Feeding A Teething Baby | Introduction
Feeding a teething baby can be a difficult exercise. Whether it’s because your bubba has a nibble on your nipple while breastfeeding, or because they won’t feed at all, these are things that a lot of mums experience as a result of feeding a teething baby. Before this page, it wasn’t a topic with in depth information that was readily available online. I personally didn’t have too much of an issue with it but some friends of mine had some issues with feeding their teething babies! I’ve compiled a page devoted to feeding a teething baby with all the essential information you’ll need on the topic with the aim of helping you and your teething baby.
Feeding A Teething Baby | General Notes
Usually teeth don’t start coming through until about 6 or 7 months, but can sometimes come through earlier (for example, 2 of my 3 kids had teeth at 4 months!). Baby teething is when their little teeth start breaking though the skin in their mouth, so it naturally becomes an interference with feeding. Babies will do everything from biting on things (including nipples) to exert ‘counter pressure’ onto their gums (the counter pressure takes the blood flow from the point of pain and so removes the pain temporarily), all way to stopping feeding altogether. because the pain is too much for them. Here are some general tips on feeding a teething baby:
- Massage their gums to counter the pressure - doing this with teething gel is also helpful.
- Give her a chewing toy to gnaw on before feeding – cold ones are the best (I love Sophie The Giraffe the best, as you can see..).
- Cold Drinks (over 6 months) - the cold liquid restricts the blood flow to the painful spot (as with cold toys above).
- Cold Food - cold fruit etc (if onto solids).
- Cold Bottle Nipple in the fridge – see below on bottle feeding and teething tips.
- Pain Killers - only as a last resort and always consult your doctor and chemist on this.
Breast Feeding A Teething Baby
Lots of babies continue to breastfeed while they are teething and don’t have any significant disruptions. Because breastfeeding is both a feeding and comforting/bonding time, they usually just nurse through it. However, there are two common issues with breastfeeding that can occur:
- Baby not taking the nipple ‘ ‘nursing strike”; and
- Baby chewing on your nipple while feeding (ouch!).
Not Taking the Nipple
Some babies go on a ‘nursing strike’ and don’t want to breastfeed while they teethe. A nursing strike usually only lasts a couple of days, but if it lasts longer consult your doctor. While your baby doesn’t feed and if you are exclusively breastfeeding, you will need to express milk to keep your breast milk flowing in the meantime. If your baby is hungry, however, she will almost always feed regardless, so don’t worry too much about your baby starving.
Chewing On Mum’s Nipple
Sometimes babies can chew or gnaw on your nipple, which is the most common of the two problems. It can also be quite painful and a big shock when it first happens! In order to bite they actually need to stop suckling, so you will generally feel this before they bite. If they do bite, and after you’ve jumped out of your chair, here’s a few tips that I have found helpful:
- Take a break – Depriving them of the breast for a bit and making them go hungry (temporarily) is a good way for them to learn.
- Slip your finger in between their mouth and nipple, then take a break.
- Stop feeding, put her down and pretend the feed is over. Do it straight after they bite.
- Raise your voice and say ‘NO’. Talk to them quite loudly and harshly. Don’t scream it into their ear so it bursts their eardrum, just be firm. Then take a break.
- Try all of the above and it should do the trick!
If she latches on and doesn’t let go, pull her into your chest quite tightly rather than pulling away. You could also try squeezing her nose gently and temporarily so she has difficulty breathing. That way mum’s nipple remains attached to mum and they actually let go because they are squished up against the nipple (or have a blocked nose as the case may be) and find it harder to take a breath. Whatever you do don’t hold them up against your breast for longer than a few seconds as you definitely do not want to suffocate them! They will almost always let go after they find it difficult to take in air, but if they dont after a few seconds, pull back or take your hand off their nose.
Bottle Feeding A Teething Baby
Babies who are bottle feeding and teething can often refuse the bottle as well. In order to get them back onto the bottle you should try some of the techniques above on relieving the babies discomfort FIRST, then try to feed her. If she continues to refuse the bottle and you are mixed feeding, breastfeed her in the meantime, then try doing this:
- Put your bottle nipple in the freezer for 10 minutes, and in the meantime give them a cold teething toy to play with.
- After the nipple is nice and cold, take the toy away from them for 30 seconds, then try feed them with the bottle with the nice cold nipple.
We hope you enjoyed this page on feeding a teething baby! If you’re done, please leave us your own tips onfeeding a teething baby in the comments section below! Otherwise please continue on with our Bottle Feeding Bible
Although the information on this page includes well thought-out, educated opinions, and all care has been taken putting it together, it is intended to be a guide only, and is NOT intended to be medical or other professional advice. The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, and you should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional on all issues relating to you, your baby or otherwise. We, any of our related entities, the author, or any other person or entity associated with the creation of this page or website does not accept any liability for any loss of any nature whatsoever arising out of them, and none of those parties shall be held liable to any extent whatsoever for any such loss.