If you have been breastfeeding your baby for a few months, I’m sure you must be scared about your baby’s teething.
You are absolutely not looking forward to the time when your baby will start teething. There is a reason why. And that reason is biting during breastfeeding!
Yes, when babies start teething, they take every chance to bite you while you’re breastfeeding them. It happens ever so often and I have heard of moms who have had bleeding nipples because of this.
Luckily, my daughter has not started teething yet. So I’m safe for a little while more. But she does bite even with her gums and trust me it is very painful. I can only imagine how painful it will be once she starts teething.
Now the question that arises is what can we do about babies biting when breastfeeding?
Before I get to that, let me tell you a few reasons why babies bite –
When they are beginning to teeth, like my daughter, their gums become hard and irritate them. As a form of relief, they chew at everything they grab. So, when they have your breast in their mouth, they like to bite at it for comfort.
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Once a baby has fallen asleep at your breast, they have a tendency to comfort feed and while they are doing that, they would start biting.
Also, when your baby gets a little older, absolutely anything and everything will distract him if he is wide awake at your breast. And what better than having something in their mouth to chew on?
Now, what can you do about it?
One thing that I have noticed with my eight and a half month old daughter is that the more reaction I give her in certain things, the more she tries to repeat her actions. For example, if she pulls my hair and I scream in pain, she would do it again to get a reaction from me.
Similarly, if your baby bites you at your breast, sometimes babies would repeat it only to continue getting a reaction from your end. And this motivates them to do it further. I would suggest that that if your baby bites, do not give him any reaction (even if it pains). I know it is hard to do but you could at least try.
Whatever you do to keep him from biting, do not scare him with your scream that he even refuses to latch on to you.
You need to stop feeding him gently, but not instantly, once he bites and gently tell him that it hurts when he bites. Although he may not understand the French you’re speaking, but he will get what you’re trying to say for sure.
As I mentioned earlier, the main reason behind biting is – irritate in gums because of teething. So, should we give a baby something to chew on before breastfeeding, chances are there that baby will not bite or bite less.
I am saying this because of my personal experience. Giving a cold teether to chew on before breastfeeding saved me from these painful biting accidents. This happened because the irritation of teeth was taken away by the cold teether.
Never pull your breast out of your baby’s mouth in a forceful manner. In this way, you will not only hurt yourself but your baby also. He will suddenly tend to become more irritated for having his milk taken away from him.
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The benefits of breastfeeding are outnumbered but every good thing comes with a price of its own. And, in this case, the price is mostly bourne by the mother. But think of it as a passing phase. And once your baby’s irritation on the gums subsides, I’m sure the biting will reduce as well.
Until then, keep breastfeeding and look out for signs when your baby starts to teeth. This way you’ll be more prepared!
How has your experience of breastfeeding a teething baby been? Do you have any questions to ask us? Let us know in the comments below.