Nursing a Teething Baby

Teething babies are fussy, tense and irritable. They can also occasionally run a fever or have a stuffy nose. For some little teethers, breastfeeding will soothe the pain and they’ll want to nurse all day, almost back to the newborn days.

For others, the act of sucking may make the gums hurt more. Sometimes, giving them a teething aid like a frozen washcloth or silicone teether can help calm them enough for a feeding. If your baby refuses to nurse while teething, be sure to pump or hand express your milk and give it to your infant in a bottle or sippy cup.

What Teething Means for You

If you feel your baby’s teeth while nursing, check your nursing position. Bring your baby’s head and mouth as close as possible so that he isn't pulling on your areola. Try holding him in a different position (lying down, for example) at each nursing session so the pressure from his jaw and teeth changes locations.

Teething babies may experiment with clamping down (or outright biting) on the nipple with their gums. If your baby bites, break the suction with your finger and tell her “no” in a firm, but not angry, voice. She is old enough to understand that biting means no more breastfeeding.

Although it’s normal—and a happy sign your that baby is growing up—teething and the discomfort it causes can be hard to witness and handle as new parents. Stay calm and patient so that you can continue to feed and help your baby through it all.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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