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Topic Nursing and 4 new teeth... Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By gee On 02/12/04  

So my baby now has 4 new sharp teeth. He's already bit me, breaking the skin, and making me cry...

Now everytime I nurse him, I'm scared he'll do it again. He's not doing it intentionally afterall.

What are your thoughts on this? He's 10 months now. I was planning to nurse him for a year, but I'm thinking its time to prepare for weaning him.


By jane_bond On 02/12/04  

Kieran got his first four teeth around 5 mths. He hasn't broken the skin, but he has bitten me quite a lot.

The first bunch of times it happened, I said, "don't bite!" VERY forcefully, packed up the boob and handed him to dad. I still do that most of the time when he bites, tho it is rare now.

I remember that panicky feeling everytime I latched him on, "will he bite me this time?"

Kieran is now 10mths, too, and he's got 6 teeth total.

I would think that your son is testing those teeth out. The best advice says to do what I did: say "no biting" in your best "no!" voice, take him off the breast and put it away and if possible remove him from the eating context. He doesn't get it right now, but he will understand eventually that to bite means that he can't nurse. Even tho it's incredibly painful, if you can put yourself in the same mindframe as when he was a newborn and trying to establish nursing, that it's going to be tough for a little while but the rewards of hanging in there are great, then you'll get through this phase.

You have done a great job getting to 10 mths when a fraction of nursing women rarely make it to 6mths. It would be great if you could find a way to hang on a few more months and then you wouldn't need to use any formula at all. And, I wouldn't be a card carrying breastfeeding advocate if I didn't also add that perhaps, if you can hold on just a little longer, until the biting thing fizzles out, you might be able to extend nursing a little longer than a year (tho maybe you'll want to day wean or night wean or phase out a number of nursing sessions to suit your and baby's lifestyle better.)

Oh, I almost forgot, how much solids is your son getting? That would be a major factor in weaning (partially or fully).

By luci_mama On 02/13/04  

As usual, you're getting good advice from jane_bond, and as usual, I have a thing or two to suggest, too.

Those new teeth are probably still kind of achy to him; or more precisely, he's probably got more coming in which are achy. (Think about sharp knife-y things poking through YOUR gums!) One thing that's helpful, sometimes, is to use your fingertip to massage his gums a little before you let him nurse so he's less likely to use your nipples for the same effect. You can even chill your finger by rubbing it on an ice cube for a bit -- don't give him the ice or he might choke. Of course, you have to do this BEFORE he's hungry and anxious to get to your breast, so it takes a little planning, but it's worth it.

The other advice I have is homeopathy, for both of you. Homeopathic chamomile is fabulous for teething babies who are on the crabby/angry side of distressed; homeopathic pulsatilla for babies who are sad/clingy/scared. If you want, you can purchase Hyland's combined "homeopathic teething remedy" which includes both. And for you, homeopathic chamomile (or a simple cup of chamomile tea!) can help you relax and feel less scared of him biting you.
Good luck, friend! Keep the faith (and your nipples!) and persevere ... don't tough it out, but use some of these ideas to help you make it better, for both of you. The nursing relationship goes two ways and deserves to be good for both of you, but you're the one in charge of making sure it's good for him because you have choices and resources that he doesn't have.


P.S. Have you been to a LaLeche League meeting, or to their website? They're always FULL of support and ideas!

By jennymeg On 02/18/04  

My daughter nursed until she had all her teeth and was almost three. When she'd be almost dozing I'd get bitten, but I'd slip my finger into her mouth and pry her teeth apart. Or else I'd accidentally squeal and she'd jolt awake. It'll pass. I did say things like "that hurts mommy," and clearly it wasn't meant to on her part. But I don't know. As many times as it happened, it was just not a huge deal to me, in that, I didn't determine that I should wean, you know? It was truly just a phase, I didn't use a harsh-reprimanding voice because it wasn't needed.

By originalcyn On 02/23/04  

My daughter got her first tooth at 3 months and now at 10 months she has 8 and is cutting her molars too. For us, the biting usually happens when she is dozing off too. So I am just extra vigilant when she is sleepy and nursing and slip my finger into her mouth. Too bad, because I loved nursing her in our bed and dozing off together. But after a couple bites (and breaking the skin and bleeding everywhere) I just had to stop that because I really want to keep nursing her until she is ready to stop.
I would jump and say ouch loudly as a reflex and then she would cry so we were both unhappy. Now I say "no teeth please" if I feel she is starting to bite. Also, I try to be sure she is really nursing and not just playing around with my nipple.

By Melynn On 02/20/04  

I don't have any great advice on this, just that I have been there. My second was the only one who did it to me. Oh my god! There is just about nothing that is more painful! I just kind of rode it out, he did grow out of it pretty quickly.

By wisheveled On 02/21/04  

I'm in the relieve the gum pain crowd.

Mine bit when the teeth hurt her-so I gave a thorough gum massage before beginning and that cut down on the chewing.

Ive heard the sucking causes the swelling to intensify so taking it down a notch helps.

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