*This is a guest post
Deciding to nurse your newborn baby is a personal choice and one that comes with many benefits, including an unforgettable bond with your child. While some mothers want to nurse as long as they can, others are concerned about what happens when their child starts to teethe. If you are wondering what you should do about breastfeeding after your baby gets teeth, this article can help you figure out just what to do to keep nursing while your baby is teething. Here, you’ll also find out some general information on breastfeeding to help you on your breastfeeding journey.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
There are more benefits of breastfeeding than most mothers or soon-to-be mothers realize. A mother’s breast milk is the most natural food for an infant and it has benefits for the present as well as for the future for both you and your child. The nutrients in the milk alone provide everything your child needs to grow into a healthy child while also providing antibodies to help your baby fight off pathogens naturally while being easy to digest.
Nursing your baby has also been said to help lower the child’s risk of asthma and allergies.
If you solely use breastmilk to feed your child for the first six months of their life without formula or other foods, they will possibly have fewer ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory illnesses, too. Reports have also shown fewer emergency trips to the hospital and doctor. Other nursing benefits are:
• Links to higher IQ scores
• Creating a secure bond with you
• Balanced weight gain/nutrition
• Lower risk of SIDS during infancy
• Lower chance of diabetes and certain cancers
Your baby isn’t the only one who can benefit from nursing. As a nursing mother, you’ll also get some great benefits by nursing your baby and deciding to keep breastfeeding after your baby gets teeth. Some of the benefits for you are:
• Burning extra calories helping you lose baby weight
• Helping your uterus shrink back to its natural size
• Lowers the risk of ovarian and breast cancer
• Can lower the chance of osteoporosis later in life
• Saves time and money when compared to buying and mixing formula
These are just some of the many benefits breastfeeding offers you and your baby. Those benefits continue and change as your baby gets older, too. This is why it’s important to keep nursing your baby even after they start teething and get their first teeth. The following information will give you some tips on how to continue nursing your baby after their first tooth breaks through.
Tips for Breastfeeding After Your Baby Gets Teeth
If your baby has already had their first tooth or teeth break through or if you’re expecting it to happen soon, you’re probably starting to get worried about how you’ll continue nursing your little one. Luckily, you can easily continue breastfeeding after your baby gets teeth. The fact of the matter is that if your child is nursing properly, their tongue will be covering their bottom teeth while latched onto your nipple. This will make it impossible for them to bite down while latched.
The problems usually come when your baby’s latch gets lazy toward the end of a feeding or when they’re about to unlatch from the nipple voluntarily. If you can control your baby during that time, you can prevent some pain for yourself during nursing sessions.
There are different things you can do to prevent your baby from biting you. Here are some things you can do before you start to feed your baby. These things may help with discomfort in the mouth which can make your baby less likely to tense their jaw and bite down.
1. Give them a cold, wet cloth or a cold teething ring to chew on first.
2. Massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger to soothe any discomfort.
3. Use analgesic gels (carefully and safely only under a doctor’s supervision) in extreme cases.
If those things don’t work, you can try the following tips for when your baby is nursing at the breast:
1. Change nursing positions to better support your baby’s latch.
2. Help your baby open their mouth wide enough for a proper latch by rubbing the roof of their mouth with a clean finger.
3. Be ready to use a clean finger inserted in the corner of the mouth to break the suction of a poor latch before the baby has a chance to bite down.
4. Minimize distractions around the room so baby doesn’t try to look around and loosen their latch (this can lead to accidental bites).
If you were nursing your baby and they did bite down, here are some things you can do:
1. Remove the baby from your breast and firmly say no. Here, you want your baby to associate biting with no more food and will learn to stop doing it.
2. Rinse your nipples with cool water if they are sore after nursing.
3. Apply a lanolin cream to your nipples to help soothe them afterward.
Most of the time, biting during a feed is accidental on the part of your baby. Encourage your baby to properly latch by making sure they open their mouth wide when latching on. Limit their movement by trying different holds and minimizing distractions so they stay latched on until the end of the feed.
When you notice your baby getting tired or full, stop the feed before their latch gets lazy or loose so they don’t accidentally bite you. Do this by breaking the suction by inserting your pinky finger between your breast and your baby’s mouth. By following all of these tips, you can continue breastfeeding after your baby gets teeth.
Nursing is such an important thing for you and your baby. You shouldn’t let a small inconvenience like their first teeth get in the way of continuing breastfeeding. In order to keep breastfeeding after your baby gets teeth, keep these tips handy and try everything here to continue nursing successfully. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician or a lactation consultant for more in-depth help with breastfeeding your baby. If you’re wanting to keep your breastfeeding journey going you may also want to read these articles on extended breastfeeding here and here.
Bio: I’m Anna Smith, chief editor at Healthankering. I’m a proud mother of three passionate about health tips, beauty and ways to live healthier with more energy ! We start Healthankering to provide advanced material about not only the best ways to get healthy, but also to entertain and create a great community. Follow her on Twitter here.