I plan to breastfeed, but I’m TERRIFIED of getting bit!

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidance suggesting that women should breastfeed for 2 years. But what do we do when those little teeth start coming in?

By Pamela Diamond




I recently read the AAP’s new guidance that suggests that women should breastfeed for 2 years –but I’m TERRIFIED of my baby’s teeth! Are there any tips or information you can share about avoiding tooth scratches or bites on my nipples?

Many people don’t realize that babies do not use their teeth or gums to nurse if nursing properly. In fact, it’s physically impossible for your baby to be breastfeeding and biting at the same time because the tongue covers the bottom teeth (or gums) when baby is nursing. So first and foremost, seek support from an Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) if you are having issues breastfeeding your newborn. There are occasions, of course, when an older baby may bite. Teething may be one of those occasions. Whatever the reason, biting is typically a temporary issue that can be quickly addressed. How it’s addressed will depend on the age of the baby and the reason for biting. Ann Smith, IBCLC and owner of Triangle Lactation cautions moms to be careful how they react if their baby should clamp down while nursing. “It is normal to react, of course, but if you yell, or become very angry, this can be frightening and confusing to the baby.” Though she understands it’s normal to react to a sudden bite or pain, Ann says preparing for the possibility may also prepare your reaction. “If your baby should bite, letting them know it is NOT okay and it hurt you is fine and normal. Take baby off the breast quickly by breaking suction with your finger and bringing the nursing session to an end.” If teething is the culprit, you might offer a cold teething toy instead.

To find more suggestions for handling biting based on age and causes, visit Kellymom, which is a great resource for all things related to breastfeeding.

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