Guest Post by Dan Chabert
The thought of breastfeeding a teething baby is enough to make any nursing mom cringe.
I am sure you have heard horror stories and nothing makes you feel more vulnerable than putting your nipple into a trap of sharp objects that might clamp closed at any moment (I’m kidding…kind of).
But truly, breastfeeding a teething baby doesn’t have to be all bad. There are things you can do to help your baby find comfort elsewhere (I mean other than biting down on you).
Today’s guest post features tips to help prevent biting and find your baby some relief.
5 Tips For Breastfeeding a Teething Baby
Motherhood is a huge life step and exhilarating process that requires the mother to sacrifice everything for their baby’s well-being. Breastfeeding is one of the main (if not the main) ways of enhancing the mother-baby bond.
6 months after birth, the breastfeeding phase can turn into a bad dream when the baby’s teeth start sprouting out the gum.
Before the baby adapts to the new state of their mouth, they might use their teeth for all the wrong reasons like nibbling your nipple. This compounded with the extra gum discomfort that babies develop could lead them to pick this nasty behavior throughout the day and night.
The sense of attachment brought about by breastfeeding cannot be easily wished away due to those tingling teeth. However, the trick lies in how the baby is positioned to feed.
Breastfeeding a teething baby can be painful if you don’t have information. Here are some of the symptoms your baby’s teething.
- Unstable emotions or fussiness.
- Constant finger-licking.
- Lack of sleep due to gum discomfort
- Refusing to breastfeed
- Biting nipples when breastfeeding
- A swollen gum
As evident from the above symptoms, it’s going to be hard for a first time mum to get out of this stage without starving your baby.
Here are 5 tips to help you overcome this problem:
1 – Create Distractions While Breastfeeding
When breastfeeding their mind is solely focused on feeding. However, these little angels can reduce to grinding your nipples once distracted. Instead of keeping the breast away from them, easily distract them with music or an interesting toy.
Once their mindset is focused on something else, you will have a humble time breastfeeding them.
(Pro Tip: Try a Teething Necklace to distract your baby while breastfeeding! Click here to see them!)
2 – Treat the Child’s Gum Pain
The teething period which may extend for up to 24 months can be particularly stressful for the baby. If the pain and sore gum aren’t attended, the baby’s appetite to breastfeed may decline and they may spend most of their time crying.
Interestingly enough, it’s during this period that they will seek to relieve their itchy gums through biting your nipples.
Here are a couple of home aid options that can work in naturally relieving the pain.
- Simply crush ice and stack it inside a clean and smooth textured baby sock. Tightly tie at the top and gently numb the gums by gently soothing the baby’s painful gums with it. Alternatively, you can also use approved baby teethers as they also work magic.
- Secondly, you can massage the baby’s gum using your finger. Observe hygiene by thoroughly cleaning your hands before doing the same.
3 – Change your Breastfeeding Positions
Breastfeeding is an art that requires keen attention to details. A simple thing like the baby’s positioning while breastfeeding can make all the difference.
During the teething period, babies tend to be reckless and uncomfortable when latching. Often, you’ll find the baby biting your nipple or refusing to comply with breastfeeding due to the uncomfortable position.
If you are new to motherhood, you might have to adopt new breastfeeding positions that you’ve seen, read or suggested by other mothers. You can also try out your own to see what works for them.
Try breastfeeding while sited down, standing or even lying down. Within a short period, you’ll have come up with positions that are actually comfortable for both of you. The baby will be latching on correctly and constantly, just the way it’s supposed to be.
4 – Watch out for Signs of Fullness
Babies cannot verbally communicate. The only way to raise their hand is to cry or bite whatever comes their way.
While breastfeeding your baby, pay keen attention to signs of a full stomach. They may start showing signs of disgust by crying or even better bite you.
Some of the signs of a full baby include excessive sweating, loud burps or even one hell of a bite.
5 – Be Gentle in Communication
As a mother, it may anger you that they don’t want to feed or be nursed. As a result, you may get angry and scoff at them. However, no matter how old the kids are, they can tell when someone shouts at them.
Instead of scoffing or forcing them to give in to your breastfeeding offers, let them be.
When they are hungry, you will be the first to know given the yelling that will come with their demand for milk. If you totally feel the pain is way too much, learn other breastfeeding substitute options like pumping. Pumping is a win-win situation since the baby will drink the milk at his/her own time all you need is to keep the supply replenished.
Mothers have to go through a lot before kids gain the freedom to move around and communicate verbally. But before that, they have a very weird dialect including but not limited to biting. Before your kid reaches the stage of discerning whether they are inflicting pain or not, you have to invent ways of breastfeeding them without feeling harassed as a mother.
From the above tips, breastfeeding your teething baby won’t be a tough thing to achieve. We always want moms to be happy because when they are, the baby is also happy.
About the Author
Dan Chabert – Writing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Dan is an entrepreneur, husband and ultra-marathon distance runner. He spends most of his time co-managing home sites like That Sweet Gift, Borncute, health sites such as Runnerclick, Nicer Shoes and The Gear Hunt. He has also been featured on runner blogs all over the world.
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