Posted by: Dany G. | October 4, 2015

Breastfeeding Week 2015 – October 5 to 9, 2015

Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s make it work!

 Most mothers think that they need to stop breastfeeding when they return to work. Actually, the older your baby is, the easier it is to continue breastfeeding while working. If you need to return to work before your baby is 5 to 6 months, you will need to express your breastmilk to keep up your milk supply. If you go back to work later, your breasts will adapt to the situation and, after an initial period of slight engorgement, your breasts will follow the new routine and will produce milk only when your baby breastfeeds. In Canada, there is a parental leave of 1 year which facilitates a longer breastfeeding period.

It is quite easy to breastfeed while working as your body and your child adapt to changes. The difficulties usually reside in the environment. For example, is it possible for your employer to give you an extended break to go breastfeed your baby or to pump your milk? Is there a private area that you can use or is the daycare close enough to your workplace to go there and come back during break time?

In Eeyou Itschee, there is rarely more than 2 km distance from one end of the community to the other. Daycares are close to the center of town and if you have a job in the community, it is quite feasible to go breastfeed during breaks and at lunchtime. It is actually relaxing to spend quiet time with your child.

My experience when I moved in Mistissini was quite positive and a little different. I came to Mistissini to work for the Public Health Department of the CHB and as my husband needed to finish a contract in Montreal, I came alone with my 2 years old daughter. The daycare was full so I had to take her to work with me and I breastfed her many times in my office cubicle. I used to put her to sleep for her nap on my thick woolen parka. I’d slide her under my desk near me while I was working. This went on until they had a place for her at daycare. She was drinking and eating on her own so she didn’t need to be breastfed regularly. She asked for her juju when I was with her but drank water while at daycare. I had chosen for breastmilk to be the only milk she received, but this is a personal choice. There are many other options.

The experience of a co-worker of mine was also very similar. She had a 9 months old baby and was able to adjust her working schedule around her baby’s needs; bringing him to the daycare early, coming to work and going back to breastfeed him in the morning, at lunchtime and in the afternoon. He breastfeed as he had before in the evening and whenever they were together.

With support from family, friends, the employers and the community, it is possible to breastfeed and work! Try it and you will see!

Posted by: Dany G. | August 20, 2015

Ever wonder why babies don’t sleep through the night?


The Sleep Cycle

Breastfeeding is a “gut feeling” thing…It’s something you know by instinct and not something you can calculate, or think through. Some say, you need to use your right brain that regulates emotions and not your left one, the one that analyses. Breastfeeding is something you feel, it is not a logical thing. You cannot control when your baby will wake up, how hungry he will be and how long he will breastfeed. In fact, once you have a baby, there is no way you can ever control anything again… No, this is only a joke…Well there is a little truth to it.

In the beginning, babies’ respond to stimuli with reflexes. They cannot control their movements and their bodily functions. They react to things with their primitive brain, the first brain fully developed at the birth of a human being. The other parts of our brain, the emotional and the logical ones, develop progressively as the child grows.

One thing present at birth is the sleep cycle. Babies stay awake and sleep in answer to their own cycle. For example, a baby can only be awake very short periods at a time when they are a few days old. They do not have the neurological maturity to stay up for long periods. It is also mainly brain immaturity that makes some babies cry more than others. It is for the same reason that babies’ arms and legs can shake a little sometimes. Babies are not a “finished” product when they are born. They will be developing their brain functions as they grow.

The sleep cycle regulates a baby’s feeding schedule. Babies are diurnal mammals. This means that they live during the day and sleep at night. Cats and bats are nocturnal; they live at night and sleep in the day. You probably think this is wrong as babies keep us pretty active during the night, right? This is because of their immature sleep cycle. They will need a little time and help to get their nighttime sleep on track. The way we sleep is also linked to social and cultural issues.

Here is an example of the sleep cycle of a baby up to 1 month old:



Babies can stay awake for only a few minutes and their deep sleep also lasts for a short period. The longest sleep period is in the light sleep. Light sleep is when you dream. If you look closely, you will see their eyes moving behind their eyelids. They also make small movements and sounds. Their breathing is very irregular in light sleep mode. During this phase of the sleep cycle, they wake up easily if a loud noise occurs or if there is some type of disturbance or change in their environment (like taking them from your warm arms to put them in a bed many degrees colder). In deep sleep, you can put them down and they will not wake up but the deep sleep does not last very long, at the most 15 minutes in 1 cycle. A full sleep cycle with the awake period is about 1 hour to 1 hour and a half in a very young baby.

The natural feeding behavior for babies is ‘grouped feedings’ with one period of longer sleep per 24 hours. Grouped feedings mean that a baby will feed between 5 to 10 times in a 1 to 2 hours period and then fall asleep for up to 5-6 hours. If left to follow their natural sleep pattern, there will always be a longer period of sleep. We all wish babies would do this longer stretch during the night but it does not always happen that way. Let me explain why.

The wheel above shows babies fall asleep during a transitional phase (sleepiness) and then go through periods of light sleep, deep sleep and light sleep again. When they reach the reverse transition phase, the “awakening”, this is when they transition to being completely up. This is a good time to help them awaken gently by positioning them at the breast. If a baby is not gaining much weight or if he has breastfeeding difficulties or specific health concerns such as jaundice (yellow tinted skin in the early days), it is important to observe for the awakening phase, to pick up the baby and get him ready to breastfeed. At night time and if the babies health is fine and he is growing well, you can wait and see if he wakes completely before putting him at the breast.  If he has no specific needs, he might awaken slightly and fall back in a light sleep mode. This is how babies sleep longer stretches. It is not because they are good or quiet babies. It is not because they get formula or cereals  to ‘help’ them sleep.  The waking up and sleepiness is determined by the maturity of their brain and it changes as they grow.

True or false

“We need to wake our babies up according to specific and fixed intervals like “every 2 to 3 hours”.

False. Babies need to be fed “on demand”. If your baby is left to go through his sleep cycle without being woken up at specific intervals, he will eventually do his long stretch of sleep. If you wake him up every X hours with no respect of his natural sleep cycle, he might be in a deep sleep when you wake him up and he will not breastfeed well. Once put back down, he will still wake up according to his schedule but you will think he is crying for nothing as he just fed awhile ago.

“Mothers of breastfed babies sleep less then mothers of bottle-fed babies.”

False. What makes people say this is the fact that you can have someone else give a bottle to your baby but you cannot have someone else breastfeed your baby. In fact, when you breastfeed and follow your baby’s sleep cycle, you will be able to sleep well as a baby has a longer stretch of sleep in his sleep cycle. What is difficult on a mother’s sleep is to wake up the baby at every 2 or 3 hours interval.

“Babies are less likely to fall asleep on their own if they are breastfed.”

False. By helping a baby follow his own sleep cycle you teach him how to fall asleep and wake up naturally. Most breastfed babies fall asleep at the breast. This is much easier on the mother and on the baby.

Dany G.  :)

Posted by: Dany G. | March 16, 2015

Is your newborn baby’s weight loss normal?

A baby that thrives gains weight. He will also grow in length and his head circumference will gain some centimeters. All parents know this, but what we are unsure of is the pattern of weight gain that we should expect and when we should be concerned.

First let’s look at the newborn

All newborns lose weight in the first few days following birth. Babies can lose up to 7-10% of their birth weight. An easy way to calculate this is to take the first 3 digits of the baby’s birth weight. For example, a baby weighing 3500 grams at birth can lose up to 350 grams (equal to 10%) before we start to get concerned. Breastfed babies, as they receive a small quantity of breastmilk, will lose more weight (average of 5.5%) than bottle-fed babies (average of 2.5%). This does not mean that artificial milk is better than breastmilk, but simply that bottle-fed babies are receiving an abnormally big quantity of food and they lose less weight because of that. They also stretch their stomach and overload their digestive system.

If you are concerned about your baby’s initial weight loss after birth, it is important to remember that this weight loss is normal and you should not worry. Also, your baby will not gain weight until your milk comes in which will happen between the 3rd and 5th (sometimes later) day. When your milk starts to increase, your baby will not lose anymore weight and he will remain at the same weight for a day or two (called a plateau). Once your milk comes in, your baby will start to gain weight more rapidly. Here is an example of a baby’s weight gain pattern following his birth:

Birth to 3-5 days:  weight loss up to 10%

3-5 days: remains the same,  loses or gains only a few grams

5 days and up (when your milk comes in): from .6 to 1.4 kg monthly or 130 grams to 330 grams per week for the first 3 months (a baby never gains everyday…no use for daily weight checks).

A newborn baby that loses weight is a normal occurrence. Being anxious about it will only make things worse as it will undermine your self-confidence. All mothers make milk after delivery. It is a normal physiological process called lactogenesis 2 and it is triggered by the placenta detaching itself from the wall of the uterus.

If a health care worker informs you that your baby must receive a bottle of artificial baby milk as a supplement because he lost too much weight, ask to see the weight loss pattern. If your milk has come in (breasts feeling heavy or full), your baby should be in a plateau or will start to gain weight. Even a small weight gain like 5 grams is a good sign. Continue to breastfeed often: from 8 to 12 times per 24 hours is normal. Let your baby take the breast whenever he signals he needs to breastfeed. If you feel better offering a supplement, offer breastmilk! There is no need for artificial milk when you have all the food your baby needs. Ask for a breast pump or use your hands to express some breastmilk and give it to your baby. At the beginning, expressing in a small medicine cup or a spoon is much better as you do not want to lose a drop on the sides of a container. You can use the cup or spoon to offer the breastmilk to your baby. Never assume the quantity is too little or that it is not worth keeping. Breastmilk is like liquid gold: a few milliliters will stabilize your baby’s blood sugar, give him proteins and fats and protect him against illnesses.

Next post: The baby’s weight gain pattern – 0 to 12 months

You are pregnant, you just had a baby? You are considering  breastfeeding but are still unsure? Or maybe you are breastfeeding, but still wondering if it is really worth it? So here are some facts and research findings that might help you start or continue breastfeeding.

First, how about doing this for YOU? You will gain from breastfeeding your baby in many different ways. You will feel great about yourself when you realize your baby is thriving on your breastmilk alone. You have an incredible power: that is to take care for every need your child has. YOU will make him grow strong and beautiful. Every centimeter, every gram he will put on, will be the result of YOUR breastmilk. This is a wonderful feeling. It gives you a whole different perspective on being a woman. You will fulfill your role and reaffirm your gender in all its glory. You will also get some practical benefits: no need to prepare anything, no worries about mixing the artificial milk in exact proportions, no need to run around to find the right artificial milk brand and, last but not least, more money in your pocket. Health wise, you will probably not see the return of your moon time for awhile (Yeah!), your uterus will get back to its previous state very quickly, you should return to pre-pregnancy weight faster and if you are diabetic (type 1) your blood glucose level should be lower and more easily managed. You also profit from long term benefits: less risk of hip fractures or osteoporosis (brittle bones) and less risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Now let’s focus on this extraordinary substance: Breastmilk!

You know how Elders tell us it is important to eat food from the land? Because it is “alive” and it gives you strength as the meat is very powerful? Just as powerful as the animal killed, whether it is a bear, a moose or a goose, all game meat have the power of giving you an immense boost of energy because it is so fresh,  so “alive”. The boost is even stronger if you eat the meat right after the kill. Breastmilk is just like that. It is “alive” while your baby is drinking it. It is full of strength, warmth and power. It makes him strong. Breastfeeding is a spiritual experience you share with you baby and it will follow both of you through the years. Breastmilk feeds the body, the soul and the spririt in both of you.

On a more scientific note, it contains all the perfect ingredients in exact proportions. It has the water your baby needs. It is not too light, not too fat. It contains just the right amount of protein for your baby’s muscles to develop at the right time. Your breasts also transform your blood’s glucose into lactose, a sugar essential for your baby’s brain development.

Most ingredients in breastmilk that are “foods” meant to feed the body, also have a second role. They protect your child against illnesses. A breastfeeding baby has 2 times less risk of getting a respiratory infection (ear and throat infection, bronchitis, pneumonia). He is also three times less likely to suffer from gastroenteritis or diarrhea. If he does catch one of those illnesses, he will probably react very little or be just a little sick. Breastmilk will help him overcome many other viruses and bacteria.

Breastmilk promotes the growth of your baby’s tissue: skin, bones, muscles, organs, brain, etc. It contains growth hormones. It also has anti inflammatory properties which offer your baby protection against diabetes, bowel diseases and other inflammatory diseases.

Because of specific breastmilk proteins that help your baby absorb iron better, he is also protected against iron deficiency anemia if he is exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months.

On top of all of this, breastfeeding promotes bonding between mother and child. The contact with his mother’s skin, the constant touching and caressing develops his emotional brain which helps him develop into a more balanced individual able to be empathic towards others, with better impulse control and more self confidence. Some studies even mention better academic performances in children with longer breastfeeding duration.

So now, after reading all this, I ask you: Why wouldn’t YOU breastfeed?

Happy New Year! Wishing you health, wealth and peace.

“This is the season to be jolly, la la la, la la, la la!”. This is how the song goes!

The Holiday period is a combination of excitement, social occasions and work. The Christmas shopping and the parties can take a toll on breastfeeding mothers. Babies need to breastfeed frequently for the milk supply to be produced by the mother.

Our communities are isolated and even the ones close to small towns offer very little choice in term of Christmas gifts. Many of us travel to Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa during the Christmas season. Families that can afford to travel together do bring their children with them but most often than not, shopping trips mean children are left at home with a caregiver. Breastfeeding moms will sometimes take breast pumps with them to relieve some of the discomfort of not breastfeeding during a period of time but their shopping schedule rarely allows for breaks. There are risks to doing this: abrupt weaning can cause mastitis and abscess and the baby might not be willing to return to the breast after a few days of bottle feeding.

Partying is also part of this season. Mothers sometimes choose to skip breastfeeds to give a bottle of artificial baby milk (formula) instead. Note that the first 6 to 8 weeks is a period during which the milk supply balances itself to the baby’s needs and is extremely fragile; missed breastfeeds can lead to a big enough decrease in breastmilk to slowly lead to  early weaning (weaning before you reached the goal set for yourself). If you are missing feeds because you want to drink alcohol, remember to make sure your baby is well taken care of before doing this. Remember that as soon as you do not feel the effects of the alcohol, you can breastfeed again. Some prefer to look at the MotherRisk table to see how many hours to wait for a “O” amount of alcohol in their breastmilk. publishes posts each year at Christmas and some other bloggers also published interesting reads. Here are some links that can help the breastfeeding mother during the Christmas season:


After the Holiday Recipe for the Breastfeeding mother by


2013 A Word of Advice at Christmas Time by


Avoiding Holiday Weaning y Native Mothering wishes you all a wonderful Holiday Season!

Posted by: Dany G. | November 27, 2014

The song says it all!

For all breastfeeding mothers out there. Enjoy.


Posted by: Dany G. | November 10, 2014

Breastfeeding and Early Supplementation

I have learned from sharing circles, home visits, Cree friends I share with and from health care workers that most Cree women start to breastfeed at the hospital but that formula (artificial baby milk) or water is introduced during the hospital stay. Mothers worry that their baby is not getting enough milk. Colostrum is normally produced in small quantities and in the perfect amount for the baby but the normal weight loss of the baby after birth and the mother’s insecurity coupled with the lack of information, makes way for formula.

As the milk supply needs a good six weeks of “priming” to adapt to the baby’s needs, this early introduction of artificial baby milk or water can affect the milk supply and the mother might think she is not “capable” of producing enough milk. The baby has to ask for the amount of breastmilk he needs for the breasts to produce it. If the baby receives artificial baby milk or water instead, he is not “asking” for the breastmilk so the breasts will “think” they do not need to produce more. As time goes by, the baby receives more and more bottles of artificial baby milk and breastfeeds less and less. He can even become upset at the breast. The mother will end up weaning her baby prematurely.

Avoid supplements at the hospital

Usually, the baby is sleepy during the day following his birth and starts to wake up after 24 to 48 hours. He will then ask to breastfeed often, sometimes even constantly. He might cry often as he is not used to the environment outside of his mother’s womb. He will also lose some weight. It is normal for him to lose up to 10% of his birth weight before his mother’s milk comes in. It is easy to count this 10% from his birth weight as you take the first 2 digits of his birth weight and add a zero. If a baby weighed 3 210 grams at birth, he can lose up to 320 grams. This weight loss is normal and is due to the water he accumulated in his body tissues while in his mother’s womb. Also, the colostrum the breasts produce for the baby in the first few days provide just enough calories to keep him going but they do not always allow him to put on some grams. This is normal. Colostrum is there to open up the baby’s digestive system and to give him a good dose of protection against illnesses. It is not meant to have him put on weight.

Even though there is only a few drops of colostrums per feeding, it is exactly what the baby needs and the more he will breastfeed, the more colostrum will be produced until the day the mother will feel her breast a little fuller and notice the breastmilk becoming lighter in color. We call this the “milk coming in”. It is from that point on that the baby will start to put on some real weight but it will still be a touch and go process. He might put on a lot of weight one week and less the other week. That is OK. Many Cree Elders encourage mothers to drink fresh fish broth to increase their milk supply. The first few weeks after birth are a good time to ask gookoom to make some.

For the “supply and demand” process to work well and to allow nature to follow its course, it is important not to confuse the milk supply by giving artificial baby milk or water to the baby. Whatever he takes from a bottle or a gavage tube (an alternative to the bottle provided at the hospital), he will not ask from the breast. It is a little bit like waiting to receive a meal at the restaurant but never having ordered it…You get what you order! When a baby breastfeeds, he gets the milk he needs AND he orders his next meal.

If you wish to breastfeed for a few months and more, please avoid giving your baby water or artificial baby milk, at least for the first six weeks. Have his weight checked regularly but not every day and be confident in yourself. All mothers produce breastmilk. It is our super power.

Posted by: Dany G. | October 15, 2014

Our breastfeeding story

by Paula Rickard

Dear Nikamuwin, we welcomed you into the world at 5:37 am on August 3, 2011. I already knew that I would breastfeed you. I had no experience in breastfeeding and throughout your first day I tried with the assistance of your Daddy and the nurses. Your Auntie Juanita arrived later that day and helped me figure it out some more. You were healthy and there we no complications with your delivery so we went home on August 4th. Sometime in the evening of August 6th, I realized it had been hours since you wet your pamper. I called your Auntie Juanita who is a nurse and our cousin Rita was with her. Rita is a nurse too! So the two nurses made a personal house call and gave you a quick check-up. They suggested that we supplement you with formula to get more liquids in you. Off they went to the store to buy formula that was closest to breast milk. Once they returned, they sterilized bottles, boiled water and prepared your formula. You drank one ounce of formula and we were relieved to know that you had more liquids in your little belly. Later that night, you soaked your pamper and threw up the formula. That was the one and only time you had formula.

As time went on, I tried to express my milk with breast pumps. Two manual pumps and one electric pump did not express my milk at all. I tried on different occasions with the same result. So I kept juujuuing you and we tried formula again a few times later. You just wouldn’t take the bottle. Not even a soother. We agreed the only thing we could do for you was to keep breastfeeding you. You were growing nicely and stayed healthy – that was all that mattered to us. This also meant that my time away from you was very limited. I would go to the grocery store while you were sleeping and rush to get back home to you. Sometimes, Daddy would call to tell me you were crying and I would rush home. Some of the rushing stopped when you started eating baby food at eight months old. You also preferred juujuuing over drinking water, which we first gave to you at the age of five months. You drank from a sippy cup because you refused to take a bottle.

When you were a tiny baby, I would use the football hold to juujuu you. You enjoyed your feedings and you would make us laugh when you would pant once my breast was exposed to your little face. A couple of times, you dove onto my breast. Those were funny moments and they bring a smile to my face when I think about them. We spent many moments cuddled up with the breastfeeding pillow and it was washed many times because you would spit up on it. The pillow is still here in our house because your Daddy and I are sentimental that way.

Breastfeeding wasn’t always easy. I felt my breasts engorged and painful the morning after you slept all night for the first time. And you know what, that was the only night you ever slept all night! Then the cracks came and thankfully they were at different times. The first crack was on my left nipple, which was your favourite side. It seemed more milk came from that breast. I consulted with fellow mamas and my childhood friend told me about this cream that she used when she had a crack from breastfeeding. It was a blend of ointments and needed to be prescribed by a doctor. She gave me some while I waited for my prescription. It didn’t take much cream to heal the crack. The pain while breastfeeding with a cracked nipple was excruciating. You would latch onto the cracked nipple and I would inhale deeply, stretch my leg and tap my foot until the pain became bearable. The pain that came from breastfeeding with cracked nipples did not once make me think about not breastfeeding you.

When you were three weeks old, you became a little traveller. Travelling meant breastfeeding you in public places. At first, I was self-conscious about it, but then quickly changed my feelings and thinking about it. I was taking care of you and in order to do that, I needed to feed you. Sometimes I would use a receiving blanket to cover myself. I would never cover your face. I would use the blanket to make sure no part of my breast was exposed. I became good at using my sweater to cover myself while breastfeeding. During these times, Daddy would sit beside us to help in any way or he would be busy close by. No one ever said anything to me about breastfeeding you in public. I was proud to breastfeed you because I knew it was the best thing I could give you.

I thought about weaning you when you were about 18 months old. It didn’t work. Part of it was because you used breastfeeding for comfort. I also enjoyed being able to comfort you when you had your meltdowns. I would say, “let’s juujuu” and your tears would stop. You were two years old when I spent the night away from you for the first time since you’ve been with us. We were so happy that we all survived that one night apart. It was only recently that I spent the second night away from you. And now since you had your last juujuu on October 1, 2014, I think I can be at ease when I am away for the night and leave you at home with your Dad.

You were such a healthy baby and toddler and we honestly believe that it was because of breastfeeding. We also gave you Vitamin D on a daily basis, which also helped boost your immune system. You would still get a cold now and then, but it would never get really bad to a point where you had green, bubbly boogers or a bad cough. I share our experience with other mothers from time to time and now I can also tell them that I breastfed you for 3 years and 2 months.

Not too long ago, I realized I was the only one who fed you for the first eight months of your life because you were exclusively breastfed. Now, as our story comes to an end, I am teary eyed knowing that I will never again say “juujuu baby juujuu”.







Editor’s note:
Artificial Baby Milk manufacturers often market thier product by saying “the formula closest to mother’s milk” or something similar. No formula will ever be even close to mother’s milk as it is a “living food” that contains protective factors against illnesses while formula is “inert” and offers no protection against illnesses.

The medicated ointment mentionned in this story is commonly called “Dr. Newman’s cream”. It has antibiotic, antifungal and antiinflammatory properties and is obtained only with a prescription.

Posted by: Dany G. | September 18, 2014

What is a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)!

Creebreastfeeding has not published frequently lately. It is not for lack of ideas, but for lack of time. Creebreastfeeding is in fact one person, myself. I work for the Public Health Department of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay. I love my job, although it does get kind of hectic at times. As a PPRO (Planning, Programming and Research Officer), I am asked to collaborate on many different files. My main file is breastfeeding because I am a Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). This means that I hold a diploma in Human Lactation from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). We are presently 1632 IBCLCs in Canada. We are not to be confused with breastfeeding advisors or volunteers. We do not work in a support group setting (although some of us do a lot of volunteer work). Being an IBCLC is a profession with its own Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. We have professional associations. ILCA is our international one, CLCA our Canadian association and QCA, is at the provincial level.

Even though there are more and more IBCLCs in Quebec, there are still not enough of us to fully support all breastfeeding mothers. Also, many regional agencies, hospitals and clinics do not have the budget to hire an IBCLC. They usually ask their nurses to support breastfeeding as well as doing all their other tasks. We do know our health system is stretched thin and even though the workers do their best, it is difficult for breastfeeding mothers to get timely and adequate breastfeeding support. Presently at the CBHSSJB, there is one nurse who is also an IBCLC working locally at the CMC in Waskaganish. A dream of mine would be to have one IBCLC per community. Even better would be for this IBCLC to be Cree. It takes time and commitment to become an IBCLC but if anyone is interested I am available to mentor and train that person towards the certification.

If this is something you would consider or if you know someone would be good at this, write me an e-mail at or contact me via the Creebreastfeeding Facebook page.

Enjoy your day!

Dany G.

Yes! It is normal. Humans have the facial mechanical structure to allow for this, right? Our jaws can close together to allow us to bite off our food and chew it. Biting is, in fact, a survival mechanism! But should babies bite their mother’s breast? They “should not”, but some babies do it anyway.  The following information should help you avoid this.

Why does a baby bite while breastfeeding?

There are a multitude of reasons why babies bite: a baby will practice every new ability he acquires until he masters it. Biting is no different. Ideally, he will bite his teddy bear, his teething rings and his toys, but biting is sure fun and babies will bite anything they can get their teeth on. Ever try putting your finger in a baby’s mouth to check on a new little tooth? Ouch!

Note: Be careful what you let your baby put in his mouth. Some things are toxic, even if they are marketed as made for babies.

So, when comes the time to breastfeed, it is completely natural for the toddler to want to see what biting his mother’s breast feels like. He has no idea that it can be painful to her. In the beginning, it is an experiment for him. Then, depending on how his mother reacts, it will transform into a game, defiance or simply a refusal gesture.

Babies are more likely to bite when they are put at the breast when they did not request it. For example, you look at the time and realize your 1 year old child has not breastfed for over 6 hours, even though he ate a good lunch. Your breasts are also telling you he should be breastfeeding, as they are full and feel uncomfortable. He is busy playing with a new toy and you are talking on the phone, but you scoop him up, lift your shirt and offer him the breast while continuing your conversation. He opens his mouth, breastfeeds a little and then clamps down. It is his way of saying: “Hey, I was busy. I did not ask to breastfeed…oh, and by the way, you are on the phone and not even looking at me!”
Some mothers will make a “hurt” face, but most will let out an outraged cry of pain: “NO!”. Even though this reaction is completely normal, it might frighten your baby. He might pull away and start crying and it might be a little while before he wants to breastfeed again.

We know babies will bite when they do not want to breastfeed, when they are not hungry anymore, when they are upset, when they want attention, or simply when they want to test their mother’s reaction. Here are a few tips to avoid this painful experience.

How do I prevent my baby from biting me?

As soon as your baby has teeth and shows you he could try to bite you, try following these guidelines:
-Breastfeed your baby only if he shows he needs to.
-Make sure he is calm and that there are no distractions.
-Avoid doing something else at the same time; children need our full attention!
-When you see he has almost finished, take him off right away and hug and kiss him to show him you are not taking him away because you do not love him.
-If he tries to bite, even a little, take him off from the breast right away. Tell him he cannot bite you because it hurts. Offer him something to bite on. Always keep him on you with hugs and kisses to show you will always love him. It is the behavior you do not like, but him, you will always love.

What to do to treat a bite wound?

If your child bites you but the teeth do not pierce the skin, it will be sensitive like a bruise for a little while. Changing position is a good thing to do until the bruise heals. If the teeth pierce the skin, it is considered a cracked nipple. Here’s what to do:

-wash the wound with soap and water;
– try to keep your baby’s teeth from digging into the wound. You will achieve this by changing position to one where the baby’s teeth do not press on the wound. The teeth have to touch an intact area of your breast;
– if the wound does not improve in a few days, and if the area around it is swollen, red and burning, you will need to go to the clinic. They will prescribe an antibiotic ointment to help heal it.

It is not necessary to wean your baby because of biting. Babies go through phases and this one will pass, just like any other. Furthermore, if you follow the information above, the wound can heal even if your baby breastfeeds on that breast.🙂

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