How do I feed a teething baby?

Sore gums can put your baby off food just as you’re settling into a weaning routine. We reveal the foods and products that can help, along with tips from mums of teething weaners

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Which foods are best for my teething baby?

There is no right or wrong answer, try and see what your baby seems happiest with.

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“You may find that your baby has a smaller appetite when he is teething,” says GP Dr Philippa Kaye. “But try not to worry too much as they will still get the majority of their nutrients from their milk and within a few days of the tooth coming through, they will be back to normal and often may even have a hungry day or two.”

You could try:

  • Soft purees – some babies prefer to eat soft purees when they are teething
  • Cool smooth food –  yoghurt from the fridge may help as the cold can relieve discomfort
  • Chewable food – Other babies prefer something hard to chew as the pressure of chewing something firm can also relieve the pain 

Whether you are using purees, mashed food, finger food or baby led weaning, your baby will let you know if they don’t want to eat it. Let them eat if they want to, and if not, be reassured that they will once the tooth is through and they feel better.  As always, if you are concerned see your doctor.

Why teething can affect weaning

“Not all babies will be affected by teething, for some lucky babies the first you know about teething is when the tooth appears and you can see it. For others, it’s a painful process,” says Dr Kaye.”Although the process of a tooth erupting from the gum does not affect the ability to eat itself, the pain and discomfort and feeling generally rotten that can go with teething can affect weaning. Put simply, if your mouth hurts you may not want to eat!”

5 ways to wean a teething baby

  1. Try giving your baby something hard to gnaw on like a teething ring. You can also try chilling the teething ring for extra relief.
  2. Try offering a dried crust of bread, or a baby rusk – but always monitor your baby to prevent choking.
  3. Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger to ease the pain in his mouth.
  4. Use a soft clean cloth to dry your baby’s face if he dribbles a lot, so that his skin doesn’t become sore.
  5. Teething gels, granules and powders all soothe your baby’s mouth but make sure you check ingredients to avoid excess sugar and the risk of potential allergic reactions.

Symptoms of teething

  • Flushed cheeks
  • Cramming a fist into mouth
  • Dribbling
  • Biting 
  • Sore bottom (an enzyme released during teething, combined with swallowing excessive saliva, can cause runny poo)
  • Disturbed sleep

This is just a guide and not a definitive list and you should always check with a health visitor or your GP to ensure that your baby is teething.

When does teething start?

Teething often starts around the time of weaning, at approximately 6 months of age, though it can start both later or earlier than this. 

Products that can help your teething baby

The best solution comes for free – give your baby lots of cuddles and try not to be anxious around mealtimes. But there are also useful products which can help

  • Teething gels
  • Teething granules or powders
  • Teething rings
  • Infant paracetamol

What our mums say about feeding their teething babies

It seems there a fair few challenges to think about. Should you think about switching them to purees? And can teething affect your baby’s poop?

“We started weaning George last week. He’s just had some carrot, banana and some sweet potato (all separately) and his poos have gone weird! Anything from chicken korma (sorry!!) to dark green runny ones! I also think he’s got a tooth about to pop through. I’ve read teething can affect poos? Is that true?” says a worried Mrsgrones.

Jojums replied: “There are lots of people who see everything up to explosive nappies when lo’s are teething. General thinking is they swallow loads of drool and it has to work it’s way out. 

“Don’t complain if the teeth are just working their way out, I wish Amelia was like that – she’s been a right grump all day but all we’ve got is a few swellings on her top gum  

“If he’s otherwise happy, eating and drinking then I wouldn’t worry too much. Fingers crossed it settles in the next few days.”

“Annabel is teething, 4 teeth on the top about to come through,” says Nicola of her daughter.

“She can’t seem to chew food that she previously was able to eat independently for example melon, roasted parsnips or even potato wedges.

“I thought melon would be soothing and she would enjoy eating it, however instead she sucks it and attempts to bite it but is not able so ends up spitting it on the floor.

“I have reverted to purees or extremely soft foods, she can’t even manage a slice of cucumber. I’m hoping this is just because she has got 4 teeth at once. I am giving her regular pain killers, the poor little thing!”

And LH86 kept her baby’s diet as cool as poss: “I just went with it with my lo, she really suffered with her teeth her cheeks used to swell and everything.

“4 teeth is a lot to cut at once, are they front or back teeth? I found letting her chomp on a sugar free rusk helped to cut them through.

“My oh mum gave me bickie pegs but I didn’t trust them due to the size. And nice cold yogurts or ice pops/fruit juice lollies.

“I think till she’s past the worst of it you just have to go with it as at least she’s getting food in her. It’s a really tough time but once it’s done it’s done. Well till they start falling out again I guess! X”

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