Baby doesn’t eat when teething [Reasons & Solutions]

Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Verified by Edna Skopljak MD

Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.

Teething can be an uncomfortable experience, and it is not uncommon for babies to lose their appetite while teething. As parents, it can be challenging to see our little ones in distress or to watch them miss meals, but there are several reasons why your baby may not be eating when teething, and we’ve outlined them below, along with some solutions.

Reasons Why Your Baby doesn’t Eat when Teething:

Pain and Discomfort

When babies start to have teeth, their gums can be swollen and sore. The discomfort associated with teething is often the main reason a baby won’t eat during this time. Swollen gums can make it difficult for a baby to eat, especially if a new tooth is emerging.

Loss of Interest

Teething can be tiring, and babies may lose interest in eating due to fatigue. Teething can also interfere with a baby’s sleep schedule, leading to crankiness and a lack of interest in eating.

Oral Sensitivity

Babies may be extra sensitive to foods during teething. In addition, the new sensation of having an emerging tooth can make chewing and swallowing uncomfortable. This can lead to babies being less inclined to eat.

Solutions to Help Your Baby Eat When Teething:

Distract & Distraction Toys

Distraction can help reduce teething pain. You can give your babies toys during meals to distract their focus from the pain. Something to chew, such as a wet washcloth in the refrigerator, can be of great help also. It may help distract and soothe their gums while they are eating.

Soft Foods

Offer soft foods that are easy to chew, such as mashed potatoes or yogurt. These types of food can be easier to digest and should cause less discomfort in the gums. Avoid hard, crunchy, sticky foods as they may be too uncomfortable for a baby’s tender gums while teething.

Teething Gels

Teething gels can help numb a baby’s gums and reduce pain. However, it is essential to read the directions on the package and speak to your pediatrician before using any teething gel or medication.

Cold Soothing Treats

Try offering a cold treat to soothe your baby’s gums. For example, you can provide a chilled teething ring or a frozen fruit or vegetable such as cucumber. It can help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with teething.

Stay Positive

It is essential to stay positive during meals and not get frustrated if your baby doesn’t eat. Babies are intuitive and may become anxious or overwhelmed if they sense a hostile atmosphere. Talk to your little one in a soothing tone, offer distractions and have patience during meal times while their teeth emerge.


Teething is a difficult time for both parents and babies alike. It’s normal for a baby to experience eating difficulties during teething, but you don’t have to accept it as an unavoidable part of the process! By trying some of the solutions outlined above, you should find success in encouraging your little one to eat again. With these tips in mind, you’ll soon find that mealtime with your teething baby will become more accessible!