Teething and the fuss about feeding

Help soothe your baby’s pain with these tips.

August 8, 2016 - Author: , and Heather Elia, CMU Dietetic Intern

As a parent or caregiver, watching your little one struggle with pain can be very overwhelming. Babies don’t understand why they are feeling sore and you can’t help but try everything in your power to relieve their pain.

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, there is a range of ages when your baby will start teething, however, many babies begin teething at 4-15 months and will have a full set of baby teeth by age 3. The severity of symptoms will also vary from baby to baby, experiencing symptoms such as excessive drooling, gag reflexes, coughing, biting, bleeding, crying and refusal to feed.

Trying to feed an achy baby can be pretty challenging. The primary goal is to minimize pain as much as possible and making sure your baby is adequately nourished. Thankfully there are some strategies you can use to help.

Strategies for teething babies and feeding time

Teething toys

The next time you offer a teething toy to your child, try refrigerating it to create a soothing piece for your little one’s gums.  Do not freeze teething toys. The American Academy of Pediatrics, reports that freezing teething toys cause extreme temperatures that may cause damage to your baby’s gums.

Chilled washcloth

Babies love to gnaw on items when they are teething, especially cold ones. Place a clean wet washcloth in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes, and see if your baby finds relief with it. 

Unsweetened teething crackers

Some babies don’t find comfort in cold items but an unsweetened teething cracker might do the trick. The hard cracker alongside baby’s gums tends to provide a sense of relief with the added benefit of nutritional content. If unsweetened crackers are unavailable near you, try making your own.  (Make sure that your baby is old enough to eat solids before attempting this one.)

Here is a sugar- free sample recipe from Wholesome BabyFood’s blog:

Ingredients:

1 cup quick oats

1 cup ground oats (grind oats and make a coarse oat flour)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon/ginger/cardamom/nutmeg

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup ("*"*~>Michigan State University Extension recommends trying these strategies as they may assist with making mealtime more comfortable for your baby. It is important to remember to never force-feed your child; it is perfectly safe for them to avoid feeding for a day. Hang in there, the pain will eventually subside and your baby will make up for missed feedings the next day. If you feel it’s been too long without feedings, call your pediatrician to be safe as the pain may be related to another underlying cause.

Tags: family, food & health, msu extension


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