Most babies do not bite while breastfeeding but some might while teething. This can be painful or uncomfortable and may cause some mothers to consider weaning. Although teething raises some challenges, mothers are encouraged to continue breastfeeding as best they can. Organizations such as the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommend breastfeeding until babies are ages one to two.
If you decide to continue breastfeeding throughout teething, following these tips can help you alleviate some pain and discomfort:
• Make certain that your baby is latched on properly. When babies are latched properly it is difficult for them to bite as their tongues are covering the lower gums or teeth.
• Massage the baby’s gums before feeding. This can decrease the level of discomfort or pain your baby may be experiencing.
• Discourage the baby each time he or she bites by either removing him from the nipple bite or by pulling him closer to you. Then calmly say “no biting”.
• Give baby something cold to chew before feeding. A chilled, age-appropriate teething toy or cloth can ease soreness. Rubbing an ice cube on gums works just as well.
• Stick a finger in the corner of the baby’s mouth as he or she clamps down. This will serve as a barrier between your nipples and baby’s teeth.
The good news is biting caused by teething is only a phase; it is temporary. Continuing to breastfeed can provide countless benefits for your baby. If your baby still bites after trying these tips, do not hesitate to contact a lactation consultant or your pediatrician for direction and support.
To schedule an appointment with a Lactation Consultant at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-291-3276.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.