Breastfeeding a Teething Baby

So, breastfeeding is going smoothly for you and baby and all is well. Until one day you feel a sharp pinch and notice baby’s gums are getting tougher.  Baby’s first tooth is coming through!  What now?

How can you breastfeed a baby with teeth? Doesn’t it hurt?

You absolutely can continue to breastfeed your baby during the teething process if you choose. Just like before the baby started teething, a good latch should not hurt.  The mother’s nipple actually goes to the very back of the baby’s mouth; therefore, the most sensitive part of mom is nowhere near the baby’s teeth while nursing.

Will my baby bite me?

Probably, yes. And it does hurt.  Remember, biting down on something helps babies to relieve their teething pain.  You just have to train them to bite a teething toy or something other than you.

What should I do if my baby bites me during breastfeeding?

Get your baby’s attention and tell them no. Be firm and repetitive so that they get the connection that biting is not good.  At first, my daughter would pinch me or bite down and look up at me and giggle.  I had to continue telling her, “no, don’t bite.”

What if baby keeps biting?

If baby is not listening, stop the breastfeeding session. The baby will cry and be upset, but eventually they will get the message to stop biting.  There were a couple of times that I had to give my nipples a rest and give my daughter expressed milk in a bottle if she still seemed hungry.

Any other advice?

Sometimes babies will bite if they are distracted while nursing. It may help to breastfeed in a calm, quiet place so that your baby can focus on eating.  Also, babies may bite if they are not truly hungry and just want to play.  If that is the case, just take the baby away from the breast and move them on to another activity.

In my experience, getting the first four teeth was the roughest time. Each time a new tooth came in, it’s as if my daughter had to learn how to adjust her mouth for nursing.  Like all things, teething/biting during breastfeeding is just a phase that will pass.  And you can continue to breastfeed though it.

Do you have any advice or experience on how to handle breastfeeding while teething? Please share.

What to Wear for Breastfeeding

Like many expecting mothers, I took childbirth and breastfeeding classes when I was pregnant. I highly recommend taking these classes to learn the basics of what to expect.  My husband and I learned a lot about breastfeeding at the class; however, there are many things that I learned only through experience—and trial and error.

There are so many nursing clothing options and accessories out there that it can be a bit overwhelming and expensive for a new mother. Having the right breastfeeding attire is important to make breastfeeding a little easier, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.  So, what do you really need to wear to be able to breastfeed?  Here’s my top 5 suggestions on how to dress for breastfeeding success.

Nursing Tanks

Tank tops designed for breastfeeding are great because the clip-down feature allows easy access to feed your child. Nursing tanks are great for wearing around the house, wearing underneath your shirt, or sleeping. Nursing tank tops are available at low and high price points. I suggest having a few on hand.

Nursing Bras

Similar to nursing tanks, nursing bras are essential to easy access for breastfeeding. Nursing bras are also more forgiving than regular bras, which make them more comfortable. Your breasts do fluctuate in size throughout the day when breastfeeding. Invest in some nursing bras—there is a wide variety to choose from to meet your needs. Some are made of stretchy material, which are great for sleeping, and others look more like a regular bra with clip-down cups. As with nursing tanks, it is up to you how much you want to spend on nursing bras. I suggest getting measured to find the appropriate bra size—and keep in mind that your bra size will likely go down around 10-12 months postpartum.

Nursing Pads

Nursing pads are important for the first several weeks of breastfeeding. Nursing pads are to be placed in your bra to catch any milk leaks—trust me you want these. Nursing pads can be disposable or washable and reusable. At some point, your milk supply will regulate and you will not have leaks, but nursing pads are essential in those first few weeks.

Cover-ups

Breastfeeding in public can be awkward for some women. So, having the right cover-up is important so that you can leave home with your baby and still be able to breastfeed. There are nursing ponchos designed to give you some privacy while nursing, but a receiving blanket or swaddling blanket will work well too. Keep one in baby’s diaper bag and throw it over your shoulder while feeding if you want to cover up. And don’t forget accessories—large scarfs and cardigan sweaters also work well as breastfeeding covers.

Layering and Nursing Tops

There are tops and dresses designed for nursing mothers that give you easy access to breastfeed. However, you can also wear regular tops and still make breastfeeding work. Layer a tank top underneath your regular shirt, and when you are ready to nurse, just pull up the top layer. This allows your belly to stay covered by the tank and the top of your breast to be covered with the shirt. Another trick is to use a belly band that you may have used during pregnancy to cover your abdomen. Wear the belly band under a regular shirt to give some coverage when you lift your shirt to breastfeed.