When teething pain strikes, it can be hard to know how to help your baby. The good news is that breastmilk does help teething pain. Many moms are afraid of breastfeeding once their little ones have teeth, but breastfeeding—and breast milk—can be a powerful tool to help your baby through the difficulties of teething.
A number of studies suggest that breastfeeding reduces pain (most often studied after infants receive vaccinations), and this likely includes teething pain. The act of breastfeeding can soothe and comfort your little one, helping them through the teething pain. Human milk is also anti-inflammatory, which can help soothe sore and swollen gums. In addition to the scientific evidence, many mothers anecdotally share that breastfeeding helps teething pain for their babies. The best person to “say” if breastmilk is helping their teething pain is your baby. If they are fussy from teething, you can always try to breastfeed and notice how your baby responds.
As much as breastmilk can help teething pain, sometimes your baby will try to bite or chomp at your breast if they’re uncomfortable from teething pain. If this is an issue, try to re-latch your baby and start again when ready. Follow your baby’s cues. If they don’t want to breastfeed, offer a breastfeeding session again later and choose another way to comfort in the meantime.
Other ways to help your baby through teething pain are:
- Allow your baby to gum a teething toy
- Let them suck or chew on a cool, wet washcloth
- Rub baby’s gums with a clean finger
- Give over the counter pain relief medication (such as Tylenol or Motrin)
- Try a breastmilk teething popsicle
Though teething pain can be difficult to deal with, it usually passes relatively quickly. Breastfeeding and breastmilk—with its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties—can be a helpful tool as you comfort your baby through growing a mouthful of new teeth.