Top 10 Teething Tips

Aaah, the dreaded “t” word: teething…

Teething is a long process and can be painful for some babies (and their parents!). I barely noticed when my daughter would get a new tooth. My son on the other hand, he was a different story. He started showing signs of teething when he was around 4 months. And it didn’t let up until past his first birthday. This opened my eyes to the differences between babies. We are all individuals after all, no matter our age.

Your baby’s teeth work their way slowly (very, very slowly sometimes) down and eventually break through the gums. All that movement in the head and jaws can make your baby irritable. Other signs of teething include: drooling, disrupted sleep and biting/gumming everything in sight from their own fingers, to toys, and even the hand (or breast) that feeds him. Ouch! Here are some tips for you flustered parents. Remember to always supervise your child when giving him something to chew on.


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Burping a Baby 101

Exclusively breastfed babies may not need to burp as much as babies that are bottle-fed. That being said, it is important to keep in mind that all babies are different and some may need to burp more than others no matter which way you are feeding them.

In the first few months, your baby is learning how to digest milk (breastmilk or formula). They never had to digest anything in utero. And with eating comes gassiness. Gassiness is caused by your baby taking in air while feeding.

Some things that may cause gassiness in your baby include:

  • A fast letdown
  • Baby was very hungry and drank milk more quickly
  • Incorrect latch
  • Lip or tongue tie

When should you burp your baby?

  • Before switching breasts
  • If bottle-feeding, every 2-3 oz
  • If baby pulls away from the breast or bottle

There are three ways that you can burp your baby. Remember that a burping position should apply gentle but firm pressure on the baby’s stomach. And make sure to have a receiving blanket or burping cloth handy! The first position is over the shoulder. Place her high up over your shoulder so that her tummy is gently pushing against it. Walking around while holding her in this position may help. The second position is sitting her on your lap with your fingers supporting her chin. For older babies who have head control, you may choose to place your hand gently against their tummy. The last position is to lay her down across your lap and gently rub and pat her back. Burp your baby for about a minute. If your baby didn’t burp but seems content, continue with the feeding if necessary. If she’s grimacing, squirming or refusing to take more milk, try burping her again.

Should you use the rub or the pat method? Honestly, this is a personal preference. I have yet to see a study that shows one is better than the other! It greatly depends on what your baby prefers and responds to. Don’t be afraid to be creative – feel free to use as many methods and positions as you want.

If your baby is having a difficult time burping, try burping her more often during the feeding. For babies that are very gassy, try incorporating a bit of exercise and infant massage into your play time. Place your baby on her back and gently pump her legs towards her chest and back down (bicycle legs). For massaging, try using Dr. Sears’ “I Love You” method. Massage your baby with a little bit of warm oil on your fingers. Make sure that the room is warm and draft-free. The illustration below shows you how to do the massage.


Burping can be quite the chore depending on your child. Rest assured that it doesn’t last forever! Once your baby is moving more freely, she will be able to pass gas and burp by herself.


What is a Lactation Consultant?

As I mentioned in my previous post, this month we will be discussing lactation consultants, the different types and how to choose the best fit for your family. A lactation consultant is a specialist in lactation and breastfeeding just like a dentist is a specialist in dental health and a pediatrician specializes in children’s health. Lactation professionals usually fall into three categories: lactation counselor or educator, lactation consultant (LC or CLC) and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Some will have different training, a different scope of practice and not all cities will have access to all three types.

Lactation or breastfeeding counselors/educators will go through some training, such as a weekend workshop, that covers breastfeeding basics. There may not be a required test and no hands-on training is provided. A certified lactation consultant (LC or CLC) will have approximately 45 hours of specialized instruction and an exam. Some programs may not require training in a clinical setting. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is required to have at least 90 hours of lactation instruction with 500 to 1000+ clinic hours with a mentor IBCLC. They must also be a licensed healthcare provider or take additional college courses. The final step is a 4-hour exam. IBCLCs are also required to re-certify every five years.

Where do lactation consultants work?
If you choose to birth at a hospital, most will have a lactation consultant on staff and you may have access to them for a specific number of days after giving birth. Some regions offer complimentary lactation support in a group setting, such as the Ontario Early Years Centres. Most cities and towns also have private practices.

How do I find a lactation consultant?
As with most things related to parenting and babies, word-of-mouth may be your best friend! Ask your doctor, your friends or other mothers who they recommend. Otherwise you can find most, if not all, lactation consultants online. While Google might be your first stop, you should also take the time to search accredited associations for listings near you:

How do I choose a lactation consultant?
While choosing any type of healthcare provider is a personal choice, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Which organization did they certify with?
  • What kinds of resources do they use? Are these resources science-based?
  • What is their scope of practice? Are they qualified to counsel you on your particular case?
  • Are they taking the time to listen to you? As the mother, you have every right to be a part of the solution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice your concerns.
  • Depending on your concerns, the lactation consultant should put you on a feeding plan. For example, if it is decided to supplement, your consultant should give you a specific timeline of how to increase your breastfeeding sessions and how to wean from the supplementation with appropriate checkups.
  • Do they promote breastfeeding? Sounds silly, but like any profession there are good and not-so-good consultants out there. If your goal is to exclusively breastfeed, then they should be supporting your choices. Same goes if you are breastfeeding and supplementing. The lactation consultant should be able to provide you with science-based answers and help you towards your goals.

Even if someone recommends a lactation consultant, they may not be the right fit for you. The bottom line is that you need to go with your gut and be able to trust the lactation consultant. If you don’t trust them, find someone else. You know your baby best. If you’re not comfortable with the answers given to you, keep asking questions, or go find another professional.

Lactation consultants are a great resource for parents. Are you interested in learning more about them? Check out Milkology’s breastfeeding myths article here!

Help! I Need Some Breastfeeding Advice!

Picture it. It’s 2am, the baby is crying, you’re a few weeks (or months) postpartum and you’re sleep deprived. You’ve tried to latch your baby on and nothing seems to be working. You search online for answers. All of a sudden, you are bombarded with pages and pages of information. And opinions. And that’s not even taking into consideration the “related searches” results. Which website do you visit first? The first one? Some of the forums? You decide on a website and start reading. You can relate to some of what’s written and you continue reading. All of a sudden you think “the first thing they mentioned seems like me, and the third, and the fourth, and the fifth… ” Before you know it, you’re worrying about tongue ties, nipple shields, low milk supply and oversupply!

Don’t get me wrong. There are some very good online resources, you just have to know where to find them. I have listed some of my favourite websites and books below. I will also tell you about some reputable professionals in your community.

So where should you turn to for help?

Dr. Jack Newman is a Canadian pediatrician and has been involved in breastfeeding research for other 30 years. His website has great videos and written resources.

The Motherisk Program is run by the Hospital for Sick Children. They are a great resource on the interactions of medications, medical therapies and substance abuse for breastfeeding and pregnant mothers. Telephone support is also available.

Best Start has many resource sheets on breastfeeding and your baby’s development.

La Leche League is a volunteer-run organization that began in 1956. Their website includes information sheets and a FAQ section. You can also find your local group online. More on that later!

Kelly Mom is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and her website has fantastic research-based articles for breastfeeding and parenting.

The Milk Meg is an IBCLC from Australia. Her often humorous blogs cover breastfeeding, weaning and attachment parenting.

If you’re looking to add to your book collection, here are some of my favourites:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
Sweet Sleep by La Leche League International
The Breastfeeding Book by Martha and William Sears

No matter where you are in the world, there are numerous ways to get face-to-face help. While books and online resources can be very helpful, sometimes it’s not enough. There are times where you need a professional seeing how your baby breastfeeds, how you are holding the baby, etc.

Postpartum doulas: While they are not health-care providers, many doulas are knowledgeable about breastfeeding and can guide you through some of the challenges.

Lactation professionals usually fall into three categories: lactation counselor, lactation consultant (LC or CLC) and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Although similar, the differences lie in their training and scope of practices. Stay tuned for next month’s blog post for more information on this profession!

As I mentioned previously, La Leche League is a support group for breastfeeding mothers that is run by volunteers. Most groups will meet once or twice a month and the group leaders are also available by phone, email or social media. It can be very helpful to meet like-minded mothers in a breastfeeding friendly environment.

Finding reliable, research-based information in 2019 can be a chore. Stick with the resources that I have mentioned and if you still have questions, I am only a phone call or email away! Take a deep breath mama – you are doing great! Just be careful what you Google…