Some mothers think that teething may cause pain during breastfeeding. Fact is, this is merely a myth! So, sit back, latch on and read these tips on how you can breastfeed your teething baby comfortably.
Teething is indeed a challenging phase for babies. Their sore and itchy gums make them fussy and want to be soothed all the time. Teething is also one of the main causes of frequent night wakings in babies between 6 months and 2 years of age.
If you’re thinking of weaning off just because your baby is teething and may cause you pain during breastfeeding, well, you really don’t have to. Teething does not directly interfere with breastfeeding because when your baby is latching properly, her tongue is positioned between her bottom teeth and your nipple. So technically speaking, when your baby is really actively nursing, she can’t be biting your nipple.
Here’s how teething may affect breastfeeding
- Some babies develop fussy nursing behaviours while teething (due to gum discomfort while sucking), such as latching on and off, and crying or fussing and then rejecting the breast. Some others may want to nurse more than usual to soothe their swollen gums. If fussiness is the problem, try experimenting with different breastfeeding positions to find one that comforts your baby the most.
- Your baby’s teething pain may cause biting habits, which usually involve her fingers or fist, toys and basically anything she can get hold of, unfortunately, including your breast. Biting is pretty much impossible with a proper latch during breastfeeding, so usually, the baby would bite toward the end of a feeding. Try saying “no biting” gently but firmly to your baby when this happens, or you can also offer her teething toys aka teethers to nibble on.
- Teething is often associated with excessive drooling. This may cause skin irritation on your breasts, if you have sensitive skin. Your baby’s saliva can also irritate his own skin, so it’s best to wipe your baby’s chin and mouth gently before and after feeding.
How To Avoid Cracked Nipples From Baby’s Bite
Now remember, it is not your baby’s newly erupted teeth that is causing you pain during breastfeeding, instead, it is the (momentary) change of breastfeeding habits in your baby—the frequent feedings, the biting at the end of a feeding, latching on and pulling off intensely, etc. Frequent breastfeeding may cause sore and/or cracked or dry nipples. The good news is, there are ways to prevent this, such as:
1. Ensuring Proper Latching
Your baby is latching well when your nipple is deep inside your baby’s mouth. This shows that your baby is actively feeding and not just suckling on your nipple, which will definitely cause you pain.
2. Being in a Good Position
Find a few comfortable positions for both you and your baby. A good position encourages your baby to latch properly too. You may also find that using a nursing pillow or a nursing tool helpful as it helps lift your baby higher and closer to your nipple, so you don’t have to lean forward and hurt your back, arms and neck along the way.
3. Unlatching your Baby Gently
Your baby may sometimes fall asleep after she is done nursing, without detaching her mouth from your breast. If you need to unlatch her, do it gently or you may risk getting bitten hard by your baby from any sudden movement. One trick is to gently put your finger into the side of your baby’s mouth to loosen her latch. Never pull her off your breast.
4. Keeping your Nipples Clean and Dry
If you tend to leak a lot, always check your breast pads and change them as soon as they’re soaked. Leaving damp breast pads on for a long time creates the perfect environment for bacterial growth that could lead to sore nipples, thrush and a breast infection.
5. Using your Breast Pump Correctly
Make sure you have the right nipple shield size and don’t go overboard with the suction levels. Pump according to the recommended frequency and always make sure that your breast pump is thoroughly cleansed after each use.
6. Protecting The Skin On your Nipples and Around The Breast
Never underestimate the power of healthy skin! Keep the skin around your breasts clean and hygienic at all times. Rinse your breasts with warm water and avoid harsh soaps that could dry out your skin. You can also use a wet washcloth to wipe your breasts in between feedings to wipe off sweat and milk residue.
Treating Sore and Cracked Nipples
You don’t necessarily need a nipple moisturiser for daily use, but if you do experience sore and cracked nipples, try these most trusted natural remedies to treat the pain:
Apply Freshly Expressed Breastmilk
Yes! Your very own liquid gold is packed with antibacterial properties that are effective in treating sore and cracked nipples. Just use a clean finger to pat a few drops of breast milk onto your affected nipple and let it air dry. However, this tip should be avoided if you have thrush, as it thrives in human milk.
Salt Water Rinse
This mum-endorsed traditional remedy (a.k.a saline solution) is so easy to prepare and works like a charm. Just mix ½ teaspoon of salt with 8oz of warm water and soak the affected nipple into this solution for about a minute, after breastfeeding. Alternatively, you can also pour this warm saline solution into a spray bottle and simply spray it on the nipple. Pat gently to dry.
Another favourite home remedy that is simple, yet comforting for sore nipples. After breastfeeding, dip a soft washcloth in warm water and gently place it on the affected nipple for a few minutes. Pat gently to dry.
Apply A Gentle, Natural-Based Nipple Cream
We highly recommend all breastfeeding mums to keep a gentle nipple cream in hand at all times, because you never know you’ll need it! Choose a natural formula that has been dermatologically-tested for its efficacy and safety, such as the Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream. A pea-sized amount of this all-natural cream is all you need to effectively soothe your sore and cracked nipples.
Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream – A Favourite Among Breastfeeding Mamas!
Breastfeeding creates a beautiful bond between you and your little one, so make your breastfeeding journey count! Remember, teething is just a phase. It will pass before you even know it. In the meantime, try to overcome any breastfeeding discomfort such as sore and cracked nipples with effective solutions that are mum-and-baby-friendly. Many mums around Southeast Asia have tried and loved Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream for helping them get through their breastfeeding journey.
Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream is made with food-grade ingredients such as natural date palm extract, coconut oil and shea butter to treat sore and cracked nipples due to dry skin. It’s 100% natural, hypoallergenic and certified Halal, so you don’t have to wipe it off before breastfeeding your baby. What’s not to love? Consider this your trusted B(reastfeeding)FF!
Mama's Choice Team
The Mama's Choice MY team is consisted of 4 beautiful mamas who are strong and dedicated in being the support system that many mamas need these days. <3