Baby's Teeth Cause Breast Injury

My baby is eight months old and has both her top teeth and bottom teeth. Since getting her top teeth, she has worn holes on each side of my nipple on one breast and is currently working on the other breast. She is not biting me, so I am not sure what to do. I do not want to wean her, but I currently cannot nurse at all on one side, and I am hurting very badly on the other. I have been pumping the breast that has scabs in order to keep my milk flow, but she will not drink the milk from the bottle. She has never had formula, so I hate to start now, but I feel like I do not have much choice. I see all kinds of help for new mothers with sore nipples but never any information on when children get teeth. Can you help me?

-- Kathy

Question:

I am sorry to hear of the pain from your little one's teeth. Treatment for soreness is the same as when you begin breastfeeding. Change baby's position by trying to nurse lying down using a football hold, or even straddle baby on your leg to nurse sitting upright; both help relieve pressure on the sore spots. Use warm compresses before nursing, a lubricating ointment like Lansinoh to soothe the skin and promote healing, or ice to numb the area if needed. The scabs will fall off, and the skin underneath will likely be tougher as time goes on.

Certainly the milk you pump will be beneficial for her to drink. At eight months of age you can try a sipper cup rather than start her on a bottle. You can spoon-feed using an eyedropper. You can even try a tiny cup, like a medicine dosage cup, to get small amounts of milk into your baby's mouth.

Hopefully these suggestions will help and both of you can get back to nursing comfortably. If you need more help, please contact your local Leader or lactation consultant to help brainstorm new positions and solve this painful problem. It can be done!

-- LLLGeoanne

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