Breastfeeding and Teething: 5 Tips to Prevent Biting

Breastfeeding and teething

breastfeeding and teething tips to prevent bitingWhat’s it like to breastfeed a baby with teeth?

A baby with teeth can put off a lot of breastfeeding moms. Before my son was born I would often say that I would breastfeed until his teeth came in. Once his teeth did come in and I continued breastfeeding, more than a few people looked at me with a mix of wonder and disgust when they realized I was breastfeeding a baby with teeth.

When a baby/child is actively nursing, they can’t actually bite you because of the position of their tongue. Once I realized this I felt a lot better about breastfeeding! A baby may bite during a breastfeeding session, but they physically cannot bite you while they are actively drinking milk. 

Biting can be quite painful!

Aside from the occasional (extremely painful) bite, breastfeeding my son after he started teething was no different than breastfeeding him before. My son also teethed relatively early, with his first two teeth coming in just as he reached 5 months. By then our breastfeeding relationship was pretty well established and I also wanted to exclusively breastfeed him until he started solids, so we chugged away with nursing as he teethed.

Having your nipple bitten while breastfeeding is incredibly painful. Much like I wasn’t prepared for the initial pain of breastfeeding, I was also not prepared for the pain of a bite! There are a few tactics to teach your child biting is not okay and to prevent future bites.

How can you prevent biting while breastfeeding? 5 Tips:

1. Unlatch him or her. If your nursling bites you, unlatch and gently but firmly say something like ‘Biting is not okay. Biting hurts mommy.’ If they don’t understand your language, they will understand that biting means no milk and they will generally learn quite quickly.

2. Pay close attention. If you think your child is about to bite, slip your finger into his or her mouth so your finger gets bitten instead. Since a baby can’t bite while actively nursing, pay close attention so you can be prepared if they try to bite.

3. Avoid yelling or other dramatic reactions. This will be hard when you’re in pain, but dramatic reactions can actually encourage your child to repeat the biting behaviour to see the same big reaction again.

4. Remember, while actively feeding, it is impossible for your child to bite.  This is because of the position of their tongue. If you have been experiencing biting, pay attention as they finish a feed and unlatch them before they can bite.

5. Check the cause of biting. Your son or daughter may bite if the milk flow is too fast – if you have an overactive or fast let down, you can unlatch your nursling as your milk starts to flow and then allow them to latch back on once the flow is a bit slower.

When I look back now, I laugh at how I was intimidated about breastfeeding my son after his teeth came in. Teething did add a bit of a challenge, but it has been very manageable and I would encourage anyone who is hesitating to continue breastfeeding after teething to try it!

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5 Tips for Breastfeeding an Active Toddler

Breastfeeding a Toddler

Breastfeeding a Toddler

Breastfeeding Can Be a Challenge…

My tiny newborn has become a rambunctious toddler in what seems like the blink of an eye. Our breastfeeding relationship is still going strong, but it has certainly changed. I’ve compiled my top tips for breastfeeding a toddler based on our recent experience. 

Breastfeeding my son as a newborn went something like this:

Cry. Breastfeed. Sleep. Poop. Cry. Breastfeed. Sleep. Poop. Cry. Breastfeed. Sleep. Poop. (To be clear, he was the one crying… most of the time)

Once we’d introduced solids and actually had him eating 2-3 times a day, we breastfed like this:

Breastfeed several times at night. Wake and breastfeed. Breakfast – solids. Play. Breastfeed. Nap. Wake and breastfeed. Play. Breastfeed. Play. Breastfeed. Play. Dinner – solids. Breastfeed and sleep.

And now that we are at the toddler stage, it is mostly the same as the above, just picture it with a child that Never. Stops. Moving.

Now that I’m trying to feed a child who mostly resembles a hyperactive chimpanzee, these are tips I’ll share with anyone trying to do the same.

toddler breastfeeding tips

5 Tips for Breastfeeding an Active Toddler

1) Be prepared for rejection

For the first 9 or so months, if I offered to nurse, my son accepted. Without even realizing it, I became accustomed to the gratification of always being wanted when I offered to nurse. As my son gained a bit of independence and ate more solid foods, he didn’t always want the breast. It is still hard for me to accept that even when i know he’s hungry and thirsty, he chooses playing the dirty tissue he found under the couch over my milk.

2) Be prepared for distractions

I heard that it could be challenging to nurse a distractible toddler but didn’t understand how hard it would be. Even when my son wants to nurse, he is so easily distracted. Anything distracts him. The sound of the washing machine entering the spin cycle. The feather poking out of the sofa pillow. The clasp on my nursing bra, which he has literally seen 8-20 times a day since he was born. Something different will work for everyone, but the best way for me to keep my distractible toddler focused while nursing is to sing to him. This way he can’t hear random ambient noise and he tends to maintain eye contact with me. This only works at home, though. If we’re out and about, I nurse him in the carrier.

3) Remember it is more than physical nutrition – nursing has emotional benefits for your toddler

Of course, by breastfeeding your toddler you are providing an excellent nutritional benefit, but your toddler won’t always nurse purely out of hunger. I’ve been grateful that I breastfeed as my son has started to throw small tantrums or stumbles and hurts himself. Nursing is like a magical reset button – it soothes him quickly and lets me get in a cuddle since otherwise he’s always on the move.

4) Don’t worry about shorter feeding times

As my son grew his marathon nursing sessions became shorter and shorter. For us, a full feed became 7 minutes per breast. However, the more active he became, the shorter his nursing sessions. 2-3 minute breastfeeding sessions throughout the day have become the norm for us, with slightly more time spent during his night feeds or if he nurses to sleep.

5) Mind your latch

After months of blissful pain-free breastfeeding, my son’s latch became shallower and suddenly I was running for my lanolin and silverettes. I am not sure what changed his latch – it could have been his molars, confusion with his sippy cup and straw bottle, or even a bit of laziness. I have often had to relatch him several times in one feeding to make it more comfortable.

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Simple & Healthy Green Lactation Smoothie Recipe

green lactation smoothie

Disclosure: this recipe contains affiliate links for the ingredients I use. If you click the link and choose to purchase, I may receive a small commission. This does not increase the cost to you and helps me keep this community active.

Green Lactation Smoothie

This simple and healthy green lactation smoothie is one of my favorite lactation recipes. It is quick and easy to make, tastes super healthy, and helps boost your milk supply. This smoothie is great for breakfast, or any time of day. When I’m really pressed for time I add in some protein powder and have it as a meal.  

green lactation smoothie

The ingredients for this smoothie are straightforward and all it only takes a couple of minutes to make with your blender/ food processor of choice.

Green Lactation Smoothie Ingredients:

2 Cups Spinach or Kale
1 Banana (ripe is good so it is sweeter!)
1-2 Cups Milk of Choice
1 tsp Brewer’s Yeast*
1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed or Wheat Germ
Optional – 1 tbsp Honey or Sweetener of Choice

Method:

1) Combine greens, banana, and milk (and sweetener if using) and blend together
2) Add the brewer’s yeast and flaxseed or wheat germ and blend once more
3) Enjoy!

green lactation smoothie

 

*A note on the brewer’s yeast – this is considered one of the most effective lactation-boosting ingredients (it worked for me!) but the taste isn’t great. I find that the green smoothie in particular masks the yeast flavor pretty well, but if you detect a hint of, oh I don’t know… beer, in the smoothie, don’t be alarmed. You can omit this ingredient and still support lactation with the high nutrient content of the greens, the calcium in the milk, and the ground flaxseed or wheat germ.

 

Not sure where to find Brewer’s Yeast? Click the image to buy!

Like this recipe? You might also like these Lactation Recipes:

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Very Berry Breakfast Lactation Smoothie Recipe

very berry lactation smoothie

Milk Supply Boosting Smoothie

The Very Berry Breakfast Lactation Smoothie is quick and easy to make, tastes delicious, and helps boost your milk supply. Since it includes yogurt, oats, and fruit, it is a whole meal in a glass. It is refreshing and filling, and feels like a nice treat to start the day.

very berry lactation smoothieThe lactation smoothie recipe is packed with milk-supply boosting ingredients (also known as galactagogues). One of the most effective is brewer’s yeast, so try not to leave that one out. If you can’t find it in your local supermarket it is available online. The oats, flaxseed and wheat germ, and calcium from the yogurt also support milk production.

I call this a breakfast smoothie, and before breastfeeding I would have been totally satisfied with this as breakfast. Now, as a breastfeeding mom, I’m hungry all the time. I’ll admit I usually have some scrambled eggs or whole wheat toast with peanut butter on the side so I can stay full and energized ’til lunchtime. Breastfeeding moms need a lot of calories! (Check out my healthy snack suggestions for ideas to satisfy that hunger.)

Lactation Smoothie Recipe

The ingredients for this smoothie are straightforward and all it takes is a moment to prepare with your blender/ food processor. You can use your berries of choice – I always use some raspberries and then see what else is available in my freezer, or I use fresh berries if it’s summer. (Disclosure: this recipe contains affiliate links.)

Very Berry Lactation Smoothie Ingredients:

2/3 Cup Fresh or Frozen Berries
1/2 Cup Yogurt (I use greek yogurt for extra protein)
1 Cup Milk of Choice
1/3 Cup Rolled Oats
1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed or Wheat Germ
1 tbsp Honey or Sweetener of Choice (Try Agave – so good!)
1 tsp Brewer’s Yeast*

Method:

1) Blend together berries, yogurt, and milk.
2) Add in oats, flaxseed/wheat germ, sweetener, and brewer’s yeast and blend again. You might need to blend a bit more than your average smoothie to get a smooth texture with the oats.
3) Enjoy!

breakfast lactation smoothie

*A note on the brewer’s yeast – this is considered one of the most effective lactation-boosting ingredients (it worked for me!) but the taste isn’t great. I find the taste of this smoothie in particular masks the yeast flavor pretty well, but if you detect a hint of, oh I don’t know… beer, in the smoothie, don’t be alarmed. You can omit this ingredient and still support lactation with the oats and high calcium content.

Not sure where to find Brewer’s Yeast? Click the image to buy!

 

Like this smoothie? You might also like these lactation recipes:

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Lactation Boosting Berry Cake

lactation cake recipe

lactation cake recipe

Eating to Support Lactation

This lactation recipe is one of my favorites because it is versatile, simple, and delicious. For me, it is easier to make than lactation cookies since you just pour the batter into a pan and bake.

Once I returned to work and had to pump daily, I would bake up one of these cakes every few weeks. The cake freezes well, so I would take a piece to work to enjoy as a snack during my afternoon pumping session. (It’s not weird to eat and pump, right?)

The rolled oats and brewer’s yeast can help boost your milk supply and provide a healthy source of fiber.   The coconut topping lends a unique texture and of course a delicious coconutty taste.

And the berries are just the right combination of bitter and sweet. You don’t even realize you’re eating something that isn’t purely indulgent and also has lactation boosting benefits! (Disclosure: this recipe contains affiliate links)

Recipe: Lactation Boosting Berry Cake 

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup boiling water
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Brewer’s Yeast*
2 cups berries of choice
1/3 cup grated coconut (topping)
lactation cake recipe

Instructions/ Method:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×11 or 9×9 inch pan.
  2. Soak oats in boiling water while preparing the batter (but do not drain the oats).
  3. In a large bowl, cream together sugar, egg, butter, and vanilla.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients.
  5. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  6. Stir in the undrained soaked oats and berries.
  7. Pour batter into greased pan and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and top with grated coconut. Cool before cutting/serving.

*A note on the brewer’s yeast – this ingredient is most likely to help boost your milk supply so try not to omit it. Sometimes it can be hard to find in stores but you can get it online! Brewer’s yeast always helps boost my milk supply – read about my success with it here.

You might also like these lactation recipes:

Lactation granola recipe no bake lactation energy balls very berry lactation smoothie

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