Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Breastfeeding Your Teething Baby

on May 16, 2016

When a group of first time pregnant women talk about breastfeeding and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Canadian and American Pediatric Societies’ recommendation for breastfeeding (exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then breastfeeding continues along with complementary foods for as long as mother and baby choose) someone will inevitable ask “but what do you do when they get teeth?” Our logical side says it must be possible to breastfeeding a child with teeth because humans have been doing it for thousands of years but the thought of teeth near your tender nipple can be cringe worthy.

Babies’ primary (baby) teeth generally start to come through the gums around six months. Occasionally babies are born with a tooth or two already visible and occasionally the first tooth won’t appear until around the first birthday. The range of normal in the teething timeline is pretty wide. Babies may experience discomfort from the erupting teeth for a month or two before the tooth is visible above the gum line.

baby on grass

Some babies sail through teething without any fussing while others have more difficulty. Gum discomfort from the erupting teeth can make baby unsettled at the breast. As pressure can lessen the discomfort, baby may clap down or make chewing movements rather than sucking normally at the breast. Occasionally teething discomfort may cause a temporary nursing strike. If baby appears to want to chew to alleviate the discomfort, a damp frozen washcloth or a teething toy can be offered. For more information on dealing with a baby who is clamping down at the breast check out our post on Breastfeeding and Biting.

Medications for teething babies which state they will numb the gums, should be used with caution. The numbing agent works not only on the gums but also on the tongue and throat surfaces. That numbness will change how breastfeeding feels to baby and may make it difficult for her to know how to latch on properly.

When baby is latched effectively, mum’s nipple is far back in his mouth and his tongue is forward. Baby’s bottom teeth are covered by his tongue so the lower teeth don’t touch the breast during nursing. The top teeth do rest on the breast and may, at times, leave small indentations in the breast. The work of breastfeeding is done by the lower jaw and tongue so the top teeth are not moving on the breast. If baby is actively nursing he cannot bite.

NursingStrike2

Breastfeeding a baby who is teething and then has visible teeth is not only possible it is almost inevitable. If you have concerns about breastfeeding in the teething period or any other breastfeeding challenges please contact a La Leche League Leader. We offer information and support through meetings and via the phone and internet.

http://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tip-breastfeeding-your-teething-baby

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

 

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support in the form of a donation at http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends so we can continue to help others breastfeed. Thank you!

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LLLC Spring Appeal Campaign for the support of breastfed babies: Help LLLC Grow – If you, or someone you know, has benefitted from the support of LLLC, a donation is one way you can “pay it forward”.

Donate Today

Over 385,000 babies are born in Canada each year and we want to ensure every mother has access to La Leche League Canada support whenever she needs it. We are working hard to grow and we need your support. Every donation helps us provide more support to more families!

Thanks to past donations, we have been working hard to grow our services:

Our volunteer Leaders are the cornerstone of LLLC and the support we provide. We have increased our Leaders by 10% in the past year and Leader Applicants by 40% over the past 2 years!

More than 13,000 mothers attend LLLC meetings and another 20,000 receive one-to-one phone support from Leaders.

We have doubled our community and health professional outreach in just one year!

5 new Information Sheets in various languages were made available free of charge to mothers and health professionals

A new Communication Skills program was developed to strengthen health professional and breastfeeding peer support skills and our Best for Babies pre-natal program continues to grow.

Our Leaders are a vital part of LLLC’s breastfeeding foundation. They freely devote their time to help other parents give their children the optimal start in life. You, the donor, make up the other part of the foundation on which the LLLC breastfeeding services rest. Your gifts mean that our Leaders can carry out the valuable help families need. Frankly, we would be unable to deliver services to families without you or our Leaders so please take a moment to consider how valuable your support is and make a donation, either online or by using our pledge form. If a one-time donation is not suitable for you, perhaps spreading your gift over a year would make sense. Our pledge form has the monthly donation option for your convenience.

We are proud of our growth – but we want to do so much more! We need your support to help us serve even more mothers. Please donate today so we can grow to serve the mothers and babies of tomorrow.

Thank you for taking the time to consider supporting La Leche League Canada and our continued efforts to support all breastfeeding families who need us.

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One response to “Breastfeeding Your Teething Baby

  1. wholovesbabies says:

    My daughter didn’t bite often but whenever she did, I’d wear a propeller hat to keep her interested and her head tilted up, and it worked!

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