Breastfeeding with Gnashers

Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it can be hard work sometimes, especially in the early days. So what about when you also have to contend with teeth?

Now the average age that teeth start to appear is around six months but we don’t all fit into the ‘average’ category now do we? Even if this was the case, many dedicated breastfeeding mums continue way past six months so teeth must be an issue for lots of mums.

With my first child I exclusively breastfed for six months and her teeth started appearing just as our breastfeeding journey was coming to an end. I went back to work full time and although I had enough expressed milk to last her a couple more weeks I wasn’t able to continue expressing after that. With my second I had eight months maternity leave and breastfed exclusively for that eight months but there were no teeth in sight then so again it just wasn’t an issue for us.

With my next little man I fed him until nine months (as I now work from home), when he decided he didn’t need boobs anymore and so we stopped. Not quite how I had thought it would be but he made it very easy. He did however get his first tooth at five months and by the time we stopped at nine months he had a mouthful of gorgeous white teeth. He didn’t bite very often but when he did it really made my eyes water. I discovered that there was a pattern to his biting whilst feeding and he was either full up and just messing around, had another tooth coming or was distracted.

Last September saw the arrival of our next little man and by two months he was drooling daily and I could feel teeth under his gums. By three months, two solid little teeth popped through the gum overnight and he has been nibbling on me ever since.He doesn’t bite every day and sometimes we go a good few days without a bite but again I have noticed a pattern and some things that trigger this.

  • Poor latch
  • Being distracted – that’s when your nipple gets tested for stretchiness
  • Being full at the end of a feed
  • Having wind
  • Falling asleep during a feed
  • Teething
  • Having a cold
  • Being curious – what will Mummy do if I bite her nipple really hard?

Here are some of my tips on how to discourage biting:

  • Stop feeding, try and wind your baby then allow them to re-latch
  • Stop whatever else you are doing, make eye contact, talk to your baby and re-latch
  • Try feeding in a different position
  • Learn to recognise when your baby has finished
  • Don’t allow them to play with your nipple
  • Take them off the breast if they fall asleep
  • Give a teething toy before and after a feed

Butter wouldn’t melt in this photo but this baby has teeth!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.comThe List

17 comments on 'Breastfeeding with Gnashers'

  • Oh I remember this! My eldest got teeth at four months but the biting didn't start until about seven. She rarely bit though, really only when she was distracted. Number two was a big biter though. I eventually had to take her off the boob and put her on the floor whenever she bit me. It would usually work for a couple of weeks before she would forget and chomp on my nipple again – Oh I don't miss it!

  • The most interesting thing I discovered when researching this myself is that it's actually impossible for baby to bite if latched correctly. So yes! Definitely watch for when baby stops feeding and is just comfort nursing.

  • We're having problems with teeth at the moment. I think it's poor latch and little Pudding not opening her mouth wide enough. It's a painful work in progress at the moment 🙁 #brilliantblogposts

  • I was very lucky to have breastfed both of mine for a year and while my son never bit me once MM would absolutely go to town and think it's food because she was eating solids by then too and it was very tough going with her. I think you are right they are bored or full up or wanting something more than just milk. Teething and breastfeeding can be tough and some never had to deal with it like me with my son. Funny how different they all are. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  • I had the same problem – teeth came quite early and she used to like testing them out on me… I always said no, and took her off if she bit me, and wouldn't give her milk for 5 minutes (not too long to get anxious, but long enough to get the message through) and quite soon she learned that biting= no milk. After that she only ever bit me accidentally, and very rarely 🙂 #thelist

  • I breastfed until 7 months and thankfully never came into contact with gnashers!! I have to say his gums were pretty blinking tough at times though!

    Thanks for linking up xx #TheList

  • Feeding my 25mo with full set of teeth 🙂 luckily never been bitten but wanted to say it doesn’t always lead to biting in case people feel they have to stop when teeth start arriving

  • oh I remember the biting stage! My son didn’t get teeth till he was about 10 months old however I breastfed till he was 12 months. It was painful I have to say but he didn’t do it often thankfully.

    My daughter who’s 4 months hasn’t got any teeth yet but she’s decided to bite down hard on my nipples with her gums!! Not as bad as teeth but still blooming sore.

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