Teething is one phase that spares no parent. Every child has a different teething experience and this makes it quite challenging for parents. There are a few general guidelines and remedies to follow and help your baby through the process of teething. But each of these comes with exceptions to the case. It is best adviced to try a variety of remedies and teething foods to help your child get through this phase.
What are the teething stages?
Babies are usually born with 20 baby (primary) teeth, which start to come in (erupt) at about 6 months of age. The American Dental Association (ADA) has downloadable teeth eruption charts for parents to refer to. Again, these are just rough estimates of timelines as each child is different and some babies may not erupt their first tooth until after their first birthday.
How to tell if baby is teething?
- Swollen gums
- Trouble with sleeping
- Trying to bite, chew, suck on everything
- Flushed cheeks
- Drop in appetite
- Scratching and grabbing at the ears
Your child may experience all or a few of these symptoms.
Teething Foods that soothe the gums
Cold teething foods usually help soothe the swelling in the gums. And combining cold foods with foods that offer some sort of pressure on gums can work in a dual action manner to relieve some of the child’s pain and irritability. For babies below 6 months of age, it is best to breastfeed more often as the sucking action helps soothe the baby.
Here are examples of teething foods that can be offered to soothe the gums after 6 months;
- Chilled fruit in a food mesh type feeder: When babies are not yet very adept at eating and start teething, offer chilled fruit in a food mesh styled feeder and allow baby to suck on it.
- Milksicles: Make a small milk popsicle out of pumped breastmilk. The flavor is familiar and easily acceptable.
- Cold fruit and veg: Chilled fruit is a great option. Many people recommend raw carrot sticks, but I personally found carrots to be a choking hazard especially for very young babies and always steered clear from them. Consider offering chilled watermelon, cucumbers, berries (cut appropriately for baby refer to my article talking about how to offer round fruit to baby led weaning babies), apples, mango, chikoo, kiwi or any fruit that they like.
- Nice cream: An awesome way to serve chilled fruits to the baby in ice cream form without any nasty ingredients is making a homemade nice cream. To make blueberry banana nice cream you need – two frozen bananas, a handful of blueberries, that’s it!. Blitz in a mixy and a yummy frozen dessert is ready for your little one. These are a perfect breakfast and snack option for teething babies. You can add almond flakes or raw cacao nibs as toppings to make it extra fun for toddlers.
- Smoothies and smoothie bowls: These are quick to whip up using ingredients from your fridge. Some of our favorite smoothie flavors are strawberry peanut butter smoothies, chocolate peanut butter smoothies, banana and date smoothies.
With just a few ingredients, you can also assemble a smoothie bowl. My son enjoys the process of making a smoothie bowl. We make an activity out of it, he helps me put ingredients in the mixy and garnish the bowl with his favorite toppings.
For strawberry and banana smoothie bowl – Blend 4 strawberries, 1 large banana, 100 ml soy-milk. Pour into a bowl and add toppings of your choice, example desiccated coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds.
For an avocado smoothie bowl – Blend 1 Avocado, ½ cup fresh tender coconut, a splash of coconut water, garnish with toppings like chia seeds and desiccated coconut.
- Popsicles: Every child’s favorite. Put some fruit in a blender and go crazy with the combinations. Some yummy combinations to try are mango and coconut, chocolate peanut butter, berries and yogurt.
For mango and coconut milk popsicles – Add 1 chilled mango, 200 ml coconut milk and few springs of mint. Blend. Add the mixture to popsicle molds and freeze for a few hours. You can add a tablespoon of maple syrup to make it sweeter or go without it.
There are a few non-cold teething foods that can also help relieve inflammation of the gums
- Natural teething biscuits: I personally didn’t make any kind of teething biscuits for my son. We didn’t feel the need for it. But I understand that some babies may have a lot of pain with teething and in such cases, you try every trick in town. I recommend not buying biscuits from the market for babies under 1 as most biscuits come with some amount of added sugar and other additives that are avoidable. It’s best to make some natural teething biscuits at home. I found this recipe for homemade teething biscuits that are completely natural and healthy for the baby.
- Rice crackers: Add a tablespoon of nut butter, or a little bit of homemade guacamole, or offer it plain. These are amazing when teething. Look for low salt options and once again use sparingly.
- Bread: Make some homemade bread or look for a good quality bread made with organic ingredients, low on sugar and preferably minus all the chemical additives. Little ones are best kept away from processed foods like bread, but when all else fails this is another food you can try to help with teething.
- Dosas: This Indian pancake has a crispy texture that relieves some teething pain. The plain taste of a dosa is an added bonus when children cant tolerate other spicy foods.
- Roasted or sautéed vegetables: Sautee or roast veggies like baby corn, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, and potatoes. These look like a rainbow of colors on the plate which makes them appealing to the eye. And they help apply pressure on the gums when chewing.
The toddler phase of teething aka cutting molars is usually followed by a drop in appetite since chewing is particularly painful. As mothers, we need to come up with creative ways to make foods acceptable and maintain nutrient intake. Preparing softer foods that are easy on the gums is one solution to the problem.
Examples of foods that are acceptable to a teething toddler
- Scrambled eggs: These are easy on the gums and are bland in taste. Scrambled eggs always win when nothing else works.
- Dal khichdi: A simple dal khichdi can be elevated by adding a few finely chopped vegetables. The plate looks colorful and the soft texture helps with swallowing.
- Curd rice: Make the plain old curd rice look yummier by decorating with pomegranate seeds. Making food appealing in colors especially when the kids aren’t feeling too well helps them get excited about eating.
- Soups: One traditional sick day food that you can bank on. Try potato soup, pumpkin soup, broccoli soup, spinach and lentil soup. Each of these combinations packs in on the nutrients so you are assured your child is getting what he needs.
- Pancakes: Soft pancakes sweetened with bananas work wonders on those swollen gums and are readily accepted. Check the recipe for oats pancake in my post on baby led weaning breakfast ideas. Another family favorite is the wheat and ragi pancake I featured in my post on getting the toddler to eat healthily.
- Patties: All types of patties work during teething. You can combine vegetables and potatoes or mince meat and potatoes, whatever way you like. Keep the ratio of potatoes on the higher side to make soft patties. Generally, this soft patty goes down well during the teething days. Keep the spice level low so as not to irritate the swollen gums, using only turmeric and coriander powder.
- Porridge: Make thick oats or sprouted wheat porridge on days you feel your child needs some extra nutrition. Add a teaspoon of nut butter, seeds like chia and hemp and fruit to make it a yummy meal for the toddler. Somedays you can even have porridge as a meal when the toddler cant swallow other solids.
- Pasta and noodles: Another food that won’t be rejected even during the teething phase. Make the pasta dish calorie dense by cooking in a coconut based gravy or making a smooth pesto sauce from almonds.
- Avocados: When all fails plain avocados do the trick. Avocados are soft and easy on the gums filled with healthy fats. For older toddlers add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt to flavor the avocados.
I hope you find this post useful. It was a lot of trial and error until I found the perfect kinds of foods to offer my son every time he went through teething. Some of these may not work for your child or you may strike gold with a few of these. But hopefully, you get some great ideas to help you navigate through the tricky teething phase.
In my next post, I will write about some natural remedies for teething. A combination of good home remedies and home cooked teething foods can help you tide through this phase with confidence. Until next time, Ciao!
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