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How do you breastfeed when teeth come in?

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  • How do you breastfeed when teeth come in?

    Hi all,

    DS is now 9 months and has had 2 bottom teeth for 3 months now but suddenly the breastfeeding is just too painful, especially on one side. I'm not sure what's caused things to change but I'm worried I may have to start weaning DS although I really am noy ready.

    When DS was first born we were treated for EVERY possible BFding problem that exists. I am not exaggerating. We were at 3 different hospital BF clinics every week for 4 months so I'm pretty familiar with the different types of problems that could be causing the pain but I really feel like his teeth are just too irritating on the nipple. Has anyone managed to work through this? Are nipple shields an option here?

    My DS won't sleep without nursing and wakes several times a night so if I can't nurse I'm really going to be up a creek!! I'm starting to feel really depressed because I had finally come to terms with his night waking and was decided to just see it through but now I'm completely stressed out if I have to wean him it's like going back to square one and facing the crying (he is an avid breast-feeder) that I was trying to avoid by not doing CIO.

    Any suggestions about breastfeeding pain associated with teeth and/or about weaning would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    Look at this link (non-API)

    It must be a hard place you are in considering the problems you had at first. You both made it through the first huddle, stay determined!


    • #3
      hi there. this is the way i worked through it, if it is of any help.

      my (then) 1 year old bit me once and it was so painful i cannot tell you - because he was teething. i thought i would have to stop.

      I was told by a breastfeeding counsellor the trick is to really allow him to open his mouth very wide before he attaches. for some reason when he gets a good mouthful he will be less likely to bite. this technique worked for me and he never bit me again.



      • #4
        Originally posted by Evsmama View Post
        DS is now 9 months and has had 2 bottom teeth for 3 months now but suddenly the breastfeeding is just too painful, especially on one side. I'm not sure what's caused things to change but I'm worried I may have to start weaning DS although I really am noy ready.
        I had the same problem with my son from the time he got his 2 bottom teeth. One of my nipples became very sensitive/sore, and stayed that way for about a mth. The skin got very irritated and dry, but thankfully I didn't have any severe blistering. I was checked by the Dr, but was told there was no infection or thrush. I used some Lansinoh cream to stop the chapping, and tried to use the other breast more (especially at night when he feeds a few short times) and the problem went away by itself. However, I was told by the Dr. that if there was pain anywhere other than the nipple, that it should be checked again.
        Last edited by LLMom; 11-18-2009, 08:32 PM.


        • #5
          I experienced similar pain when my daughter first got her front teeth. I started pro-actively unlatching her towards the end of a nursing session, otherwise she would bite down when she finished. If she protested, I let her latch on again. This helped with the biting, but there was still the constant scraping feeling that was hard to handle. All I can say about that is that it got better. I'm not sure if my nipples toughened up or if she got more used to her teeth and started nursing better with them, but it did get better. Hopefully it helps to know that this will not last forever!


          • #6
            Hi everyone, thank you for the replies and suggestions. Sorry for the long post but I have an update and some questions. The pain became so intense on one side that I had to stop nursing on that side altogether for almost 10 days now. Then the other side became quite sensitive from being the only one used. So out of desperation a couple of nights ago I started giving DS a REALLY big bottle of breastmilk at bedtime and one night he fell asleep while drinking and the second night he almost fell asleep and then I bounced him to sleep in my arms for about 15 mn.

            I was really surprised he didn't put up more of a fight. He continues to wake every hour to 2 hours throughout the night and is used to getting nursed back to sleep. The first night he actually let me give him the bottle for a few minutes and rolled back over to sleep at almost every waking. Last night he wasn't happy about that and DH had to bounce him back to sleep. By his 6:00 - 6:30 waking he cries until I breastfeed him which I have done. And he still wants to nurse to sleep for his naps. But not nursing so much at night makes it less painful when he won't take anything else.

            I wasn't initially planning on night weaning but since the pain isn't lessening and he seems responsive I think I'd like to give it a try before the pain makes it impossible to nurse altogether and I'd have to stop cold. Here are my questions:

            -Everything I've read recommends doing this gradually but is it just more confusing for him if I nurse him once or twice at night when he doesn't want the bottle?
            -Is it better to be firm or will he feel pushed into it and be more resistant?
            -Is it more confusing for him to continue nursing to sleep for naps but then not at night?
            -Finally, about how long does it take for the night weaning to be established? I know every baby is different but just a general idea.

            Thank you all for your help, this forum is a real life-line for all the mums struggling out there.


            • #7
              I can only reply quickly right now and wanted to link some other threads on night weaning-




              I will say that both of my children continued to nurse for naps even when my husband put them down to sleep at night. Each child was VERY different in the night weaning process so I am weary of even guesstimating an amount of time. The 'window' of it working is important too (see first link where that is described).
              Good luck, don't forget to watch the child!


              • #8
                Thank you so much Naomi for your response and for always being there for all of us. I may have posted too soon yesterday as last night was quite a battle to put him to sleep without nursing. DH ended up bouncing to sleep but the whole process took close to 2 hours. Sadly DH works evening so not a viable solution on a regular basis.

                What I'm really confused about is "how much" to enforce the night weaning? I mean, do I really need to stick to my guns and just not give him the breast at all at night even if he gets quite upset or should I nurse him when he really wants it and use another method at the times he's more open to it. For example, last night he woke at 2:00 and took the bottle for a few minutes and rolled over and went back to sleep. He woke again at 4:00 and I tried to give him the bottle but he kept pushing it away and started to cry so I nursed him back to sleep. I just don't know if I'm sending mixed signals or if this is what is meant by night weaning gently and gradually?

                Thank you


                • #9
                  I saw this post and just wanted to add in my 2 cents.

                  I nursed my daughter till she was over 3 years old. From what I remember the child's tongue should be over those bottom teeth to protect your nipple. If the child isn't latched properly they will be able to bite because the tongue isn't in the right spot.
                  My daughter only ever bit me once. When she did it I screamed from pain and shock, it scared her and she never bit me again.
                  It would seem to me that the trick would be to correct or re-correct the latch so those bottom teeth no longer get near your nipple. Find a way to get him to get him to open his mouth fully and stick his tongue out. This will probably take some persistence from you and maybe some help from a coach to correct the latch, but eventually he should get the idea.
                  In terms of night weaning. If you are serious about weaning and having it be parent-led (by you) then simply stop offering the breast at night. Don't go back and forth because it will confuse him and then you'll have a battle on your hands.
                  If you're just trying to heal and intend to go back to night nursing then give him the bottle when he'll take it and nurse when he won't. Since it sounds like he's willing to accommodate you sometimes this might be a good solution. Another is to find somebody else to put him to bed with a bottle for a few days so you can heal up a bit. Once you're healed then you can go back to nursing him again.

                  Good luck!



                  • #10
                    When DD's first came in, she would occasionally nip me. Once she clamped down (I think she was teething) and I screamed and pulled her off. It was a split-second reaction, but it caused her to leave a scrape down my nipple. I think the first nip drew blood, but pulling her off only made it worse.

                    After that I kept my finger close so that I could break the seal if she bit again. For a while we had to break the seal, pull her off, say "No biting," cover the boob, watch her lean back in, uncover, latch on, repeat. It was constant anxiety.

                    After her second tooth came in, it started to be painful in general for her to nurse on the right side (but not the left... curious!) and I did what mary from the dairy suggested, which is make sure she came in with her mouth open as wide as possible. It helped tremendously! She still gets a little nippy when teething, but it is much different now!


                    • #11
                      thanks great work