Being bitten is a huge fear for many mothers, and is sometimes the deciding factor of not breastfeeding at all - or that is the automatic end point for the relationship. I will admit that in my 28 months of breastfeeding there was a period around 9 months old with Chicken Little that I uttered the words, "I don't know if I can do this." But, you all obviously know that I can and did do this... and you can too!
It is a good test of your commitment to breastfeeding. But with support from those who have gone through it before you will be just super!
- IF you are being bitten your baby is not actually hungry. It is physically impossible for them to bite/clamp and eat at the same time. During teething you will be acutely aware of when they slow down on sucking and probably start to make the decision to end their nursing session a little earlier than normal.
- Nurse with your thumb near the corner of their mouth, so when/if they start to bite you can quickly unlatch and remove baby before injury occurs.
- If you end up being injured, a trick I used was to pump and give the breastmilk to baby in a cup. He thought it was awesome, and it gave me time to heal... and build up the confidence to trust in nursing again.
- If you are bitten, try your best not to laugh (baby will then think it is funny too). Tell baby "NO, that hurts mama" in a firm serious voice and end your nursing session (since they obviously aren't hungry anyway)
- Remember that this is a relatively short period of time in your nursing relationship. Once those teeth poke through baby is usually done looking for something to chomp on.
Who could resist that face??
While nursing him now I do occasionally have that, "Eekgads, if he really wanted to he could take a nipple off" thought in my head while looking down at his mouth full of teeth... but I trust in our nursing relationship and it's been over a year since I was last bit. Your baby isn't trying to hurt you, just looking for a way to relieve the pressure of that tooth popping through. Give them something they CAN chew on and stay strong. This can be a big speed bump, but it's not the end of the road.
Additional tips: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/teething.html