Friday, October 16, 2009

Ask an IBCLC

Our International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is Marlene Giel, a RN here in Aruba at The Horacio Oduber Hospital. She's been a L&D Nurse since 1995 and did her specialization in Obstetrics&Gynecology. She Graduated in 2002 from the Erasmus Medische Centrum Rotterdam. Always having had a passion for breastfeeding, she took on a new title that of Certified Lactation Consultant since beginning her studies in 2006. She is in the course of completing absolute certification for IBCLC.  

Question: My baby finally got her first two teeth! But recently, she's gotten into the habit of biting me! Every time I have to nurse her, I become very anxious because she always ends up biting me! What can I do to make her stop? Is this her way of telling me she's ready to wean?

  Answer : Babies typically cut their first tooth between 6 and 8 months, and sometimes anywhere between 4 and 14 months.
A bite from your baby can be painful and it keeps you tense in the fear that it will happen again. It's hard to relax and enjoy breastfeeding when your baby has bitten you.
Babies who bite are seldom asking to be weaned.
There are many reasons for a bay's biting, but the most common is teething. Other reasons could be a cold or an ear infection.

Here are some ideas to help reduce and eliminate biting. Remember: THIS MAY TAKE PERSISTENCE ON YOUR PART. Your baby may not stop biting immediately but it will pass.

- When your baby is latched on correctly and nursing actively, getting milk from your breast and swallowing it is then impossible for him to bite. This is because the baby needs to stop sucking in order to bite. When latched on properly and nursing, your nipple is far back in his mouth. In order to bite the baby has to adjust his tongue and allow your nipple to slide forward towards his teeth. When your baby is about to bite, try and watch for a moment. Often the tension in your bay's mouth will change just before this happens.
- As soon as you notice this change, slip your finger into the corner of your baby's mouth, between his teeth, and let the nipple come out all the while keeping your finger in your baby's mouth to protect your nipple. Puling your baby straight off is a very natural response, but it may cause soreness on your nipple.
- Baby's position is important, and that means helping your baby stay in a close breastfeeding position, so that he can't pull off very easily.So, pull the baby closer to the breast, at least momentarily. If your baby begins to position himself away from your nipple, be alert for a possible bite.
- When the cause of the problem is a cold, a more upright position can help your baby to breathe easier.
Your baby may breastfeed better if you offer the breast while walking.
- Allow your baby to choose when to breastfeed. If baby is distracted and pulling off frequently, try breastfeeding in a darkened room or begin a new activity with the baby.
If the baby is biting he probably is not hungry enough to nurse at that time.

Send in your questions to Wendy Martijn on Facebook, or to my email and have your questions answered in next week's segment of "Ask an IBCLC"

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