A couple of weeks ago, I encountered on of the many bumps that come along with breastfeeding: nursing my teething son. Now, you see, I’d already gone down the road of having a teething baby at the breast, the difference is that last time around, my son hadn’t already cut teeth. This means that while he was nursing (for comfort or for hunger) and gumming down quite hard, it didn’t really hurt. This time around, though. Oh. My. God. Ouchies! He would be happily nursing when all of a sudden…pain. Two little daggers digging into my tender skin (and I had the teeth marks to prove it!).
I would break the seal forcing my son to unlatch and say “no, don’t bite mommy”. Then, I would wait until my son realized what was going on (meaning, I would wait the few seconds it took him to get frustrated because he wasn’t attached to my breast anymore) and then let him latch on again. I did this every time he bit me for three days.
To be honest, at the end of the three days, I was sore, afraid to nurse and pretty much ready to give up on breastfeeding because it didn’t seem like the message was getting through to my son. Remembering, however, reading about someone else’s woes regarding her breastfeeding situation where someone suggested that it was never a good idea to decide to quit when you were feeling annoyed, I decided to see if there was something else I could do to help things along. I figured that I would make up my mind when I felt rested and relaxed and could really think through the pros and cons.
I therefore turned to the wonderful ladies in the breastfeeding support group of Baby Center. They offered many suggestions which I would like to share with you!
1. Once you say “no” and latch your baby off, give him something to chew on for a couple of minutes.
2. Give her something to chew on 10-20 min before nursing.
3. Don’t act like you’re in pain because some babies find that funny.
4. Put him in his crib or on the floor when you gt him to unlatch and walk out of the room for 30 sec or so that way he doesn’t associate biting with getting extra attention and a fun reaction from mommy.
5. Be consistent with what you say and do when she bites, chances are she doesn’t even realize that she’s biting the first times.
6. Instead of breaking the seal yourself, bring his face close to your breast so that he unlatches himself.
I suspect that what works depends on your baby’s age and personality.
Ironically, since posting that thread, my son has stopped biting (and his top teeth have finally cut today!).
How did you handle nursing a teething baby?