I’m passionate about breastfeeding . . . at least until my baby’s first tooth comes in. At that point, breastfeeding turns into a serious challenge for me. With each baby, it’s been my goal to breastfeed for a year. I’m now nursing my 4th baby and I haven’t hit that one year mark yet.
With my boys, the longest I ever made it was 9 months. I’ve tried to keep going once those first teeth come in but I’ve just kind of fizzled out each time.
This time around, I’m determined to finally make it to that one-year mark but my baby just cut her first two teeth! Right now we’re still going strong but she’s definitely learned how to use those teeth – especially when I’m done nursing before she is – and I worry that I’m not going to make my breastfeeding goal.
I’ve learned a few tricks that I hope will keep our breastfeeding relationship going a bit longer:
Nurse only when your baby is hungry. This may seem obvious but, especially during the early months, I’m in the habit of nursing whenever my baby fusses just because it’s easier than figuring out what’s really wrong. That doesn’t cut it once they have teeth because baby tends to be “chewier” when she isn’t actually hungry.
Sooth your baby’s teeth with a teething toy before nursing. I’ve found that most of the time when my baby bites, it’s just because her gums are bothering her. If I give her something to chew on or rub her gums with a wet washcloth before hand she’s much more comfortable and won’t do quite as much nibbling.
Tell your baby “no” when she bites. Babies learn quickly what you are going to put up with and what you aren’t. My baby is very sensitive and when I correct her after she bites she gets very upset. It’s only take a few times of telling her no and stopping her from nursing before she figured out that I wasn’t going to put up with the biting. Now she rarely bites unless she’s really in a bad mood.
Make sure you have a good latch. A good latch is important at any stage of nursing, but I’ll admit that I get a bit lazy about it after those first few months. Once I’ve been nursing for a while, it takes a lot to make me sore but as soon as those teeth come in, you are going to feel it if your baby’s latch isn’t right. Try a few different positions if you need to in order to figure out what is comfortable.
What are your tips for nursing a baby who has teeth?