Breastfeeding & Teething: Everything You Need To Know

If you’re a new mother, you may have questions about teething and breastfeeding. Will the development of your child’s teeth interfere with their ability to breastfeed? What do you need to know before their first tooth comes out? How can you stop them from biting you while feeding? The team at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry wants to keep parents informed about every step of oral development, so here’s everything you need to know about breastfeeding and teething:

When Will My Baby’s First Tooth Erupt?

Most of the time, your child’s first baby tooth will erupt around the age of 6 months. However, this can vary. Some babies may develop one or more teeth by the age of 3 months, while others may not get a tooth until about 12 months. 

Can I Breastfeed My Baby After They Start Teething?

Yes! Teething does mean you’ll face a few new challenges when feeding your child. However, you can still breastfeed your child freely. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends breastfeeding for at least 1 year, and the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding for 2 years. 

Just because your child has teeth doesn’t mean they should only eat solid food, or that you should start giving them baby formula. You can feel free to continue breastfeeding for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. 

Why Does My Baby Bite My Nipple When Feeding?

Babies don’t bite the nipple when breastfeeding intentionally, or to cause you pain. Instead, your baby is likely trying to relieve some of the pain and discomfort of teething. When your baby’s teeth are erupting, their teeth put pressure on their gums which can be uncomfortable. Biting and clamping down on something can relieve some of this pain, which is why they may try to bite your nipple when feeding. If your child already has a few teeth, though, this can result in serious pain and discomfort.

How Can I Stop My Baby From Biting While Feeding? 

Excessive biting when feeding can be uncomfortable and can interfere with your ability to feed your child properly. Here are a few tips to help stop your baby from biting.

  • Massage your child’s gums with a frozen, wet washcloth, or a cloth wrapped around an ice cube. Numbing the gums will help them settle into feeding before they feel pain or discomfort, and can help prevent biting.

  • Watch for fidgeting. Excessive fidgeting could indicate that your baby is becoming uncomfortable, and may clamp down on your nipple. Break off the suction, give them a washcloth or teether to bite, and resume feeding after a few minutes.

  • If your baby bites the breast, break the suction and find another way to comfort them. Feel free to offer them the breast again if they begin rooting. But if your child bites again, don’t persist. Find another way to comfort them and soothe their gums, then attempt feeding again.

Get Your Baby’s Teeth Examined to Check On Their Oral Development

If your baby is teething, it’s time for their first dental check-up with Dr. Hantson! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental check-up soon after their first tooth erupts. 

Call today to book an appointment and learn more about the teething process while making sure your child’s mouth is healthy and developing properly. Contact us at (781) 205-1124 to get started, or stop by our office at 3 Proprietors Drive, Marshfield, MA 02050 to schedule an appointment.

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