Some people assume that when a baby starts to teeth, they should stop breastfeeding or risk a lot of painful biting. While that might seem logical before you have a baby, teething doesn’t actually need to affect your breastfeeding journey at all. Your baby will benefit from the comfort it gives them while they are going through the teething process.
How Long Should I Breastfeed My Baby?
How, and how long you feed your baby is an intensely personal decision. Breastfeeding provides a baby with nutritional benefits for however long you choose to do it. The NHS recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. As you begin to introduce solids, milk should still be providing your babies main nutrition until they are a year old.
Some mums choose to breastfeed longer than this, through to toddlerhood and beyond. Choosing when to wean is a personal decision but shouldn’t be affected by when your baby starts to teethe.
Will It Hurt?
As most breastfeeding mothers know, babies don’t need teeth to bite you. They can happily press those little gums together at any point. Thankfully, it’s not very common and is usually a phase.
Whether or not your baby has teeth doesn’t affect how they breastfeed. If they are latched correctly, their tongue is placed between their teeth and your nipple, meaning that they couldn’t bite you if they tried.
Teaching Your Baby Not To Bite
We can’t promise that they’ll never try to bite you though, but you’ll get to know the signs. Once your baby has finished feeding and released their latch, move them off your nipple so that they can’t bite.
If they do bite you, try not to react (which can be hard), as your baby may find it funny and try it again to get another reaction out of you.
Move them off the breast and calmly tell them not to bite. They’ll soon realise that they won’t get their favourite food if they bite.
Getting to know your baby’s cues can help. Babies often bite towards the end of a fee, look for signs that they are slowing down or their concentration is waning, that remove them from the breast. If your baby bites when they fall asleep feeding, take them off the breast when they fall asleep.
If your baby starts biting at the beginning of a feed they may not have been wanting to feed but chew something to soothe their gums. Give them a teether to chew on instead.
Choosing A Teething Toy
Having a few good quality teething toys around great during the teething phase. There are many different shapes and sizes. Some are solid, others filled with liquid.
Offer a teething toy as soon as your baby starts to show signs of biting. While you might be anxious as your baby reaches the teething stage, breastfeeding shouldn’t be affected.
Follow our tips for discouraging biting and your baby will soon learn that biting means they won’t get their lovely milk and you can both continue on the journey for as long as you wish.