Understanding Teething: Sleeping More, Eating Less

As a parent, you’re likely to have heard horror stories about the teething process. Teething can be a difficult time for both babies and parents, but it’s a normal part of development. It’s essential to understand the changes that occur during this stage to provide your little one with the necessary support and care.

Teething symptoms can vary from one baby to another, but there are some common signs to watch out for, including increased fussiness, drooling, and swollen gums. Additionally, teething can affect your baby’s sleep and eating patterns.

It’s normal for babies to sleep more and eat less than usual during teething. The discomfort and pain associated with teething can make it challenging for them to feed and sleep as they usually would. However, if your baby experiences severe symptoms or shows signs of distress, it’s essential to seek medical advice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Teething is a normal part of development, but it can be challenging for babies and parents.
  • Teething symptoms include increased fussiness, drooling, and swollen gums.
  • Babies may sleep more and eat less than usual during teething.
  • If your baby experiences severe symptoms or shows signs of distress, seek medical advice.
  • Knowing what to expect during the teething process can help you provide your little one with the necessary support and care.

teething sleeping more eating less

What is Teething?

Teething happens when your baby’s primary teeth start to emerge from the gums. It’s a natural process that usually starts when babies are between 6 and 12 months old. However, some babies may start teething earlier or later than this timeframe, which is also considered normal behavior.

Teething is a gradual process that can last for several months, with teeth appearing one by one. Normally, a baby has all of their primary teeth by the age of three.

During teething, the tooth breaks through the gum, which can cause discomfort and irritability. As a result, babies may drool more than usual and want to chew on objects to relieve the pressure.

If you’re unsure whether your baby is teething or experiencing any other issues, it’s always a good idea to consult your pediatrician. They can help you determine what is considered normal behavior for your little one.

Teething Symptoms

Teething can cause a range of symptoms for your little one, from mild discomfort to more severe pain. Understanding these symptoms can help you identify when your baby is teething and provide appropriate relief.

Gum Discomfort

When babies are teething, the pressure from teeth pushing against the gums can cause discomfort and pain. Your baby may show signs of this discomfort by rubbing their gums with their fingers or by chewing on objects to alleviate the pressure.

Tip: Offer a clean, chilled teething toy to your baby to help soothe their gums.


Teething can also cause increased drooling in babies. While this is a natural response to the teething process, excessive drooling can cause skin irritation.

Tip: Keep a soft cloth or bib on hand to wipe your baby’s chin and prevent skin irritation.

Fussiness and Irritability

Teething can make babies feel irritable and fussy due to the discomfort and pain caused by the teeth pushing through the gums. This can affect sleep patterns and eating habits as well.

Tip: Offer extra comfort and cuddles to your baby during this time to help soothe them.

Changes in Eating Habits

During teething, babies may experience changes in their eating habits due to the discomfort caused by pressure on their gums. They may refuse to eat or drink, or may want to nurse or bottle-feed more frequently as sucking can help alleviate the discomfort.

Tip: Offer your baby soft, cold foods to help soothe their gums, or try offering a chilled teething ring before mealtime to help alleviate discomfort.

Mild Fever

It’s not uncommon for babies to experience a mild fever when teething. This is generally nothing to be concerned about and can be managed with appropriate fever-reducing medication.

Tip: Consult with your pediatrician before administering any medication to your baby, and follow the recommended dosage carefully.

Overall, it’s important to monitor your baby’s teething symptoms and offer appropriate relief as needed. By understanding what to expect during this process, you can help your little one navigate this developmental milestone with ease.

Teething and Sleep Patterns

It’s not uncommon for babies to experience changes in their sleep patterns during the teething process. Some babies may sleep more, while others may sleep less due to discomfort or pain. This is a normal behavior and nothing to be alarmed about.

If your baby is sleeping more than usual, allow them to rest. Sleep is essential for your baby’s growth and development, and it can also help them cope with the discomfort of teething.

However, if your little one is having trouble sleeping, there are some strategies you can try to help them get the rest they need. For example, you could try establishing a consistent bedtime routine, such as reading a book or singing a lullaby, to help your baby relax and fall asleep. You could also consider offering a pacifier or a chilled teething toy to help soothe sore gums.

Managing Disrupted Sleep

If your baby’s sleep patterns are disrupted by teething, it’s important to be patient and flexible. You may need to adjust your own sleep schedule to accommodate your baby’s needs.

It’s also important to ensure your baby’s sleep environment is safe and comfortable. Make sure the room is cool and dark, and avoid placing anything in the crib that could be a suffocation hazard, such as loose blankets or stuffed animals.

In some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers or teething gels may be necessary to help ease your baby’s discomfort and allow them to get the rest they need. However, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before giving your baby any medication.

Teething and Eating Habits

It’s common for teething babies to experience changes in their eating habits. Some babies may eat less, while others may seek comfort through increased nursing or bottle feeding. These changes are normal and typically temporary.

Teething can cause discomfort in your little one’s mouth, making it uncomfortable to eat. In addition, babies may experience increased drooling, which can make it difficult to swallow food. However, it’s important to ensure your baby is getting adequate nutrition during this time.

Here are some strategies to manage teething-related changes in your baby’s eating habits:

  • Offer soft, easy-to-eat foods that are gentle on your baby’s mouth, such as mashed bananas or cooked vegetables.
  • Try to keep your baby hydrated by offering breastmilk, formula, or water frequently.
  • Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away excess drool before feedings.
  • Consider offering a chilled teething toy before feeding to help soothe your baby’s gums.

If your baby continues to refuse feedings or is losing weight, it’s important to consult with your pediatrician to ensure there are no underlying issues causing the change in eating habits.

Managing Teething Discomfort

Teething can cause pain and discomfort for your little one, but there are various techniques you can use to alleviate these symptoms.

Offer Chilled Teething Toys

Chewing on a chilled teething toy can help ease the discomfort caused by teething. You can refrigerate or freeze teething toys before giving them to your baby, but make sure not to freeze them too hard as it can damage your baby’s gums. Alternatively, you can wrap a clean washcloth around a chilled teething toy to provide your baby with some relief.

Gently Massage Your Baby’s Gums

A gentle gum massage can provide soothing relief for your teething baby. Using a clean finger or a moistened gauze pad, gently rub your baby’s gums in a circular motion. This can help alleviate pain and discomfort, and also help the teeth break through the gums.

Use Over-the-Counter Remedies

Over-the-counter teething remedies, such as topical gels and teething tablets, can help reduce pain and discomfort. However, make sure to check with your pediatrician before using any medication, as some remedies may not be suitable for your baby.

Maintain a Normal Routine

It’s important to maintain your baby’s normal routine as much as possible during the teething process. Keeping things consistent can help your baby feel secure and comfortable, and can also provide a sense of normalcy during this stage of development.

By using these techniques, you can help alleviate your baby’s teething discomfort and ensure they remain comfortable and happy during this important stage of development.

When to Be Concerned

While teething is a normal part of your baby’s development, there are some signs that may indicate a problem. If you notice any of the following teething symptoms, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider:

  • Fever: A fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit is not a common symptom of teething. It may indicate an infection or illness.
  • Persistent crying: While some fussiness is normal during teething, if your baby cries for extended periods without relief, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.
  • Refusal to eat or drink: While a decrease in appetite is common during teething, if your baby refuses to eat or drink for more than a few hours, they could become dehydrated.
  • Diarrhea or vomiting: While loose stools can be a symptom of teething, if your baby has diarrhea or vomiting that lasts for more than a few days, it could indicate a gastrointestinal issue.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your baby’s health. Your healthcare provider can help you determine if your baby is experiencing normal teething symptoms or if there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.


Teething can be a challenging time for both parents and babies, but it’s important to remember that changes in sleep and eating patterns are normal behaviors during this stage. Don’t be alarmed if your little one is sleeping more and eating less than usual – it’s all part of the teething process.

Remember to stay patient and understanding as your baby navigates this stage. You can help manage teething discomfort by offering chilled teething toys, gentle gum massages, and over-the-counter remedies.

However, if you notice any concerning teething symptoms or behaviors, such as a high fever or excessive crying, it’s important to seek medical advice.

Overall, teething can be tough, but with the right approach, you and your baby can make it through this stage. Keep in mind that it’s temporary, and soon enough, your little one will be flashing their adorable new teeth.