The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years. However, most babies cut their first teeth within their first year. Mothers are often curious about how teething will affect their breastfeeding relationship. Will the baby bite? Will breastfeeding become uncomfortable?
However, when a baby is latched correctly, his lips are flanged and his gums land far back on the areola (the dark area around the nipple). His bottom teeth are covered by his tongue and do not come in contact with the mother’s areola at all. For this reason, a baby who is latched on correctly and actively nursing cannot bite. However, if a baby is latched onto the nipple only, the baby can clamp down and cause pain to the mother’s nipple. Good positioning and latch-on techniques can prevent painful bites.
Many mother find the real challenge occurs when the baby is actively cutting teeth because babies can experience significant discomfort due to teething. They will sometimes alter their positioning to avoid hitting the sore spots on their gums. This can cause mothers nipple soreness and discomfort.
These tips may help:
Around the time that a baby gets teeth, many mothers introduce a sippy cup. Babies often chew on the spouts of these cups and some babies might transfer this same mouth activity to the breast. If you suspect this is happening, here are a few things to try: