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"How to Handle Breastfeeding Challenges During Your Baby's Teething Phase"


As your baby reaches the teething milestone, it can introduce new challenges to your breastfeeding journey. This comprehensive guide is based on thorough research and professional expertise, designed to help you navigate these challenges effectively. Our goal is to maintain the invaluable breastfeeding relationship between you and your baby, even through teething.

Understanding Teething in Breastfed Babies

Teething typically begins between 4 to 7 months, although it can start as early as three months. The signs of teething include red and swollen gums, increased drooling, a desire to bite and chew more, changes in sleep patterns, and irritability. These symptoms can impact breastfeeding, causing nipple biting, latching difficulties, and altered feeding patterns—some babies may want to nurse more for comfort, while others might reject breastfeeding due to gum discomfort.Continuing Breastfeeding During Teething

Breastfeeding should continue as your baby begins to teeth. Human milk remains crucial for your baby's nutrition. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) support continued breastfeeding through the first year and beyond, due to its significant benefits.

Understanding Breastfeeding Mechanics and Teething

Breastfeeding naturally protects against biting:

  • Tongue Positioning: The baby's tongue extends over the bottom gum, shielding the nipple during feeding.

  • Lip Flange: The baby's lips flange over the areola, with the gums compressing far behind the nipple itself.

Teething discomfort often stems from pressure under the gums. Providing something firm for your baby to bite on can offer relief.

Comprehensive Strategies for Managing Teething and Breastfeeding

Preparation and Prevention:

  • Cold Comfort: Offer a baby-safe teether filled with frozen breast milk, a cold washcloth, or a chilled teething toy before feeding. Or even a breast milk "Popsicle" This can numb the gums, making it more comfortable for your baby to latch without discomfort.

  • Gum Massage: Gentle massages on your baby’s gums with your fingers or a teething chewer can alleviate pain.

  • Distraction Techniques: Providing a teething toy before breastfeeding sessions can satisfy your baby's urge to bite and relieve gum discomfort.

  • Early Milk Flow: Express some milk before latching to encourage an easier start to feeding; this way, the baby spends less time biting and more time feeding.

During Nursing:

  • Anticipate and Respond: Learn to recognize when your baby is about to bite. This is often at the end of a feeding when they become full or distracted. If you anticipate a bite, gently insert a clean finger between your baby’s gums to break the latch.

  • Communication: If they bite, gently but firmly tell your baby "no" and remove them from the breast. They may not understand your words, but they can begin to associate biting with the cessation of feeding.

  • Optimize Feeding Time: Breastfeed when your baby first shows signs of hunger, rather than waiting until they are overly hungry or frustrated, which can increase the likelihood of biting.

  • Optimize Positioning: Try different nursing positions to find one where the baby maintains a wide latch with the bottom lip flanged.( a favotirt is the laid-back position or side lying) try nursing in a ring sling as well.

Post-Nursing Care:

  • Immediate Alternatives: If biting occurs, offer a cold object or teether immediately.

  • Avoid Bottles and Pacifiers: These can encourage biting habits, especially during teething.

Healing and Soothing:

  • Expressed Breast Milk: Apply expressed breast milk to any sore areas for its natural healing properties.

  • Skin-to-Skin Contact: Increases comfort and reduces fussiness associated with teething.

  • Co-Bathing: Sharing a warm bath can be a comforting ritual that soothes your baby’s discomfort and strengthens your bond.

  • Grounding Outside: Spending time in nature, with your baby barefoot on the grass, can be calming and restorative for both of you.

  • Babywearing: Keeping your baby close in a carrier provides comfort and continuous contact that can help ease teething pain. Embracing This Stage

Remember, teething is just a phase and, like all stages of early childhood, it will pass. The discomfort may recur as new teeth emerge, but the soothing techniques you adopt now will serve you well throughout your child's teething milestones. Your loving care, the comfort of nursing, and the reassurance of your presence are invaluable during these "teething times."

Navigating teething during breastfeeding is undoubtedly challenging, but it is also a time of growth and bonding. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and strategies to continue providing the best care and nutrition for your baby. Remember, this stage is temporary, and with patience and the right approach, both you and your baby will thrive.

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