How to Breastfeed a Teething Baby – Tips and Tricks
One of the questions some mothers ask when their babies are teething is whether or not their little ones’ condition will interfere with their breastfeeding. The most honest answer is that it depends.
Every baby has a different experience during the teething stage. Some babies experience little discomfort while others have a more difficult time enduring the swelling and painful gums.
Nevertheless, when your baby starts to teethe, it could cause some breastfeeding challenges. Your little one might want to nurse more frequently because, for many babies, breastfeeding is comforting. However, some babies do refuse to nurse because of their swollen and tender gums.
When your baby is teething, here are some tips that you can use:
1. Give him something to chew on
Any baby teethers can soothe your baby’s gums. They could be teething rings, a wet washcloth, or other baby teethers. These items are ideal for alleviating sore, irritated gums.
2. Gum massage
After breastfeeding your baby, wash your hands. Then begin massaging your baby’s gums using your finger. Adding pressure helps relieve some of the teething pain. You can also do this before nursing.
3. Maintain eye contact
When you’re breastfeeding your baby, make sure that you maintain eye contact. Also, try speaking and touching him while you’re nursing your baby. Doing so will make him know that he has your attention. One of the reasons that baby bite during nursing is that he wants to get your attention.
While maintaining eye contact won’t always prevent him from biting your nipple, it has been proven to help mothers recognize signs that you’re baby is ready to stop feeding.
4. Minimize all distractions
Innocuous items, such as the television and overhead lights can distract your baby from the breastfeeding process. Try dimming the lights and turning off your television while nursing him.
You may also want to play some soothing music while feeding him. This can help relax your baby while you nurse him, which will also reduce the chance that he will bite you while feeding.
5. Stop feeding
If he keeps biting you cease feeding him immediately. The reason for this is that babies don’t continuously bite if they’re hungry. Therefore, if your child’s biting you, he’s most likely not hungry or not interested in nursing. With that said, you may simply want something to give him something to chew on to help curve the pain and soreness he is experiencing while teething.
6. Avoid using teething preparations
Pediatricians are no longer recommending over-the-counter teething gels because they contain a local numbing agent that can be harmful to your baby’s gums.
The numbing agent, benzocaine, can cause methemoglobinemia, which is a rare medical condition. For that reason, the FDA doesn’t recommend them anymore.
If you want a safer way to relieve your child from the teething pain, you could let him wear an amber teething necklace made by Baltic Wonder. It’s made of amber beads that contain natural anti-inflammatory properties.
7. Talk to your child’s doctor
Teething can be a painful process for both you and your child. Therefore, if you have trouble breastfeeding your baby because of teething, talk to his doctor. A lactation consultant may also prove helpful if you’re still running into issues breastfeeding your little one.
Jenn Sanders currently works as a marketing assistant at a company dedicated to the health and well-being of infants. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and outdoor adventures.
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