacks at your usual times. Even if your baby doesn’t eat anything, it’s important to offer meals (and snacks, if age-appropriate) at the regularly scheduled time so that they can pick up right where they left off once the pain subsides.
When you’re in between meals and snacks, only offer your child water. Babies and kids need time to build up hunger and need to learn to listen to their hunger cues. So, if they ask for food when it’s not meal or snack time, offer them water and let them know when the next meal or snack time is.
Keep it simple. Babies don’t usually need teething crackers, so stick with regular teethers, formula or breastmilk, and other soothing foods.
If you or your child is having a health emergency, please call 911 or your emergency services number immediately.