Ideally, a mom should exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. On the 7th month she should be breastfeeding and combining it with solid food intake. This combination of breastfeed and solid food should last for about 12 to 24 months or for as long as the mother and baby mutually want.
With the age specified above, you might probably ask: how about breastfeeding a baby with teeth?
Remember that correct latch on plays a significant part to this. The baby cannot bite if the lips are flanged perfectly. Anyhow, there are possible reasons why babies bite:
- Biting at the end of the feeding session means the baby might be bored or full already.
- The baby is distracted e.g. rolling, pushing, wriggling (you may want to cease the nursing session first and have the baby relax).
- The baby wants attention (for example, the mother is speaking with someone across the room) and gets it by biting.
You may also want to try these tips:
- Offer baby something to chew on like a wet washcloth or cold teething toy.
- Offer a frozen bagel or any hard, cold food to baby eating solid food already and discard the item (say the bagel) once it becomes soggy so as to avoid choking.
- Massage the baby’s gum with your clean finger.
- Bear in mind to consult the doctor first before purchasing over-the-counter gum numbing gels.
- Try to adopt a nursing position that is works best for you and the baby.
- Read cues. Baby might bite because of distraction, boredom or for attention.
- If the baby bites and does not want to let go, place your finger in between the gums so you can pull away your breast.
- If the baby starts to bite, stop the session. This will teach the baby that biting and nursing do not go together.