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My 20mo nurses twice daily and lately it has become painful. She doesn't bite me, but her top 4 teeth are digging into my breast and it's leaving an impression of her teeth after she unlatches. Her latch is great - not too shallow or deep and her tongue hides her bottom teeth so they are not an issue. And until a couple weeks ago, we have had no issues*. I don't think it's anything she's doing intentionally so it's not really a behavior I can correct. I've unlatched and re-latched half a dozen times with no changes -still hurts. Any advice on what I can do? I think she might be moving close to self-weaning, by I'm not ready to wean until she is. So I want to do whatever possible to alleviate this pain without pushing her to wean before she's ready.

*She did have a hard time latching as a newborn and since I have semi-flat nipples, I did use a nipple shield for about 2mo. But since weaning off the nipple shield (and reestablishing my supply because the shield caused my supply to take quite a hit) we've had zero problems and she's been nursing like a champ.

  • How long has this been happening? I tend to get this more with my son when he's teething. Could that be a possibility? If so then I guess you can wait until the teeth come through and hope it improves and/or try to give her something to reduce her discomfort before you nurse - particularly try giving something to chew on. – MiniMum Sep 6 '15 at 12:35
  • A couple weeks probably... I don't think she's teething right now, but it's certainly possible. She doesn't have any of the usual teething symptoms. – TheSmallestOne Sep 6 '15 at 16:46
  • Just checking but this is a twenty month old child? One year nine months old? – DanBeale Sep 6 '15 at 17:49
  • Yes, 1y9m. She will be 2 in Dec. – TheSmallestOne Sep 6 '15 at 21:49
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I have had a similar issue with my 18-month-old who is still nursing occasionally. She has found out that gnawing (not biting, but changing the position of her top teeth) gives more milk as my supply has declined, or it's simply a lazier approach to a latch.

I don't think it's anything she's doing intentionally so it's not really a behavior I can correct.

I would say that even if it isn't intentional (in the sense of trying to bite to get a reaction), it is still a behavior that you can correct - she has changed her latch for some reason and you can help her change it back.

  1. Try a new position, sitting up with baby facing you, straddling your lap
  2. Praise a good latch; stay still, use eye contact, and she will get a milk reward.
  3. Disconnect a bad latch using pinky finger in the side of her mouth, and wait a few minutes before latching again. Also say something like "Ouch that hurts. I don't like it. If you want to nurse then you need to be gentle."
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