Teething Troubles: Why Babies May Cut Back on Milk Consumption

There’s no doubt that teething is a challenging phase for both babies and parents alike. From swollen gums to aching teeth, it’s a milestone that can cause stress and discomfort for little ones. But have you ever wondered if teething could also affect your baby’s milk intake? Many parents have asked the question: “Do babies drink less milk when teething?” In this article, we’ll explore the possible effects of teething on a baby’s milk consumption and provide some tips to help ease this common concern. So let’s dive in and discover the truth behind this age-old question.

The connection between teething and feeding

Teething is a natural process that every baby goes through, usually beginning around six months of age. During this time, your baby’s new teeth are emerging from their gums, which can become irritated and sore. The discomfort of teething can lead to changes in a baby’s feeding patterns, making it seem like they are drinking less milk. However, there is no direct connection between teething and feeding, but there are several reasons why a baby may appear to drink less milk when they are teething.

Distractions and discomfort

When a baby is in pain or discomfort from teething, it can be challenging for them to focus on eating. The irritation in their gums can be distracting and cause them to fuss more than usual while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. This distraction can make it difficult for them to latch onto the nipple or bottle correctly, leading to interrupted feedings and potentially less milk consumption.

In addition to the physical discomfort, teething often comes with increased drooling and facial rashes, which can cause further irritation during feedings. Babies may also develop a low-grade fever during teething, which can make them feel more uncomfortable and affect their appetite.

Gum sensitivity

Babies who are cutting new teeth may experience sensitivity in their gums. This sensitivity can make sucking at the breast or bottle uncomfortable for them, causing them to pull away or refuse to eat altogether.

To alleviate this discomfort during feedings, you can try gently massaging your baby’s gums with a clean finger or offering them something cold to chew on before or after eating. You may also need to experiment with different breastfeeding positions or try using a slower-flow nipple on the bottle if your baby seems fussy while feeding.

Change in routine

The process of teething often disrupts a baby’s routine. They may be sleeping less, fussier, or more clingy than usual. These changes in behavior can also affect their feeding patterns and make it seem like they are drinking less milk.

Additionally, many parents introduce solid foods around the same time that their baby starts teething. These new foods can be exciting for babies, leading them to be more interested in trying solids than drinking milk. As a result, some babies may gradually reduce the amount of milk they consume during this stage.

The myth of reduced milk supply

One common belief is that teething reduces a mother’s milk supply, leading to less milk for the baby to drink. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. It is normal for a mother’s supply to fluctuate throughout her breastfeeding journey, and it is unlikely that teething would cause a sudden decrease in supply.

In fact, frequent breastfeeding or expressing during this time can help maintain and even increase milk supply. The sucking action of a baby stimulates the production of breast milk and helps relieve any discomfort caused by engorgement or plugged ducts.

How to ensure your baby still gets enough milk while teething

Even though it is common for babies to appear to drink less milk when they are teething, it is essential to ensure your little one is still getting enough breast milk or formula for their nutritional needs. Here are some tips to encourage your baby to continue drinking enough while going through the teething process:

Offer smaller and more frequent feedings

If your baby seems fussy or uncomfortable while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding due to teething pain, try offering smaller but more frequent feedings throughout the day. This way, your baby gets the nutrition they need without overwhelming them with too much at once.

Try different textures

Some babies may find it more comfortable to drink from a bottle with a different texture, such as a soft spout or straw, while teething. Experiment with different options to see what your baby prefers.

For breastfed babies, you can try pumping and feeding them from a bottle during this time. This way, they can still get the benefits of breast milk without the potential discomfort caused by breastfeeding.

Keep your baby hydrated

Introducing solids and drinking less milk can increase the risk of dehydration in babies. Make sure your little one is getting enough fluids throughout the day by offering them sips of water between feedings. You may also want to offer breast milk or formula in a cup rather than a bottle if your baby is showing less interest in drinking.

Consult with your healthcare provider

If you are concerned that your baby is not consuming enough milk while teething, it is always best to consult with your pediatrician or lactation consultant. They can provide personalized advice and support on how to maintain proper nutrition for your baby during this stage.

Teething can be a challenging time for both babies and parents. The process often leads to changes in feeding patterns, which may make it seem like babies are drinking

What is Teething?

Teething is a natural process where a baby’s teeth start to emerge through their gums. It usually begins around six months of age and can continue until the child is around three years old. Teething can be a challenging time for both babies and parents as it can cause discomfort, irritability, and disrupted sleep.

The most common symptoms of teething are swollen or red gums, excessive drooling, fussiness, and trouble sleeping. Some babies may also experience a slight fever, diarrhea, or mild rash. While many parents believe that teething causes more significant health problems such as frequent colds or ear infections, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

How might teething affect a baby’s milk intake?

During the teething process, babies may experience discomfort in their mouths that make them reluctant to eat. The pressure from the emerging teeth on the gums can cause pain and discomfort while sucking on a bottle or breastfeeding. As a result, some babies may refuse to drink milk from their usual source.

Moreover, when babies are in pain or feeling irritable due to teething, they may not have an appetite for food or milk. This lack of interest in eating can eventually lead to a decrease in milk intake.

However, every baby is different and may show different reactions when teething. Some babies might continue eating normally despite having sore gums, while others may experience a significant decrease in their milk intake.

How do you know if your baby is drinking less milk due to teething?

If your baby has recently started teething and you notice that they are drinking less milk than usual, it could be because of their swollen and uncomfortable gums. Parents should look out for signs such as crying while sucking on the bottle or breast, fussiness during feeding times, or simply refusing to feed altogether.

It is also essential to keep track of the baby’s weight and wet diapers. A decrease in milk intake can result in weight loss and a decrease in the frequency of wet diapers. If you notice any significant changes, it is best to consult your pediatrician.

What can parents do to help their teething babies drink more milk?

As a parent, it can be stressful to see your little one experiencing discomfort during teething. However, there are some methods that you can try to help your baby continue their regular milk intake:

– Offer different textures: Some babies may prefer softer or harder nipples on their bottles or different flow speeds. Experiment with different options to find what works best for your baby.

– Try a cold bottle or breast milk: The cool temperature can help soothe your baby’s sore gums and make them more willing to drink.

– Use a teething toy before feeding: Chewing on a cool teething toy or washcloth before feeding can help numb your baby’s gums and reduce their discomfort while eating.

– Massage the gums: Gently massaging your baby’s gums with clean fingers or a chilled spoon can provide some relief and make them more likely to eat.

When should parents be concerned about their baby’s milk intake during teething?

In most cases, babies will return to their usual milk intake once the uncomfortable symptoms of teething subside. As long as they are still gaining weight and have enough wet diapers, there is usually no cause for concern.

However, if you notice that your baby has not been eating well for an extended period, is losing weight rapidly, or has not had a wet diaper in eight hours, it is essential to consult your pediatrician. They can assess if there are any underlying issues contributing to the decreased milk intake and provide the necessary treatment.

Teething is a natural process that can cause discomfort and irritability in babies. While some babies may experience a decrease in their milk intake during this time, it is usually temporary and should not be a cause for concern as long as they are still gaining weight and having enough wet diapers.

Parents can try different methods to help their teething baby continue their regular milk intake, such as offering different textures or using a cold bottle. However, if you have any concerns about your baby’s milk intake or development during teething, do not hesitate to consult your pediatrician for reassurance and guidance. Remember, every baby is unique and may react differently during the teething process.

Q: How does teething affect a baby’s milk consumption?
A: Teething can cause discomfort and pain in babies, leading to a decreased appetite and lower milk intake.

Q: Should I be concerned if my baby is drinking less milk while teething?
A: While a decrease in milk intake during teething is common, it is important to make sure your baby is still getting enough fluids through other sources, such as water or formula.

Q: Can teething make my baby refuse to breastfeed?
A: Yes, the pressure from teething can make latching onto the breast uncomfortable for babies, causing them to refuse breastfeeding. Try using different feeding positions or offering a cold teething toy before breastfeeding.

Q: How can I soothe my baby’s teething pain so they will continue to drink milk regularly?
A: You can try giving your baby a cold washcloth to chew on, massaging their gums with a clean finger, or offering them chilled foods like pureed fruits or yoghurt. If the pain persists, consult with your pediatrician.

Q: Will my baby’s teeth be affected if they drink less milk while teething?
A: As long as your baby is getting proper nutrition through alternative sources such as solid foods and liquids like formula or water, their teeth should still develop normally.

Q: Can I give my baby pain relievers for their teething discomfort?
A: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using over-the-counter pain relievers for teething babies. Instead, try home remedies like chilled teething toys or rubbing their gums with a clean finger. If you are considering using medication, consult with your pediatrician first.

In conclusion, the question of whether babies drink less milk when teething has been a topic of interest for many parents and healthcare professionals. After examining various studies and research on the subject, it can be concluded that there is no direct correlation between teething and a decrease in milk consumption. While some babies may experience a temporary decrease in milk intake during the teething process, it is not a general trend and can be easily managed with proper care and attention.

Furthermore, it is important to note that a variety of factors such as developmental changes, illness, and feeding habits can also impact a baby’s desire to drink milk. Parents should not panic if their baby shows signs of decreased milk intake during teething, but rather monitor their overall well-being and make necessary adjustments.

Additionally, experts recommend continuing breastfeeding or formula feeding as usual during the teething process as both provide essential nutrients for a growing child. It is also important to offer soft and soothing foods during this time to aid in relieving discomfort.

Overall, while there may be some anecdotal evidence suggesting that babies drink less milk when teething, it should not be assumed as a general rule. Each child is unique and may have different responses to the teething process. As always, consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized advice

Author Profile

Lian Chikako Chang
Welcome to Littldata! Our mission is to help parents streamline their family logistics with practical tools and insights. Whether you’re managing school schedules, extracurricular activities, or family outings.

Littldata offers an array of calendars, maps, lists, and spreadsheets designed to simplify your life. Our content is deeply rooted in research, ensuring that you have access to reliable and data-driven information.

Hi, I’m Lian Chikako Chang. I’m a data researcher and mom living in San Francisco. At Littldata, my goal is to help parents figure out their family logistics by sharing calendars, maps, lists, and spreadsheets–as well as research-backed blog posts and data graphics.

From 2024, I have embarked on a new journey of writing an informative blog on the “Littldata” niche.

In this blog, I strive to provide valuable insights and answer queries on topics that parents frequently seek out. My focus is on creating content that is not only practical but also backed by thorough research.