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Breastfeeding is a fantastic experience for your baby – it is the most delicious and nutritious food he can get! For you too, it is a great opportunity to bond with your newborn. You’re happily breastfeeding your baby and probably plan on doing it for quite some time. But hey, what happens when your baby starts teething?
Teething is a period of great discomfort for many babies, fraught with crankiness, gum inflammation, some pain and difficulty in sucking. It could even result in some unexpected biting for you! But some other babies have a relatively smooth experience and continue feeding as they actually draw comfort from it. So the answer to your nagging fear is really quite simple- whether or not breastfeeding will get affected by teething depends entirely on your baby.
What to Do If Your Teething Baby Cannot Breastfeed
Some babies may stop feeding during this time. But this is only a temporary phase referred to as a nursing strike. It is mainly caused due to the uneasy experience and pain your baby is going through because his teeth are erupting. This makes him cranky and also makes sucking tough. What you should do:
- You should continue to offer your breast if you perceive the baby is hungry.
- If he fails to feed, or is disinterested, just pump the milk and use a bottle or cup to feed him instead.
- You should also try and soothe his discomfort by massaging his gums using your fingers.
- You can also use teething rings. These are cool rings that can be really soothing for the gums.
Dealing with Biting during Feeding
This is a common problem faced by mothers when their babies nurse while teething. Your baby may suddenly get the misconception that your nipples are teethe toys! Here’s what you can do to rectify this situation:
- React to the biting by giving your baby a surprised look and telling him not to do it, preferably in motherese. Babies can be quite perceptive!
- Massage his gums with your fingers for a while.
- Give him something else to chew and bite on, like a teething toy.
- Unlatch your baby as biting may be a sign that he is now full. You can nurse again after some time.
The bottom line therefore is that teething shouldn’t really interfere with your breastfeeding experience. If you are still facing any problems, have a chat with your doctor to figure out the best solution.
Have you experienced breastfeeding problems because your baby was teething? Do share your experiences with us in the comments.