Most babies begin with the teething process between three and six months of age, with the first two teeth coming out before the seventh month. It is not uncommon for some babies to begin the process later, at one year of age, or a little larger. For mothers who breastfeed, the teething process can be a difficult time. The discomfort associated with breastfeeding the baby during the first few days of life seems to reappear. The nipple pain associated with the baby’s teething process can be the result of several factors. If the pain continues or does not improve, contact a lactation specialist for evaluation.
Toys for teething
When a baby begins with the teething process, by nature chews things to relieve the discomfort of your gums. Unfortunately, the nipple becomes a teething object for many babies who may bite it at the beginning or end of the lactation section. To help remedy this situation, give your baby a cold teething ring or a piece of frozen cloth to bite. Although a teething baby is very small, telling her to “do not bite” during breastfeeding can help her understand the point.
According to Kelly Bonita, IBCLC, of Kellymom.com, when babies start teething, enzymes containing a lot of saliva can irritate the nipples. To help relieve this, moisten the teat with clean, warm water after each breastfeeding session and allow it to air dry. Massaging the nipple with a few drops of breast milk can also serve as a protective and helps to heal irritated skin.
If your nipples are irritated because your baby is growing teeth, it helps to heal the healing process by applying warm water compresses several times a day. Applying a pure lanolin ointment to the nipple can also help in healing if the skin is broken or irritated and does not need to rinse before breastfeeding your baby. It is important to teach your baby not to bite or pinch in a way that causes pain and irritation. If the baby begins to bite, end the breastfeeding session and feel it. This must be seen more as an action of cause and effect than a punishment.
If your nipple pain continues despite all attempts to alleviate the situation with your teething baby, it is probably time to seek help from a lactation specialist. Many doctors’ offices and hospitals have breastfeeding specialists in their teams.