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As your baby develops, you may suddenly find they are fussier than normal and biting their fingers and toys. Your little one may have a tooth coming soon! A baby’s teeth typically start to come out around 6 to 12 months, but you may see symptoms of teething as early as 3 months. The lower front teeth usually come in first followed by the upper front teeth 1 to 2 months later. As these teeth start to erupt, your baby may show signs of teething due to soreness and tenderness in the gums. These symptoms can show 3 to 5 days before the tooth breaks through. The symptoms typically get better once the tooth has appeared.
Teething and Breastfeeding Normal symptoms of teething include extra fussiness, irritability, and drooling more than usual. You may find that your baby has trouble sleeping, wakes often at night, or has a loss of appetite. They may even refuse to eat or drink. Teething causes babies to be fussy while nursing, because they may find their gums bother them while sucking. They might start to nurse and then pull off and cry. They might refuse to nurse all together. Some babies may want to nurse constantly to soothe their discomfort. If your baby refuses to nurse due to teething, you can pump your milk to keep up your supply and feed your baby with a bottle or a cup. Be sure to continue to offer the breast whenever your baby shows that they are hungry. If your baby tries to use your nipples to teethe on, watch when your baby unlatches because a baby can’t bite if they are properly nursing. At that time put your finger between their mouth and nipple to so they can’t bite.
If your baby is showing symptoms of a fever, diarrhea, or rash and is cranky or uncomfortable, then call your pediatrician as there may a more serious issue.
Helping Baby Feel Better You can try to help make your baby’s gums feel better before nursing. Here are some things you can try before nursing, and if your baby pulls away during nursing, to get them back on the breast.
You can massage their gums with your finger before a feeding to help make them feel better. Rub a frozen teething ring or ice cube on the gums before nursing.
Freeze or refrigerate a wet washcloth for your baby to bite on.
Chill a spoon in the refrigerator (not freezer) and rub it on their gums.
If your baby has started solids, you can chill their food like applesauce to soothe the gums.
Try chilling fruit like apple or banana slices and place in a mesh feeder for baby to bite on for relief and get a snack.
At Healthy Horizons Breastfeeding Centers, we carry teething products that can also help soothe babies and help parents! Some of our products include:
Herblore Teething Tincture has a combination of herbs that helps relieve the pain of teething. 2-6 drops of the tincture can be given orally, massaged onto the gums, or put on a washcloth and frozen for baby to chew on. The Munch Mitt® Teether is a teething solution where babies bite on a little teething mitt they wear on their hand. It prevents the constant dropping of teething toys which makes it convenient for parents. It provides easy access pain relief for teething babies who are still learning consistent grip and direction and protects the hands from irritation due to chewing. It is made with food grade silicone, and is BPA and Phthalate free. EcoPiggy makes the Calmies Eco Teether which is made of 100% natural rubber. It is easy for infants to grasp and each vine of the teether has a unique pattern including a smooth, dotted, and twisted spiral; each providing a unique sensation for the baby depending on the teething stage. It has no BPA, no PVC, no parabens, and no phthalates.
Stop by our Healthy Horizons Breastfeeding Centers to find a teething strategy that works for your baby! If you find that you are having problems with breastfeeding and teething, schedule an appointment with one of our lactation consultants to help you get through the teething phase!