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I think I'm getting sick. Can I still breastfeed?

In most cases, yes — the majority of illnesses are not dangerous to a breastfeeding infant. However, in rare cases (such as HIV), a mother's health may interfere with her ability to breastfeed her baby.

If you aren’t feeling well, remember that as your body produces antibodies to fight an illness, those antibodies go to the baby through your breastmilk. Contact a lactation consultant before you interrupt breastfeeding because of an illness or because of a medication that you require. In most cases, interrupting breastfeeding is not necessary.

My baby bites during breastfeeding. Can I stop it?

Babies will often play with their mothers' nipples with their gums, not meaning to cause any harm. But once they start teething, a baby might bite, not knowing this is hurting mom. Giving the baby something hard and cold to chew on before the nursing will help the gums — then gums won't be as tender, which may reduce biting.

You often can tell when your baby's about ready to bite — usually when he or she is satisfied and starting to pull away from your breast.

Watch for your baby to switch from nutritive nursing to playing. When it's obvious it's playtime, take your baby off your breast before he or she has the chance to bite.

If there's still biting, pull your baby closer to you to make it more difficult for him or her to pull off easily.Or, break the suction by slipping your finger into the corner of his or her mouth. Try and react calmly and without raising your voice so the baby doesn’t get scared.

In most cases, though, biting may be a sign that your baby is done with a nursing session, is distracted, or is just plain bored. The breastfeeding advocacy organization La Leche League International offers these tips to help reduce the biting potential:

  • Say, "Mommy is not for biting. You can bite this," and offer your little one a teething toy or ring.
  • Try initiating a new activity if your baby seems distracted and is pulling off your breast a lot.
  • Praise your baby — with a hug, kiss, or cuddle — whenever he or she nurses without biting or trying to bite.

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