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Breastfeeding with teeth
Help - I'm about to give up!


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#1 au*lit

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:10 PM

My 11 month old has 6 teeth (the first came through around 6 months). Prior to the teeth I suspected his latch might not be great, but it worked ok. As his teeth now come through further he is causing me more and more pain.

He isn't biting as such, but when he's latched on his teeth are digging in to the areola very close to the nipple. After most feeds I have two teeth indents above (and sometimes below) the nipple. It's often quite painful after a feed, and can be for hours afterwards.

I have tried to get him to open his mouth wider but it doesn't seem to work. When I try to get more of the areola into his mouth he either pulls back or pushes the breast away until he's back in his preferred position. I have large breasts; I'm not sure if this has an impact on his latch.

I feel like I can't go on with this level of pain and discomfort, and I'm considering weaning. I knew I'd breastfeed for at least 12 months, and I should make it that far (only a couple of weeks away). But if this was not occurring I know I would keep feeding him for longer.

Currently he's feeding 4 times during the day (on waking, before each nap and before bed) and usually once overnight.

This afternoon I expressed a feed (for the first time in ages) to give my nipples a break and even expressing was sore. I don't mind expressing occasionally but I'm not willing to pump 4 or 5 times a day.

Please help! I don't feel ready to give up but I can't take this for much longer.

#2 Chelara

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:16 PM

It hurts doesn't it? I can't remember how long it takes to settle down but it does, not sure if your boobs toughen up, the teeth blunten or the baby changes attachment but it does eventually stop hurting.

#3 au*lit

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

I hope so, but it seems to be getting worse, not better.

#4 Le-a

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:45 PM

Op I started a thread on the same topic months ago! I know what youre talking about, with the teeth just 'resting' on your nipple. It bloody hurts! I agree with PP who said it would pass, it did for us anyway.

How are your DS solids going? Would you consider dropping a feed during the day, or is that not possible without interrupting naps? Just thinking it might help give your nipples a break without weaning entirely.

Have you tried changing feeding positions (like the football hold), just so DSs teeth sit on a different spot?

Hope things improve for you soon, and well done for getting to eleven months!

#5 bluedragon

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:48 PM

I don't know how much help I can be but I have been having similar issues lately too. DS is also 11 months and has 8 teeth which first appeared at about 4 months. Apart from a few biting incidences we've been pretty good with teeth up until now.

I've been noticing feeds have sometimes been a bit uncomfortable verging on quite painful over the last few weeks and if its bad I have also had the teeth marks after a feed too.

I'm not really sure what to do about it, I try repositioning him while he's feeding and try taking him off and reattaching but not much seems to help.

The only thing that seems to have any affect is once he is on to make sure I keep his head as close to my breast as possible and not let him stretch the breast/nipple at all, not so his nose is covered or anything but so that there is a fair bit of breast pushed up around his mouth if you can picture that at all. For some reason his attachment seems much better when I do this. It can be hard as he's in a stage where all he wants to do is move around while attached, taking me with him!

GL, I hope you get some good suggestions for things to try, I'll be stalking to see if anyone else has any ideas.

#6 Chelara

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:50 PM

I didn't do it but you could try shields. Lansinoh might help with healing too.

#7 TwiceTheWoman

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:54 PM

This does happen occasionally and is unusual.  It can be so disappointing to have to consider weaning earlier that than we envisage.  Sometimes various tweaks are needed and the best remedy is to try tilting his head back at varying degrees.
The suckle comes mostly from the peristaltic roll along the tongue and there shouldn't be any chomping or jaw  clamping although a child may occasionally do this if they are getting any teeth.  Do you think he's having movement of his 12 month molars? Usually jet a gentle "ah-ahh, no chomping, open wider" reminder will suffice.
To help him understand about opening his mouth wider, try saying "(name), open your mouth wider like this" then open your mouth wide to demonstrate.  Requesting & demonstrating works well from around 10 months old.
Otherwise the best recommendation would be to call you local ABA counsellor for a chat and I'd recommend attending a local group meeting for your best support.
All the best OP; whatever the outcome, you've done a grand job feeding your DS!

#8 au*lit

Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone original.gif

QUOTE (Le-a @ 24/04/2012, 02:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Op I started a thread on the same topic months ago! I know what youre talking about, with the teeth just 'resting' on your nipple. It bloody hurts! I agree with PP who said it would pass, it did for us anyway.

How are your DS solids going? Would you consider dropping a feed during the day, or is that not possible without interrupting naps? Just thinking it might help give your nipples a break without weaning entirely.

Have you tried changing feeding positions (like the football hold), just so DSs teeth sit on a different spot?

Hope things improve for you soon, and well done for getting to eleven months!


He is eating pretty well, 3-4 times a day. I am considering dropping the day feeds as a start.

I almost always feed with the side lying hold, but have tried the cradle hold on occasion and it doesn't seem to make much difference, but I will try again.

QUOTE (bluedragon @ 24/04/2012, 02:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't know how much help I can be but I have been having similar issues lately too. DS is also 11 months and has 8 teeth which first appeared at about 4 months. Apart from a few biting incidences we've been pretty good with teeth up until now.

I've been noticing feeds have sometimes been a bit uncomfortable verging on quite painful over the last few weeks and if its bad I have also had the teeth marks after a feed too.

I'm not really sure what to do about it, I try repositioning him while he's feeding and try taking him off and reattaching but not much seems to help.

The only thing that seems to have any affect is once he is on to make sure I keep his head as close to my breast as possible and not let him stretch the breast/nipple at all, not so his nose is covered or anything but so that there is a fair bit of breast pushed up around his mouth if you can picture that at all. For some reason his attachment seems much better when I do this. It can be hard as he's in a stage where all he wants to do is move around while attached, taking me with him!

GL, I hope you get some good suggestions for things to try, I'll be stalking to see if anyone else has any ideas.


I do try to hold him in close but he really struggles against it. If he can't pull his head back he will push against me with one hand to reposition himself.


QUOTE (Chelara @ 24/04/2012, 02:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I didn't do it but you could try shields. Lansinoh might help with healing too.


I tried nipple shields but didn't really know what I was doing with them. DS didn't know what was happening either and just tried to play with them instead of feeding.

QUOTE (TwiceTheWoman @ 24/04/2012, 02:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This does happen occasionally and is unusual.  It can be so disappointing to have to consider weaning earlier that than we envisage.  Sometimes various tweaks are needed and the best remedy is to try tilting his head back at varying degrees.
The suckle comes mostly from the peristaltic roll along the tongue and there shouldn't be any chomping or jaw  clamping although a child may occasionally do this if they are getting any teeth.  Do you think he's having movement of his 12 month molars? Usually jet a gentle "ah-ahh, no chomping, open wider" reminder will suffice.
To help him understand about opening his mouth wider, try saying "(name), open your mouth wider like this" then open your mouth wide to demonstrate.  Requesting & demonstrating works well from around 10 months old.
Otherwise the best recommendation would be to call you local ABA counsellor for a chat and I'd recommend attending a local group meeting for your best support.
All the best OP; whatever the outcome, you've done a grand job feeding your DS!


He's not chomping as such, it's just that his mouth isn't open very wide and he only just wants the nipple in his mouth, nothing more.

Not sure about the molars - it's hard enough brushing his teeth let alone getting a look in there for tooth movement! I will try to get a look.

I will try modelling the open mouth again.

I would love to go to an ABA meeting but my local group meeting times are pretty inconvenient for me. If none of the suggestions here work I'll give them a call and/or get along to a meeting.


#9 Froger

Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:20 PM

This has happened to me with all my toddlers as they get their teeth. I can't really remember what I did to fix it, it just seemed to settle after a couple of months. I do remember trying to push them in closer, make them open their mouths wider, get a better latch etc, but none of it seemed to work. But after awhile I'd just notice that it was no longer hurting!

However once I had a lot of pain from someone's little teeth. Turned out I was pregnant (and my breasts were really sensitive).

Edited by SarahM72, 24 April 2012 - 05:20 PM.


#10 runnybabbit

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:16 PM

Oh au lit, that sucks. Sorry I can't be of much help -- Nathan also digs in with his latching, but I think I have tough nipples (?) so I'm usually sore after a feed. Haven't had any luck getting him to gape wider; he's had a shallow latch since day one!

#11 meemee75

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:32 PM

OP- my DS sounds like yours. It's not fun sad.gif

He doesn't open his mouth well.
He attaches ,then pulls back  stretching my nipple and will fight me if I try to get him closer.
I've had so much pain at times I ended up seeing a GP/LC  when he was 10 months old as I had painful white spots I couldn't get rid of either.

I BF my DD until 16 months with no issue teeth and all. DS has been a  PITA to breastfeed.

He's now 13 1/2 months and we are still breastfeeding. I would say it is getting better but I'm still not comfortable.

I limit the time he feeds  for at night /early morning if it's painful....I gently pull him off and give him the dummy for those sleepy feeds.
Day feeds are usually very short so I don't do it.

I sometimes rest  a pillow  under his head  and squish it( wedge it) up so he has to move closer to my breast . If I use my arm he pulls back hard which makes it worse but with the pillow he' trapped close and nothing he can do about it and he just continues to feed.

Not every feed is painful here..but about 60-70% are and I just can't figure out what is makng the difference.. sad.gif

Edited by meemee75, 24 April 2012 - 10:33 PM.


#12 au*lit

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:46 PM

Thanks again for all the replies. It does make me feel better that I'm not alone in this problem, and that there may be hope that the pain will go away.

I'm going to try the suggestions and in the mean time look at decreasing the number of feeds. We have skipped the feed before his afternoon nap a few times, and this afternoon he wasn't terribly interested in the EBM, so I'll start with that one. If nothing else it will give my poor boobs a chance to recover in between feeds.

#13 Le-a

Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:06 PM

Just one more thing I thought of, do you ever feed lying down?

For DS morning feed, I bring him into bed with us, and I find that feed quite comfortable, probably because DS can't wriggle away (because he's kind of stuck to the bed).

I'm pretty sure we were having three breast feeds per 24hrs at eleven months. My theory was that DS was such a brilliant eater of solids, that he really wasn't missing out on anything by dropping one Bfeed. It was also around this time that I started giving DS a bottle of cows milk if he woke at night. He had never had a bottle before this time.

Anywho, again, I wish you well on your BF journey, I hpe it all works out for you.

#14 Small Potatoes

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:00 AM

Hi Au*Lit

Lachie is doing that and I have found that gravity and position are my worse enemies.  He also likes to push way my breast while feeding so I try and distract that hand by wearing a necklace for him to play with.

Some feeds are okay and some are not so much.  Breasts are contsantly sore, but not terrible.  This has been happening for about 3 months for me.  DH commented that he has the biggest front teeth of all three boys so maybe that is it too sad.gif

#15 au*lit

Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:34 AM

Almost all feeds are lying down, so gravity isn't a problem. In a way I think the lying down might be making things worse because it gives him the freedom to move around as much as he wants. Tonight he did his thing where he moves from his side to lying on his tummy with his head on the side - which obviously is not great and really pulls at me.

I find I have more control over him when sitting up, but laziness and habit keep me lying down. I think I'll have to go back to sitting up to see if I can improve things.

Mands, the necklace is a good idea. I have taken off a diamond pendant that I always wore because H pulling at it was wearing the gold down. I will wear something cheaper to see if that keeps his interest.

#16 BeachedAsBro

Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:01 PM

Same thing happens here! I feed her lying down or I take her off & get her to reattach again.

Good luck




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