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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

Breastfeeding hurts at night.

Posted by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:24 PM
  • 3 Replies
For some reason it hurts me to breastfeed in the middle of the night. I'm fine during the day but at night it's slightly painful. Anyone know why??
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by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:24 PM
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Replies (1-3):
K8wizzo
by Kate on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM

This is my guess... even without teeth, not having baby's head propped up enough can hurt.  I used to have to remind myself to lift him up a bit at night when I was tired.

Not really biting, but scraping teeth or indentations

Teeth scraping, uncomfortable latch, or indentations on your nipple tissue from the teeth is not all that uncommon. It seems to be worse for most moms right when the teeth first cut through, and before they have a chance to wear down some and become less sharp. Babies may also change their latch a bit when they get new teeth, as nursing can feel different to them with the new teeth. With time, baby will learn to nurse better with the new teeth and you won’t be so aware of them. Here are some suggestions that have helped other moms:

  • With an older baby, the weight of the baby can cause baby’s mouth and teeth to “drag down” on the breast tissue. See if you can position baby so that her weight is supported well. Use pillows or a chair with arm rests to support her as much as you can. When she is nursing on the left side, bring her bottom in a little bit closer and vice versa. Don’t let her nurse in a position that lets her weight and gravity cause her mouth to pull down on your breast and nipple. Try moving her body slightly in different ways (higher, lower, side to side, etc.) till the pressure on your breast is lessened.
  • Latch baby on and position her head so that it is tilted back more to get the pressure of the top teeth off your breast. For example, if baby is nursing in the cradle position on the left side, bring her body toward the right a bit. This will bring baby’s chin up, with her head a bit cocked back, and that moves the pressure of baby’s top teeth off the top of the nipple. Don’t let her chin rest on her chest.
  • Some other ways to get baby’s head tilted back more: ask your child to look at you while she nurses, or hold a book up high to read to your child and have her look at the book.
  • When you support your breast with 2-4 fingers underneath and thumb on top, push in against the chest wall with your index finger just before offering the breast. This will cause the nipple and areola to point down more, so that they don’t rub against baby’s upper teeth. This technique is often suggested for moms who have nipple soreness due to their nipples rubbing up against the roof of baby’s mouth.
  • Ask baby to open WIDE and show her with your own mouth. Tell her that it hurts mommy and ask her to try again until it feels better.
  • A generous application of lanolin before and after feeding may be helpful, as will rinsing your nipples with cool water after feedings. When babies are teething they produce more saliva which can be irritating to nipple tissue. If baby is eating solids, sometimes food particles left in the mouth can also irritate nipple tissue, so it may help to rinse out baby’s mouth or give baby a sip of water prior to nursing.
  • Any time you experience soreness, go back to the basics of latch just as you did in the early days.
  • It’s also possible that some of the tenderness is a result of ovulation or an impending menstrual period. Many moms of older babies are more bothered with latch on and baby’s teeth during these times.

See also:

heatherd09
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM
Thanks. I'll definitely try propping his head better. That sounds like it could be the issue.

Quoting K8wizzo:

This is my guess... even without teeth, not having baby's head propped up enough can hurt.  I used to have to remind myself to lift him up a bit at night when I was tired.

Not really biting, but scraping teeth or indentations

Teeth scraping, uncomfortable latch, or indentations on your nipple tissue from the teeth is not all that uncommon. It seems to be worse for most moms right when the teeth first cut through, and before they have a chance to wear down some and become less sharp. Babies may also change their latch a bit when they get new teeth, as nursing can feel different to them with the new teeth. With time, baby will learn to nurse better with the new teeth and you won’t be so aware of them. Here are some suggestions that have helped other moms:

  • With an older baby, the weight of the baby can cause baby’s mouth and teeth to “drag down” on the breast tissue. See if you can position baby so that her weight is supported well. Use pillows or a chair with arm rests to support her as much as you can. When she is nursing on the left side, bring her bottom in a little bit closer and vice versa. Don’t let her nurse in a position that lets her weight and gravity cause her mouth to pull down on your breast and nipple. Try moving her body slightly in different ways (higher, lower, side to side, etc.) till the pressure on your breast is lessened.
  • Latch baby on and position her head so that it is tilted back more to get the pressure of the top teeth off your breast. For example, if baby is nursing in the cradle position on the left side, bring her body toward the right a bit. This will bring baby’s chin up, with her head a bit cocked back, and that moves the pressure of baby’s top teeth off the top of the nipple. Don’t let her chin rest on her chest.
  • Some other ways to get baby’s head tilted back more: ask your child to look at you while she nurses, or hold a book up high to read to your child and have her look at the book.
  • When you support your breast with 2-4 fingers underneath and thumb on top, push in against the chest wall with your index finger just before offering the breast. This will cause the nipple and areola to point down more, so that they don’t rub against baby’s upper teeth. This technique is often suggested for moms who have nipple soreness due to their nipples rubbing up against the roof of baby’s mouth.
  • Ask baby to open WIDE and show her with your own mouth. Tell her that it hurts mommy and ask her to try again until it feels better.
  • A generous application of lanolin before and after feeding may be helpful, as will rinsing your nipples with cool water after feedings. When babies are teething they produce more saliva which can be irritating to nipple tissue. If baby is eating solids, sometimes food particles left in the mouth can also irritate nipple tissue, so it may help to rinse out baby’s mouth or give baby a sip of water prior to nursing.
  • Any time you experience soreness, go back to the basics of latch just as you did in the early days.
  • It’s also possible that some of the tenderness is a result of ovulation or an impending menstrual period. Many moms of older babies are more bothered with latch on and baby’s teeth during these times.

See also:

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Gruntlings
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:47 PM

If it's not latch based it might also be supply related. Mom's supply varies across the day. (This is normal and healthy) When your baby is nursing on a breast with lower supply sometimes it's achy. It's good because it keeps up your supply, but it can make your breast feel very tender. 

Do you nurse in a different position at night vs. during the day? Some positions make for happier nipples than others do. If your baby's having a hard time staying latched in a side-laying position or other position then maybe it's not a good position for you. (My babies had a hard time staying latched due to tongue ties so they'd bite down to try to stay latched.) 

It could also just be a side effect of being touched out/sleepy. Everything bugs me more at night because it's quiet, dark and I want to be asleep.  

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