How Teething May Affect Your Baby's Eating

Teething is a normal part of a child’s development, but it can be hard on everyone when your baby is in pain or is uncomfortable. Your baby may be extra fussy when they're teething, and eating may be more painful—causing them to reject foods they once enjoyed. While this can be frustrating at times, being prepared can help you overcome the challenges of teething while keeping your little one nourished at the same time.

mom handing baby mesh feeder with frozen fruit

While it’s exciting to see your baby’s first teeth coming in—and to take adorable pictures of her new smile—your baby’s mood may not be picture perfect. Her gums can become sensitive and swollen, making certain foods downright painful to eat. The good news is that there are a variety of comforting and nutritious foods that are easy for your baby to eat while teething.

  • Chilled pureed or mashed baby food. If your baby’s already enjoying solid foods, putting them in the fridge before serving can help soothe sore gums.
  • Soft foods. Plain yogurt, pureed meat, mashed veggies and fruit are all good options because your baby doesn’t have to chew them.
  • Frozen fruits, veggies or breastmilk in a mesh feeder. Fill it with frozen fruit (like bananas and peaches) or frozen pureed veggies (like broccoli and carrots) to soothe baby’s sensitive gums. You can also freeze breastmilk in ice cube trays and put the frozen cubes in the mesh feeder. This is a great option if your baby isn’t eating solid foods yet.

9 month old eating hummus

Not only can teething cause your little one to eat less, it may also cause her to want sugary and salty foods that are easy to eat. While puffs, biscuits, and bite-size cookies and crackers may be easier for your toddler to handle, they are loaded with added sugars and salts she doesn’t need. Before she reaches for a biscuit, try these foods instead:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Hummus
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed or soft fruit, like banana
  • Toasted oats cereal
  • Whole-grain toast (cut up)
  • Peas and thin cucumber slices

9 month old chewing on refridgerated teething ring

While you may be tempted to try a teething tablet or gel to ease your little one’s pain, we (along with other reputable agencies like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration) do not recommend them. Teething gels like Orajel (or other homeopathic teething tablets) could be made with benzocaine and other ingredients that are not safe for babies and can have life-threatening side effects. We also do not recommend freezing teething rings because they can be sharp and can cut your baby’s gums.

Instead of using teething tablets, gels or frozen teething rings, try:

  • Giving your baby cool or refrigerated teething rings to chew on
  • Wetting the corner of a wash cloth, and freezing it, for baby to chew on
  • Rubbing the sensitive area of your baby’s gums (with clean hands, of course)
  • Talking to your pediatrician about other non-medication remedies she recommends