What are the Best Foods for Baby Teething?
It’s hard to remember how it felt to teethe when we were babies ourselves. The closest most of us come is to recall the sensation of getting wisdom teeth in our mid to late adolescent years. The swelling, sensitivity and general irritation can be a long-held memory. Not to mention the need to bite down on any food with a bit of resistance.
Why Is My Baby Spitting Out Food?
Teething is a normal developmental stage which all babies grow through. Only the lucky few are exempt from experiencing some discomfort as their teeth erupt through their gums.
When teething, many babies go through stages of not wanting to eat particular foods, even their favourites. This change can be concerning to parents who are unclear why their baby’s intake of food has dropped.
The truth is that no matter how much we try, there is a limit to how much we can do to help our babies when they're going through teething discomfort.
How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Teething?
- Refusing to eat can be the first sign that teeth are erupting. Spitting food out without chewing or, trying to swallow food whole.
- Lots of dribbling and drooling when eating. Teething babies tend to produce a lot of saliva and instead of swallowing, they dribble it out.
- Resisting being fed from a spoon. Teething babies can learn very quickly that chewing causes friction on tender gums and this leads to food refusal.
- A preference for sucking and extra milk feeds. At around six months of age, solids are included in a baby’s diet. If they’re not accepting solid foods as well as milk they can start waking up through the night for extra breast or bottle feeds to ‘make up’ for their lost intake during the day.
Five Best Tips for Teething Foods
- Follow your baby’s lead about what they want to eat. Be open to changes, even with their favourite foods, when their teeth are coming through.
- Offer foods with a bit of texture and which need chewing before swallowing. The sensation of biting down on foods with more resistance can be very satisfying to a teething baby.
- Sometimes smoother, cooler foods are more readily accepted. Yoghurt, pureed fruits, cereal with lots of milk added, and cheese and white sauce based foods are often popular.
- Encourage your baby to feed themselves. The sensation of having a spoon or fork in a tender mouth can lead to food refusal.
- Offer foods straight from the fridge or the freezer. Watermelon, rockmelon and salad vegetables with a bit of crunch like celery are good options. Use a mesh bag if you’re worried about choking.
Best Teething Foods
It’s important to supervise your baby when they’re eating:
- Cut up rings of cucumber
- Fresh strawberries
- Tooth rusks
- Carrot sticks
- Scrambled eggs
Top Mealtime Tips When Teething
Rub some teething gel on your baby’s gums before mealtimes. Numbing agents tend to only be effective for a short time, so plan for best timing if you can. Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.
Wash your hands and gently rub your baby’s gums before they eat. Use the pad of your thumb and rub with gentle pressure along their gum margin. Be prepared for them to have a little chomp while you’re doing this.
Expect less patience from your baby when they’re teething. Choose your moments to place them into their highchair, and don’t prolong mealtimes past the point of no return. Plan for short and efficient mealtimes which don’t end in tears.
Aim to feed your baby when they’re showing hunger signs rather than to a timed schedule. Teething can disrupt even the most established of routines. Your baby is more likely to eat well if they’re hungry than at any other time.
Can I Give My Baby Anything When They Are Teething?
Offer your baby a cool, but not frozen, teething ring. Keep a couple in the fridge to have on constant rotation through the day. Look for teething rings which contain water only and which are robust enough to withstand constant chewing.
Give your baby something firm to suck on, like tooth rusks.
Offer your baby a cool, wet washer to suck on. First, tie a waterproof bib around their neck to prevent a wet chest. Keep a stock of clean washers nearby so you can rotate through them as needed.
Always speak and check with a qualified nurse or healthcare professional about your baby to understand what your baby’s individual needs are, and to get their advice and strategies on baby teething.