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Thread: Teething and Nursing - a bit long...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    33

    Default Teething and Nursing - a bit long...

    Quick introduction of myself. I have been married for 3 years and have two boys. Jackson is two and a half and Gage is three months old. I nursed Jackson and am currently nursing Gage.

    Oh my goodness I have just about had it! This baby is so much different from my first. Jackson nursed reall well and for long periods of time. Unfortunately I had to go back to work and lost my milk at five months. Gage on the other hand has been a bit of a challenge. He was born with Myoclonus of Early Infancy and was in the hospital for the first week of his life. While there, he wouldn't nurse. We were having issues after we got home from delivery and were scheduled to go into lactation the next day but then ended up back in the hospital. While we were there they suggested bottle feeding since he wouldnt nurse but still needed the nurtrition. I pumped and fed him and was able to keep my milk that way. After we got home, he seemed to nurse ok though he would only nurse for a few minutes at a time so I had to constantly pump after feedings so I could keep my milk supply (I have a fear of losing it early like I did with Jackson). Anyway, a week and a half ago, Gage got his first two teeth. During his teething he slowed his eating (I guess because he was in pain) and now that he has his teeth, he is chewing on me.

    My question is this...I have tried the stern "NO" and pulling him off of the breast, but that doesn't seem to be working. He will eat ok for the first five minutes of the first side but then starts to chew on my nipple and wont eat from the second side. That leaves me to pump again like I was in the beginning. Any suggestions on how to get him to stop chewing and to eat a bit longer would be appreciated.

    He is eating about every three-three and a half hours. If I let him sleep and wake up on his own he would go HOURS (like 5+) so I choose to wake him. I tried a 4 hour schedule for a while but found that my milk reduced a bunch. HE is sleeping through the night now as well.

    Thanks for any help you can give!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Teething and Nursing - a bit long...

    Wow, he's a really early teether. I can certainly see how teeth in a 3mo could lead to complications in the nursing. Ouch!

    I don't think a 3mo is going to understand a verbal "No bite!" when he chews on you. Cognitively, I don't think he even grasps that you and he are separate beings yet. So we're going to have to figure out another way to trick him into sparing your poor nipples.

    When he is latched properly, his tongue is extended over his lower gums, between his jaws. He's not going to bite you very hard with his tongue in the way. If you can catch him at the very moment he shifts the latch by pulling his tongue in, then get your pinkie finger in there promptly (don't be overgentle) and break the latch. Then immediately offer him a cold teething ring or frozen wet cloth to chew on instead.

    Hopefully, after a few moments with the cold object, he will be ready to nurse again. Insist every time on a good deep latch, and every time he shifts to a shallower latch in preparation for chewing on you, get him off the breast immediately with your pinkie.

    Have you tried breast compressions to help the milk flow faster? Maybe that will keep him interested in eating a little longer.

    Lastly, with my son, I found that treating his teething pain made a big improvement in his nursing. It's possible that your early teether is already working on more teeth, so give him a dose of your favorite infant pain med (or try Hyland's teething tablets -- they're homeopathic, and we often had good results with them) and see if that makes any difference.

    Good luck -- it sounds very frustrating, but hopefully things will settle down soon for you two.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    33

    Default Re: Teething and Nursing - a bit long...

    Quote Originally Posted by quakerm0mma
    Have you tried breast compressions to help the milk flow faster? Maybe that will keep him interested in eating a little longer.

    try Hyland's teething tablets

    --Rebecca

    Ok, how do you do breast compressions? Just using your hand to help the milk down?? The hyland's teething tablets...are they safe for a 3 mo old? I mean how are they used?

    As for trying to get my pinkie in there when he slips down, i cant feel when he slips down. I guess I could go by the amount of brown on my breast that gradually begins to show around his mouth?

    THANKS for your input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Teething and Nursing - a bit long...

    Quote Originally Posted by GagesMom
    Ok, how do you do breast compressions? Just using your hand to help the milk down?? The hyland's teething tablets...are they safe for a 3 mo old? I mean how are they used?

    As for trying to get my pinkie in there when he slips down, i cant feel when he slips down. I guess I could go by the amount of brown on my breast that gradually begins to show around his mouth?

    THANKS for your input.

    Breast compressions are a gentle but firm and steady one-handed squeeze of the whole breast, for half a minute or so. Don't squeeze so hard that it hurts, but apply stead and gradually increasing pressure and then hold it for a bit.

    Hyland's -- you should be able to find the teething tablets in most drugstores and certainly in a health food store. I'm pretty sure they are safe for a 3mo because they are homeopathic -- this means that there is just a teeny-tiny amount of the active ingredients in each tablet, and the idea is that this tiny suggestion of a substance will trigger the body's own processes in response. Read the label to be sure. They are very soft and just dissolve almost instantly on or under the baby's tongue. IIIRC, the important thing is to avoid touching the tablets with your fingers -- I would gently flick a couple tablets from the bottle into the bottle's cap, and then sort of toss them from the cap into my son's mouth.

    As for catching your son as he tries to shift to a bite-able latch, if you can't feel it happening, you need to watch for it. Watch his face closely while he nurses, pinkie finger poised and at the ready. There should be a discernable change in the way his mouth meets the breast. I'm sorry, it's been so long that I don't know how to describe it properly.

    If he really is just gradually sliding away from a good latch, then use your best judgment about when to unlatch. Don't tolerate an uncomfortable latch! Your baby has to do his part in learning how to nurse without hurting you.

    It's a big pain in the neck to have to be vigilant during what would otherwise be a great time to relax a bit, but, well, it's better than getting bitten, right? Good luck -- I hope this problem resolves soon!

    --Rebecca

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