Ah, these growing pains…teeth. Every child has to go through them. For some babies this discomfort starts really early (I know one 8 month old baby that already had 8 teeth), for others the real teething phase seems to kick in after 12 months of age. Whatever your baby’s circumstance, here are three common ‘myths’ that I’ll like to take a moment to dispel:
It’ll hurt to breastfeed if baby has teeth.
Not true! I was afraid of this myself, but it has really only happened once or twice during a year of breastfeeding. And each time it happened, I think my reaction (slight look of shock and pain, with a wince, and then disconnecting the latch with a stern look and verbal warning) was enough to cause baby to latch on more carefully the next time. So it really hasn’t been an issue at all.
Baby won’t want to breastfeed.
I’ve heard of reports where it has been said baby didn’t want to breastfeed as much when teething. But I’ve found that this is not necessarily the case. My little one actually wanted to breastfeed more, not less. Perhaps the sucking motion was comforting on the gums, and baby seemed to be more needy and wanting more cuddling and comfort during this time as well. I found my breast milk supply often improved a bit during the teething bouts!
It’ll be harder to put baby to sleep.
I’ve noticed the opposite at times. Generally, my baby or toddler actually seems to be more tired and sleepy (perhaps one of the causes of baby’s fussiness during teething?), and wanting to take more naps and sleep more. Other moms have reported a similar observation. That’s good for tired moms who also need a rest!
What I’ve observed instead is that it’s not so much that the baby is more difficult to put to sleep, but that there tends to be a bit more night wakings from the teething discomfort and pain. Hence the baby may not be able to sleep as soundly during the night and this probably also contributes to the increased fussiness during the day…somewhat of a vicious cycle!