With your baby’s teeth coming in, you’ve reached another milestone! At the same time, this new chapter can also mean drooling, swollen gums, a lot of fussiness, and—worst of all for a breastfeeding mom—biting. Although all this is normal and are good signs that your baby is growing, teething can bring discomfort for both you and your little one. But, there’s no need to worry! We’ve got you covered with these helpful tips for handling breastfeeding once your baby’s teeth start coming in. Keep reading!
Bring out something cold to chew on
Your baby will want to take their new little teeth out for a test run, so they’ll definitely need something to gnaw or chew on. Teething toys, especially cold ones, will be great for toothy exploration and for soothing any discomfort or swelling your baby might have in their gums.
So don’t forget to pop those teething rings in the fridge for a bit! And, if you’d rather save up and D.I.Y. a teething toy, you can also soak a small towel or washcloth in cold water and give that to your baby. Let them chew on their toy before and after breastfeeding so they know when it’s okay to bite.
Change your nursing positions
It’ll take a while before your baby gets used to their growing chompers, so prepare for some more fussing thanks to the discomfort in their mouth. This new feeling may change the way your baby breastfeeds, making a good latch more difficult. The key here is to make sure they’re nice and snug while feeding by changing positions every now and then.
And make sure you’re comfy too! With a proper latch, your baby will be busy suckling and their tongue will cover their lower teeth, so biting won’t be possible. But, if you do feel a bite or a scratch, you’ll know it’s time to switch positions.
Take note of how your baby feeds
To soothe any soreness in their gums and to cheer themselves up, your little one may want to nurse more often than normal because they’ve come to associate your breast with comfort. When they get fussy and bite-y, hand them their teething toy for a bit before you start breastfeeding.
There could also be times when your baby will be too restless to latch on properly. In this case, don’t push it! Getting them to latch when they can’t may make things worse. It’ll be better to try different things to calm your baby down until they’re ready to eat.
Get ready for when your baby lets go
Once your baby is happy and full or if they get distracted while nursing, they’ll quickly want to move on to something new. So get ready, because that’s just when they’ll be back in biting form! As soon as you see your baby start to get jittery or if you feel their suckling slowing down and their tongue moving away, break their latch and grab their teething toy or use your finger to give your baby something to bite on. This trick will definitely save you from any nipple pain!
Avoid negative reactions
If you do get bitten, try your best to control your reaction. A loud outburst may make your baby curious about what they did to bring that out, which could even make them want to try biting again to see if they’ll get the same result. And if you’re too angry, you could easily scare your baby away from wanting to feed at all for a while.
Instead, use a calm but firm tone to tell your baby “no” and then pull them away from your breast. This way, your baby will learn that because biting means no more milk, it’s not something they should do again. But, if your baby doesn’t loosen their bite, try pulling them in closer to you so that they’ll need to open their mouth and let go for air.
Keep up good dental care and talk to the professionals
To keep your baby’s mouth clean and healthy, you can use a moist cloth to wipe their gums after nursing. You could even use your clean finger to massage their little gums to help with any soreness in their mouth.
Now is also a great time to bring your baby to a dentist, who can let you know exactly what you need to do to care for your baby’s new teeth. And once it’s okay to use a toothbrush, your baby’s dentist can also help you out with the right tools and techniques for proper daily cleaning. And, as always, don’t hesitate to go to your doctor or lactation consultant if you need it! These breastfeeding experts will surely keep you and your baby in good hands during this new stage. You got this mom!
“Breastfeeding After Your Baby Gets Teeth.” HealthyChildren.org, 2019.
Fields, Lisa. “Breastfeeding Teething Baby: Milk101 Article.” Ameda.
Lin, Steven. “Survival Tips for a Teething Baby.” Verywell Family. Verywell Family, June 29, 2019.
Tannebaum, Allison. “Teething While Breastfeeding.” Happy Family Organics, November 5, 2018.
Taylor, Emma. “Breastfeeding and Teething.” La Leche League GB, June 4, 2019.