Breastfeeding and teething
By the time your baby is around six months old, the two of you have hopefully found a good rhythm and flow when it comes to breastfeeding. That’s when parenthood may throw you another challenge – baby teething.
This phase of a baby’s life is often dreaded by parents, since the teeth that are poking through your baby’s gums tend to make them sore and cranky. As a nursing mother you have another reason to feel anxious about the first signs of teething. During teething, the baby gnaws and chews on everything they can get a hold of and your nipples are no exception. Getting bit when you’re trying to feed your baby can be an unpleasant surprise but remember that teething symptoms are normal and not a sign that it’s time to wean your baby.
When do babies start teething?
As a rule of thumb, babies start teething around six months but they’re all individuals and the first teeth could come through as early as four months and as late as 12 months. Some babies are even born with teeth. After the first set of teeth comes in, you will probably notice new teeth pop up every two months or so, and by the time they’re 27 months old, most children have a full set of baby teeth.
Baby teething chart
The baby teething chart below gives you an idea of when to expect your baby’s first teeth to appear, but keep in mind that these are just general guidelines.
If you’re lucky, your baby may cut their teeth with only some drooling to show for it. Often, though, teething symptoms include sore and red gums, irritability and a loss of appetite. Another common symptom of teething is that the baby tries to chew or gnaw on things to relieve the discomfort. You may also notice that your baby has a slightly elevated temperature, or what is sometimes mistakenly called a “teething fever.” The truth is that teething alone can’t cause a fever, so if your baby’s temperature is over 38°C, there’s likely an underlying condition to blame.
Teething remedies that really help
Teething symptoms are normal but can cause a lot of distress for your baby. To relieve your baby’s teething problems, try these safe and simple teething remedies:
Massage. Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger, some wet gauze or a wet washcloth wrapped around an ice cube.
Teething toy. Offer a commercial teething toy or a safe household item, like a plastic spoon. Chill the toy in the fridge for best result but avoid putting it in the freezer, since this could harm the baby’s gums.
Food. Give your baby pieces of raw fruit or vegetables to chew on, for example carrot or apple. A bread crust may work as well. Just be sure to keep an eye on the baby while they’re eating, since food can be a choking hazard.
Sore nipples while breastfeeding?
Mulit-Mam Compresses have a direct soothing effect and support the natural healing process.
Don’t be surprised if your baby’s teething problems throw off your breastfeeding flow. Fortunately, the problem can usually be alleviated by learning to recognize the baby’s signs of teething and reviewing their position and latch.
A baby that is properly latched on and actively nursing can’t bite at the same time. First of all, make sure that your baby is positioned properly with your nipple aimed at the roof of the baby’s mouth. Once the baby opens their mouth widely, bring the bottom close to help keep the head back. A common sign that your baby is about to bite is that they suddenly pause and clench their jaw. If this happens, quickly break the baby’s suction by sticking your finger into the baby’s mouth and remove them from your breast.
Remember that you can’t spoil a baby – if they’re having a rough day because of teething problems, cuddle and comfort them or distract them with a song or game to ease the pain.
Brushing my kids' teeth - when to start
So, your baby cut their first teeth – now what? Even if your baby is just a few months old, it’s not too soon to establish a good toothbrushing routine. Using a small, soft toothbrush and toothpaste that is specially formulated for children, brush your baby’s teeth thoroughly twice a day. If your baby resists or won’t sit still, try to make it into a game or brush your own teeth at the same time.
Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, you may also want to make a dental appointment. Most experts recommend that a child sees a dentist within six months of cutting their first tooth and no later than their first birthday.