Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nurse...Chomp....Nurse...OUCH!!

You're nursing your angelic four month old; you hear his sweet little gulps as he fills his tummy. Then he slows down a bit and all of a sudden ... CHOMP! You may cry out in pain or react in some other way. It really is an awful feeling! Does teething mean that breastfeeding needs to come to an end? If not, how can you avoid the pain of having a little biter decide that your nipple is his new chew toy?

Not the End
The age when teething starts varies from infant to infant. Some infants may show signs of beginning to teeth as early as 3 months. Other babies don't show any discomfort until after the first 6 months. How do even know if your baby is teething? Here are some things to look for
  • Excessive drool - teething babies produce more saliva, so it seems like they're always drooling. Sometimes the saliva may even cause a bright red rash to appear on baby's cheeks or chin.
  • Always putting something in their mouth - whether it's their own fist, your knuckle or a favorite toy, a teething baby is constantly putting something in his mouth because it feels good to his gums to chew on something.
  • Fussiness - their gums hurt, so they are going to be sure you know all about it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies nurse throughout the first year of their lives, so teething doesn't have to mean the end of the breastfeeding relationship. You just need some tools to help!

Numb the Gums
One of my favorite tried-and-true tricks for teething babies is the "frozen washcloth." Take some baby washcloths that have some texture to them. Get each one nice and wet, then roll it up, put it in a ziplock bag, and freeze it. Right before feeding, pull it out of the freezer and let baby chew on it for five minutes or so. The texture will feel good to his gums, and the cold will help numb them. He'll be less likely to use you for teething.

Watch the Sucks
When you're nursing a teething baby, you need to be vigilant! Watch her sucks and swallows closely. As soon as she slows down, take her off. As long as she's actively nursing, she isn't likely to chomp. It's only after she's done really nursing that she thinks about her sore gums and how good it would feel to chomp on something!

A baltic amber teething
necklace can really help!
Natural Relief
Many mothers have found that Amber teething necklaces ease the discomfort of teething dramatically. In fact, we have a guest blogger writing an article about her conversion from skeptic to true believer! When it heats up to body temperature, baltic amber releases succinic acid which is a natural pain reliever. These necklaces are not meant for baby to chew on, though, so you want to get one that lies on baby's collar bone.

What have you found that works for your teething baby? Leave a comment, and help another mom!

3 comments:

  1. Our pediatrician gave me a good hint when this occurred in front of him. Orajel toughens the gums making teething hurt worse, and lengthening the amount of time it takes for the tooth to erupt. Instead he recommended Benadryl. Not as a dose, but to dab a little bit on the gums before nursing or at other times discomfort was prominent. Benadryl takes the sting/tingle from their gums. And I don't know how true it is, but I've heard from other moms that teething creates hystamines in the body, and that the benadryl absorbed topically on the gums helps combat them :)

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  2. My kids pediatrician told us to use benadryl too! I thought it was weird, but it does work.

    If your baby clamps down, don't yank them off, that just does more damage. You can press down and back on their chin to get them to let go.

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