Breastfeeding A Child With Teeth Is A Scary Sh*t Show
My first child pretty much weaned himself at seven months. I had gone back to work full-time and was putting him on the breast less and less. It just naturally happened that he started to lose interest. I was thrilled, because the timing was great; his little baby teeth nubs were turing into full-on fangs. It was a good time to stop breastfeeding.
My daughter’s teeth came in really late. She just barely got her fourth one, and she turned one today. About a month ago when her top teeth really came in – I began to wean her. Maybe all kids are different, but I’m just not sure how moms breastfeed babies with teeth. Infant teeth are sharp like razors. The few times my daughter really clamped down on my nipple with them I was seriously wondering whether there would be a nipple there when I finally pulled her off. Then one night she drew blood. I was done.
I consulted La Leche League to see what they had to say about nursing a teething baby, as I was feeling a little guilty about weaning her simply because of her teeth. Of course they didn’t make me feel better – just offered tips on how to deal with sore nipples. What the hell?
It is important to understand that when a baby is latched on to the breast 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.
Yeah, okay. My daughter got a sick thrill clamping down on my nipples. I’m not kidding. She would bite me, then start laughing. There was no way I could continue to nurse this little sadist.
Many mothers find that continuing to nurse as their baby cuts teeth adds a priceless tool to their toolbox when the joys and challenges of toddlerhood begin.
While I loved the option of constantly throwing a nipple at the problem when my child was fussy, I seriously can not imagine calming a tantrumming toddler with my nipple. That takes a level of trust that I do not possess. I applaud moms who can get through teething and continue to breastfeed. But I can confidently attest that the teeth did me in both times. There was no way I was going to be able to breastfeed my teething children. I like my nipples too much, and decided to keep them.
(photo: afitz/ Shutterstock)