BREASTFEEDING AND TEETHING
The terror a mother might feel when their little one starts teething is understandable. Nursing with dry, chapped and cracked nipples, with the added worry that you breast might get chomped down on. OUCH!!
There are so many changes happening once the child starts teething. Don’t get overwhelmed, mumma! Dentist Auntie is here to help.
All You Need to Know About Breastfeeding While Your Baby’s Teething
The Baby’s Latch Changes
All of a sudden the baby doesn’t latch as well as he/ she used to. Sometimes, a teething baby has a stuffy nose and latching becomes a problem because the baby cannot breathe. Also, not taking the entire areole into the mouth allows breast milk to pool around the newly erupting teeth later leading to nursing decay in some children. Simple solution of retraining the baby to open his/her mouth wide before latching reduces these problems. Use your pinky finger to help your child his/her mouth open wide.
Baby Bites Intentionally
Some children bite and laugh when mumma is in pain. Remedy that by keeping your attention on the baby. Talk to them while they’re feeding, sing to them.
At the end of feeding a child may start getting bored or distracted. Or the baby just wants your attention. They start detesting your phone quite early or they might get distracted by noises/voices/music on the phone.
Some children bite in frustration and hunger if the milk supply is becoming less. Hand compress from top of the breast towards the nipple to increase supply.
Bites Unintentionally in Sleep
The baby may not have latched properly like we discussed earlier.
Or the irritation in gums may cause the baby to want relief by applying pressure
Also, the child may have been biting on teething rings all day to get relief and may think that’s what he /she is doing in their sleep too.
While there’s no remedy that I can provide to you for this, just want to reassure you that there are tons of other mothers out there with you. The reason you’re probably dream feeding is to make sure your child gets the nutrition he/she requires and waking up the baby defeats the purpose. May the force be with you!
Doesn’t Bite, But Friction of Tooth Against the Breast Causes Scratches on the Skin
Remedy: use nipple guard
Baby is in Pain and is Biting Down, has Been Irritable and Crying All Day
The crying could mean so many things. Is he hungry, is she in pain, is this just a tantrum?
Remedy: Offer a teething toy/ teether before feeding. If the child gnaws on the toy and starts to relax, he’s not hungry. If he starts to suckle on it, it’s hunger. Then, you can breastfeed.
If the baby has been unusually cranky, maybe pharmacological help is needed and baby painkillers are in order. Contact your friendly neighbourhood pediatric dentist.
Consistent Biting Despite All Efforts?
Is the little one trying to wean? It’s impossible to make babies nurse if they don’t want to.
Involuntary reactions aside – if your baby is biting you regularly, try not to shout at the child. Sleepless nights and constantly trying to soothe the child can wear any parent’s patience down. Getting upset with the baby will make the baby cry and you’ll have to spend more time comforting him/her and the entire experience will just make you feel guilty. It’s really not worth it. Try some of our recommendations:
- Some children may just be playful (or curious about the new teeth). If the baby wants to play a biting game- give her your finger to bite on and you bite lightly back on your child’s finger. Be firm about no biting on breasts but still allow them their playfulness.
- Stop feeding immediately. Most children are empathetic, the action of stopping the feed, will give them a clear indication of what is allowed and what is not.
- Use your words. Many people underestimate the usage of words with babies. Though all the words will not be understood, the tone always is. And saying it out loud relieves your stress too.
- Retrain your baby like we asked earlier. Older babies will ape you. Stick your tongue out, open your mouth wide and make your baby do the same before they start feeding. The power of telling and showing cannot be underestimated.
Teething is as big a change for you as it is for your baby! Be patient with your baby and with yourself!
If you found our article helpful, leave a comment for us or share an experience with us in the the comments section.