Teething while breastfeeding sounds like a nightmare for a majority of mothers. I was dreading it the moment I discovered I was pregnant.
Teething typically starts around 6 months and doesn’t end until about 3 years of age.
There are many many ways to make this experience less detrimental, and I have the tips and tricks for you mama don’t worry. This process will make it easier for you to swallow.
The links on this webpage may contain affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission if you decide to make any purchases using my links. This affiliate relationship does not alter the integrity of my content. Thank you for your support!
Biting while teething is not a recurring thing. I am 13 months into breastfeeding and I can count on one hand how many times august has bitten me since teething.
It’s all about how you handle it and reading your baby’s early signs and triggers.
There are many different reasons why your baby could be biting
Just know it’s a form of communication. If it’s the first time your baby bites, they could simply be exploring their mouth with new teeth. These are a few of the reasons biting could occur…
1. Baby is done feeding/ became bored.
2. Stressful variables (out of routine, lack of attention, etc.)
3. Tooth eruption is taking place
4. Milk letdown is not flowing at the pace your baby would like it to
When baby bites this is the BEST thing to do
You are probably tempted to scream and push your baby off but (Unfortunately) that’s the last thing you should do. Babies are very sensitive to abrupt force and volume, which will direct them to a different set of emotions.
When a bite happens, gently press the baby closer to your chest. This will temporarily block their nasal passage; they will open their mouth, allowing you to safely unlatch them.
Or put your knuckle between their latch to release.
A less upset baby and a protected nipple!
After unlatching, tell your baby in a gentle voice, “no, if you bite you do not get milk” if you yell abruptly, your baby might think you’re playing. Keep baby away for 30 seconds, and then latch your baby back on.
If this happens again, repeat the tactic but keep this time keep them off for 60 seconds.
If it happens a third time, I recommend for you and your baby take a break. It could be a different matter that is bothering your baby.
Keep your boundary, but stay empathetic. Your baby does not know better, you both are learning together. Remember that consistency is key, they will respect that and catch on!
What does a teething baby need?
Things to use to help relieve teething pain
- Wet Wash Cloth
- Teether You Can Place Milk or Water Into
For a wet washcloth, I dipped one into a bowl of breastmilk (water works also) folded the cloth into a Ziploc bag, and placed it into my freezer for about 2-3 hours.
The teether I linked above gave me an opportunity to pour a liquid into it. I always utilize my breastmilk in it, which continues to be the best food and liquid alternative to any of my other choices.
During teething, a cold compress can help massage and soothe sore gums for them. When you want to relieve any sort of swelling pain, this will be the best natural alternative to Tylenol.
What does a mom with a teething baby need?
Things that can help mama from getting bit/after bite
- Lactation Massager/Rice Sock
- Nipple Guard
- Nipple Butter
- Cold Compress/Hydrogel Pads
A simple way to dodge biting is to avoid irritating the baby at every cost.
Start by getting the milk flowing early.
On average, letdown doesn’t start until about 2 minutes after stimulation has begun.
That is 2 minutes too long for many babies, especially ones who are teething or need instant relief. Scary to know but smittened to hear, nothing soothes a teething baby more than breastfeeding.
I recommend you start stimulating your nipples for an early letdown by pumping for 2 minutes, doing hand expressions, or using a lactation massager/rice sock.
I was very grateful to have saved the nipple guards I used during my baby’s newborn stage.
Nipple guards act as a barrier between a baby’s teeth and a mama’s nipple. I can remember as if it was yesterday, as soon as I felt my baby’s barely exposed teeth scrape against my nipple, (and a night of endless crying… I knew) I slapped this bad boy on until the next week.
Babies typically teethe for about 6 to 10 days.
A sign that a baby is starting to teethe is by checking their gums skimming for areas that are swollen, or white areas at the gum, endless crying, and in need of more affection.
After the first bite
After a bite, the nipple fissures might cause pain/inflammation around the areola, which might feel like an exposed burn.
It’s the perfect time to apply breastmilk on the area; breastmilk has natural antibodies that can heal many skin problems.
You may also use a baby-safe nursing hydrogel pad to relieve inflammation around the areola! I wore them all the time, and absolutely loved them!
Teething and breastfeeding is a process you and your baby will navigate together. Take a deep breath, and remember you are in control as an intentional, conscious parent. Be exactly who your baby needs. If he wants more cuddles, give them. More time on the breast, give them. When you are over it, take that break, its okay. Give the best of you to you and your baby.