18 answers

Need Advice for Teething 15 Month Old Who Will Not Eat or Drink

Hi everyone. My 15 month old daughter has been teething really bad since Monday. She has fevers on and off, vomited on Monday night, and is not eating or drinking much. It looks like her molars are coming in and she has about 4 teeth ready to come out(she has 6 teeth already). Her gums are all swollen and her ear right ear bothers her. My husband brought her to the Pediatrician and was advised that teething can cause ear irritation & an ear infection. Thank God she does not have an ear infection. I understand that these symptoms happen with a teething baby, but it scares me. She is only 20 pounds(but is 30.1 inches tall) and she is petite to begin with. She is also very active. I am afraid that she will lose more weight, but I know that this is a reality and I need to cope with it. I have put Humphreys, massaged her gums with an ice pop, given her Tylonel & Motrin. I guess you can say that I am looking for morale support during this difficult time. It breaks my heart to see her suffering.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi, I would like to thank everyone who responded to my request. It is nice to receive such great advice and moral support from other moms during my daughter's difficult teething stage. She is back to her cute self and her appetite is back. All of the recommendations were great and truly appreciated!

Featured Answers

It sounds like you are doing all you can. I hate to see my little ones in pain to so you are not alone. You will get through this!!! One thing to try. Give her a clean washcloth wet with cold water to chew on. She shouldn't be able to get pieces off and it will feel good to her gums. This worked with my 2yo when she was first teething. (I didn't think of it the baby did!!!!) A.

My pediatrician always said to give my children the ice pops to actually eat. If you are worried about her doing it herself, you can either feed it to her bite by bite or get one of those meshy infant feeders. My pediatrician swears by them and says when they are sick and miserable there is no limit...just keep giving them the freezie pops.

Hope she feels better soon!


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oooh, K., I FEEL FOR YOU.

first of all you are doing everything right. i know you can't help but worry, but that is just part of the territory of being a mom. she's in pain, you feel bad about it, that's the story. so hang in there, both of you will get through this.

my son, 3, had nearly no teething issues at all, but my daughter, 17 months, has had a lot, and has had exactly what you describe. she's a chunker so i never worried about too much weight loss. but you know, the babies really know what they need, and if your daughter needs to just eat the minimum, she'll know what that is, and even if she loses another pound or two she will gain it back, i promise.

meanwhile, give her ice cream! she will love it and it's full of fat calories tht she can obviously use and enjoy. give her the good stuff like Hagen Dasz or something, there really is some nutrition in that and it will help her gums feel better, too. plain vanilla! who wouldn't love it on a hot day? also try giving her vanilla full fat yogurt like Stonyfield Farms or something; delicious, cold, and so good for her bod!

also you can give her lots of big chunks of cold watermelon and cantaloup, this is delicious, cold on the gums, sweet, and the natural sugars act as a mild pain reliever. and helps her stay hydrated!

keep giving the tylenol and motrin in appropriate doses; a friend of mine who's a pediatric nurse said that children are painfully undermedicated these days w OTC stuff because everyone's afraid of it. but the EXCESS use of it is what's to fear, not appropriate use. it's the right thing to give her for this difficult period. the less pain she has, the more she can sleep and cope and eat and get through this. also offer her cold water a zillion times a day to keep her hydrated.

please do not give her that Pediasure junk; it's barely more than oil and sugar and will give her a belly ache and it's gross. and don't allow yourself to get too panicked, because if you go to your doctor too much, he or she may send you to the hospital just to make you feel like you're doing something proactive, and that's a disaster. a mom i know was in the same boat as you and she got so spun up about it that her doctor said, "Well, if you want, you could go to the ER and they'll give her an IV." so she did that and it ended up that she was stuck in an ER with her child on an IV just to "prevent the possibility of dehydration" and that child screamed and vomited so from fear that she actually DID get dehydrated and then had to stay in the hospital. all because of panic over teething.

so you, have a cold soda, relax, keep doing wht you're doing and try these other ideas and hang in there. don't worry it only gets worse! (just kidding!)


1 mom found this helpful

We have successfully tried an old Baltic tradition- my son is wearing an amber teething necklace and we notice it certainly takes the edge off of his discomfort. Amber is made of pine resin, which has anti-inflammatory oils which dissolve into the skin due to body heat. The necklaces sell for $15 and up and are knotted around each individual bead to prevent accidents.

Hyland's teething tablets contain a combination of homeopathic remedies designed to cover the gamut of symptoms. You may be able to get an even better result from homeopathy by figuring out which "picture" of symptoms your daughter has. My husband studied classical homeoapthy, and we have been able to determine with both of our children which single remedy (rather than several lumped together) is best suited for each. Here's a simplistic tutorial for the common "ABC" baby remedies:

Aconite- an aconite baby is likely to have a wide-eyed (perhaps with pupils dilated), even anxious or surprised look and tends to toss and turn in sleep with shrieks and often bites fists.

Belladonna- a belladonna baby usually has cheeks RED, swollen, and HOT. They tend to seem angry (although may be normally quite good natured when not teething).

Chamomilla- a chamomile baby is just completely irritable & often has bouts of diarrhea when teething, as well as a red spot on one cheek (and sometimes the other cheek may be quite cold and pale). A chamomilla baby often does not like to chew on anything because pressure aggravates their sore gums. This type of baby often demands to be held and cries if held still or set down; is hard to comfort.

It sounds like you are very compassionate and a gentle mother. I rememember being very afraid too when my son would have fevers and diahrrea while teething, and becoming emotionally worn out from constantly comforting him. What helped me most was an article I read about holistic attitudes towards children's immune responses. It spoke of "honoring the illness"- that the goal of home remedies is not to stop the symptoms, just to reduce the severity. Honor what the body is trying to do and facilitate the conclusion of the process without complications. For vomiting, try to avoid food or liquids for 2 hours. The stomach wants to rest and continuing to add things can prolong the vomiting. Sucking on ice chips or, at your daughter's age, maybe a wet washcloth, until the stomach has had time to rest, then introducing hydarting fluids- coconut water is ideal- and if your child is dangerously dehydrated, you can administer 50% fruit juice diluted with water rectally with a bulb syringe (hopefully it doesn't come to that- this is more for extreme cases like salmonella). But, I found this to be very affirming in that when a child vomits they tend to resist food and water- and so does our dog- for a little while- guess maybe their bodies know what they are doing! For diahrrea, nothing works better than broth- preferably a homemade chicken broth given a few tablespoons at a time. The gelatin in a broth made with not just meat, but bones, binds up liquid in the colon and gives it bulk to stop the loss of fluids. After we roast a chicken I put the carcass in a stockpot with water to cover, carrot, onions, and celery and after bringing it to a boil I let it simmer up to 3 days. Then I strain it and store it in the freezer for such a "healing crisis" as this.

When your child has a fever, holding her is often the most soothing thing you can do. As long as the fever doesn't go over 103 you probably are better off letting it take its course because we generate this type of heat on purpose in response to what our immune system understands we need to facilitate things. Our bodies are very wise, and the holistic attitude to "supressing" symptoms (such as taking pills to make fever diminish) is that rather than a surface acute condition which the body will have a struggle with, then overcome and be stonger for it- supressing the body's struggle will lead to a more chronic, internal problem. Just like with emotions- dealing with difficult situations to resolve them, even if it requires confrontations or turmoil we would rather avoid- facilitates healing rather than stewing over things inside and generating low level long lasting stress which takes a toll and then eventually begins to resurface in worse ways than it started. A child's ability to generate a good fever is a positive sign, because it is exactly this heat pattern which stops pathogens from replicating quickly if an infection is beginning. The more often we supress fever, the less the body will try to generate this heat.

My 14 month old just came down with a sudden fever this evening, and I made sure he was comfortable in cotton clothing so his skin can breathe well and wrapped him up on my chest in a baby carrier and just walked and walked with him in the dusky, calm evening. He just went limp in my arms and completely relaxed, his breathing became steady with mine, and he is now sleeping peacefully in his crib. I think when they sense that we believe in what their body can do to heal itself and we are not worried, they just receive our empathy and progress in their recovery. So cuddle with your baby and sing her a song, and believe in her! You're a great mom.

1 mom found this helpful

I think the best thing that worked w/my two girls is to keep them going w/the motrin every 6-8 hours because once they have none in their system it takes a little longer to help soothe their pain. We swore by the mini-bagels - we would freeze them and just let them chew on it to the point where it was more like a disolving mess. That helped them a lot and the other thing i would do would be to buy a little medicine dropper along w/the pedicare and let them have fun filling it up and squeezing it into their mouths. In a way it was kind of like them being able to do something fun & it helped us to know they were at least getting something. It's difficult a lot of times though because as little as they are we can't totally understand them. Good luck!

My pediatrician always said to give my children the ice pops to actually eat. If you are worried about her doing it herself, you can either feed it to her bite by bite or get one of those meshy infant feeders. My pediatrician swears by them and says when they are sick and miserable there is no limit...just keep giving them the freezie pops.

Hope she feels better soon!



I have an almost 15 month old son. He had a terrible teething week a few weeks back, horrible diaper rash, not sleeping, would not eat (he has been on table food since 9 months) and loves his food! I tried everything and all that seemed to work was italian ices or sherbert by spoon. I also put a pillow in his crib to elevate his head so when he laid flat the pressure eased up a bit. I also piggy backed tylenol/motrin when he had the fever. At day 4 of the fever i took him to the Peditrician who told me it was teething and it will pass. which the next day it did. He has 11 teeth and is cutting 4 more as I type. He has been sleeping through for about a week, but tonight is stirring and moaning again, so I think another 1 will soon pop out. Its horrible on us moms especially when we work full time. I feel you pain and understand all you are going through.

Good luck L.

I didn't have to do this with teething - but my dgtr became very ill with respiratory infection in January and refused all food and most liquids. I used the pipette from her vitamin bottle and as she sat in front of a video, I'd keep pipetting pedialyte into her along with other liquids. She also drank yogurt mixed with liquid to make it drinkable. If you are worried about dehydration - go with pedialyte and as much liquid as you can either pipette - or regular cup. My nephew was teething so badly at 8 or 9 mos that he stopped taking a bottle and refused a sippy - but drank from a regular cup - what a mess - but he never went back either!

As far as keeping liquids up and weight as well - what about milkshakes? Mix milk w/ yogurt and blend some fruit in. Or - freeze yogurt if she'll eat something cold as an 'ice cream' treat that is still healthy - pediasure is another good thing if she'll not really eat, but wants to drink. If any of these seem to work or you want other ideas of how to get food/liquid in - I work with the elderly with swallowing and many times it is creating concoctions to keep food/liquid intake in. There is truth to the circle of life and most of these are good for little ones too!!

Good luck and I'm so sorry your little one is suffering - it really is just an awful tug at your heart - isn't it? She knows how much you love her though and hopefully soon it will all be over!

K., you're not alone. I'm going through the same thing! Gracie won't eat much at a sitting, only wants a bottle...can't get her to drink from a sippy cup except for water and she's not sleeping well! We've tried Tylenol at night and during the day. It seems to help a little. I don't know what else to do. Just have to ride it out I guess.

It's an old wives tale that teething causes fevers. Fevers are caused by illness. Teething is not an illness. It may cause ear problems though, including infections. I know you said you had her ears checked. It may have been too soon to see an infection. Sometimes the infection is on the other side of the ear drum and can't be seen until it travels to the outer ear. I would take her back to the doctor and have him check again.

In the meantime a lot of good advise of what to feed her has been suggested. Especially the frozen foods. Remember....no child has ever starved to death with food in front of them! And keep in mind.....this will only last a short time. Once she cuts the molars she will be able to eat a lot of foods she couldn't eat before. Be ready to try some different foods then.

Some people suggested the Hyland's teething tablets - they are wonderful! Just DO NOT try the Lil'Rememdies brand teething tablets. They do not work, they do not dissolve like the Hylands. Just trying to stop you making a mistake I made.

When my son was teething he would be fine all day , but would start yelling and crying as soon as we put him in his crib. It was like once he stopped going he realized he was in pain. We would then give him 2-3 tablets and he would go right to sleep. I think they must work instantly!

hi K..
my daughter is 16 months but she already has all her molars, and what helped with teething was homeopathic teething tablets (no name - just teething tablets) from Hyland's. You can find them in CVS, Walgreen or Rite Aid. Try them, if the teething is the only problem, it should help. Meanwhile if she feels better, she'd start eating. Good luck.

When my youngest was really sick he wasn't eating or drinking. His pediatrician had me give him 1 tsp of Pedialite every 5 minutes for 4 hours. It was really hard but it worked! It helped him get back on track taking fluids.
But the main thing you can do is comfort her. Just love on your baby girl and keep doing what you're doing. She'll respond to the love. Best of luck!

What great suggestions for remedies to try. I can't offer anything like this as my 17 mos old has had no difficulty at all with teething. What I can offer you is the moral support you asked for. It is VERY hard to see your child suffering. Duncan had colic his first 3 months. Holding him while he cried for hours not being able to sooth him was horrible and sometimes I cried right along with him. I did everything I could to make him feel better - fennel tea, milacon, gripe water, a warm rice sock on his belly, white noise in a dimly lit room - sometimes it helped but most times it didn't. It was a long 3 months. So I can totally relate to what you must be feeling right now. It is the mama's job to ease our children's pain and when we can't we feel their pain right along with them. Geez, Duncan bumps his head and I feel it! I will keep you in my thoughts and hope that she gets through this rough patch quickly.

Keep in touch and let us know how you and she are doing.


This may sound totally off the wall but besides alternating the tylenol/motrin. I was able to soothe my daughter by giving her frozen pancakes (you know the ones you microwave). I bought the tiny silver dollar ones I think by Aunt Jemima or something and gave her one at a time. She would chew on them and it would soothe her and she would be eating in the process. Worst part of the whole thing was that as she grew out of the teething she wanted to eat her pancakes frozen. Luckily she's 10 now and heats them up.

Hi K.
You have tried all the normal things --- good job.
Now it is time to try some less conventional things -- one would be call and talk to the nurse at the MD's office. She might have some tips, or think this is enough to make an office visit. Don't discount that. Underweight children do have other issues.
In the meantime. Freeze up ice cream instead of popsicles, or ice pops. Most kids can swollen down spaghettios without chewing. Frozen yogurt. Frozen veggies might be chewed on. Well I am sure that you get the idea and can be inventive. Working full time is hard because you don't know what is happening unless you have more than just a reliable sitter.
God bless and hope the teeth come in quickly & that resolves the problem.
K. SAHM for 38 years 4 kids including twins who are headed to college this fall.

try this stuff, it was a miracle for me. i found it at Target, but if you go to the website, it will tell you where else it is sold. it is Gentle Naturals Homeopathic Teething drops-essentially just chamomile so it is safe for 4 months on up. i had a set of twins that were both teething monsters and this got me through it. i believe the website is gentlenaturals.com and it has winnie the pooh on the box. good luck!

It sounds like you are doing all you can. I hate to see my little ones in pain to so you are not alone. You will get through this!!! One thing to try. Give her a clean washcloth wet with cold water to chew on. She shouldn't be able to get pieces off and it will feel good to her gums. This worked with my 2yo when she was first teething. (I didn't think of it the baby did!!!!) A.

The molars are very tough. You want to make sure she stays hydrated. Little ones get dehydrated very easily. Make sure she gets at least 2 teaspoons (10cc) of liquid every hour. Also you may want to get her some pediasure if you are worried about her not eating. A good way to give her the liquids is get one of those medicine syringes and you can squirt it in her mouth. Good luck, it'll be over soon!

Hi K., Some children have a really hard time teething. It is so sad to see them suffer but it will pass. I know an ice pop is a good idea as well as some frozen yogurt wiil feel good on sore gums. I know from raising 5 children that she WILL eat when she is hungry. You might try freezing some fruit. Sliced peaches are sweet and delicious. My mom used to give my children pretzel rods with salt on them and said it would help. Being a mom is not easy but you are doing the best you can. Hang in there!!! Grandma Mary

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