Ask a Dentist

September 29, 2021

Q: What Should I Feed My Teething Baby?

Baby held in a woman's arm being fed formula

As parents, we always worry about doing the best for our children. Let’s take some of that worry off your plate and talk about teething. 

When your baby starts teething or when the first tooth erupts, it’s time to take your little one to their first dentist appointment at Dental Image Therapy Centres. They’ll start teething generally between four to six months of age. 

Teething can be an exciting moment until your baby starts to fuss because of the pain and discomfort. Often teething will come with symptoms such as irritability, drooling and swollen gums. Another symptom is a lessening of appetite.

Where Is My Baby’s Appetite?

Like adults, babies may not eat much when they are feeling under the weather. As new teeth erupt, the baby’s gums swell and are tender to touch. Any food in their mouth can cause more pain.

But, this doesn’t happen to every baby. The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) says only about one-third of teething babies lose their appetite. 

When Will My Baby’s Teething Affect Their Appetite?

Children begin to lose their appetite when their canines (the pointy teeth at either side of your front four) emerge – this will likely happen around 16 to 22 months old. Though, there are still parents who say their children are fussy with their meals even before then.

Which Foods Are Best For A Teething Baby?

Until their teeth erupt, most babies are nursing or given formula. The best time to introduce new foods to them is when those baby teeth come in. Some of these foods can include:

  • Soft foods – As they begin to teeth, your child may be comfortable experimenting with new textures in foods. Try serving tiny bites of soft foods like pureed fruits and vegetables or a soft risotto. These foods aren’t likely to cause discomfort because the food will have minimal contact with their sore gums.
  • Cold or chilled foods – These foods can help soothe their burning gums. Mashed fruits or vegetables straight from the fridge like avocado or strawberries will help numb the pain.
  • Hard foods – Chewing or biting down on hard foods provide counterpressure to the rising tooth. For babies six months and older, try feeding them baby foods such as carrot sticks, green beans or bread crusts. Be careful to avoid foods that present a choking hazard - cutting them down to small pieces, less than a centimetre wide and tall will help avoid choking hazards.

When choosing foods, limit the amount of sugar you give your child as it can cause tooth decay to baby teeth too.

Should I Worry About Their Eating Habits?

If your baby isn’t consuming much during their meal times but is drinking their usual amount of milk, there’s no need to worry. If you notice that your child has been going on a hunger strike for a few days, you can visit your pediatrician or general practitioner about this.

We encourage parents to have patience; caring for their teething child can be a difficult and trying time. And remember, it’s never too early to start an oral care routine. 

If this is your first time caring for a baby’s first teeth, check out our previous Ask A Dentists blog to learn more about how to promote their oral health.

Feel free to book an appointment with us today at our Dental Image Therapy Centres clinics at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre to discuss how to care for your child’s teeth and catch any issues before they develop into bigger problems.

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