Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for moms and a great way to bond with your child. Breast milk has all the nutrition your child needs. It’s a delight to breastfeed when the baby has soft gums. But what happens once the baby starts teething?
Many moms decide to stop breastfeeding once teeth start to surface (by the 6th month), fearing that it may interfere the feeding. However, most moms sail through the teething process marvellously.
If you are fretting about whether teething will affect breastfeeding, then the answer entirely depends upon your baby. Read on to understand.
What Should You Know About Teething?
When we talk aboutteething, each baby is different and each baby handles it in their own way. Teething usually is a very tough and discomfort causing process for the baby. Crankiness, swollen gums, pain, excessive drooling and constant sucking are some of the signs and symptoms of teething.
Moms also have to deal with unexpected biting while breastfeeding. But don’t worry – we have seen babies having a relatively smooth experience where they don’t face any difficulty while feeding. In fact, many babies find comfort when they are breastfed while teething.
Most babies will have their first set of teeth by the time they are 6 – 8 months old and the teething will continue until they hit 2 years. The symptoms are worse before the teeth starts to erupt, when they try to tear the baby’s gum and protrude.
Here Are Some Varying Symptoms of Teething You May Observe in Your Baby
- Your baby’s latch on to the breast will change. She will change her mouth or head position or her latch may be a bit different
- Your little one would drool all the time
- Your baby may develop red rashes around the chin and mouth and her cheeks may flash bright red
- Your baby would chew on her toys with added vigour and force. She will do a lot of fist and fingers biting. It’s one of their ways to ward off the discomfort
- Disturbing sleep. Pain or discomfort may wake your child several times at night
- Your baby may have a slightly raised body temperature or run a low level fever
- Loose stools that lead to nappy rash.
How to Deal Breastfeeding while Teething
Sore gums and emerging new teeth in front of the mouth may affect baby’s latch on your breast.
- Try different feeding positions that are comfortable for both of you.
- Make sure your baby opens her mouth widely to latch. Which ideally means the baby’s tongue should be above the lower teeth and her latch should be deep enough to cover the sides of the nipple.
- You can use frozen toys or milk cubes or purchased remedy to numb the baby’s mouth. But make sure you don’t use them before feeding as numbness may affect her ability to latch.
To deal with the discomfort, the baby will bite anything and everything he gets his fingers on. He may try to do the same with your breast.
- One of the best ways to avoid biting is correct and deep latching.
- New teeth are often sharp as they have to penetrate the gums. This may cause your nipples to be a little sore from the scratches.
- It is important to know that when the baby has properly latched, his tongue would be above the lower teeth, covering the sharp edges completely.
- Try using different feeding positions and make sure you don’t touch the sore skin.
- You can also apply hydrogel pads or pure lanolin in between feeds to soothe your pain.
Breastfeeding is an effective way to soothe your unhappy baby struggling from teething. And we are sure you must have already found it.
- Your baby will ask for milk more frequently if she’s suffering from the teething pain.
- The frequency would be more and the feeding period would be less.
- If you can feed her as often as she wants, both of you will be able to handle the tricky period beautifully.
- However, if you cannot feed her often because of varying reasons, you can give your baby bottled milk.
- You can also give her a warm shower, take her around, and distract her with new and colourful toys or anything that keeps her distress at bay.
Babies in this phase dribbles a lot. Too much drooling may develop rashes around his mouth. Make sure your child’s skin is constantly dry and clean. Gently wash or wipe his mouth with a soft wash cloth to avoid skin rashes.