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Baby Bites: How to stop your baby from biting during breastfeeding.

Baby Bites: How to stop your baby from biting during breastfeeding.

We know, we know, OUCH. We really do feel your pain! We’ve been through it and we can help. When you’re breastfeeding and your baby is biting, nothing about it feels like a “baby” bite. It feels more like your nipple is caught in a car door and the rest of your body is about 100 feet away. You want to keep breastfeeding but don’t want the baby bites, so what can you do? Fortunately, all babies, no matter how old, can learn to stop biting. Biting is temporary so stick with it, mamas.

Most babies try biting during the teething stage when they are around 6 months old. Teething hurts and chewing helps to relieve your baby’s pain, so basically your baby will chew on your shoe if you let him (we don’t recommend this). 

Here’s the good news: A baby who is latched on and nursing properly cannot bite your nipple. If the nipple is far back in his mouth, and his lips and gums are about an inch behind the nipple on the areola, then his tongue will stop the bites because it should be between his lower teeth and your breast.  Moral of the story: If he is nursing properly, he can’t bite. Nursing can and should continue when your baby gets teeth. Keep on giving that baby your liquid gold.

Tips to stop the baby bites, pronto:

  1. Biting at the end of a nursing session: Notice when he’s biting – usually it’s at the end of nursing and he’s playing around, though it doesn’t feel playful to you. WATCH for signs of boredom, watch for tension in baby’s jaw before he starts to bite down, he may pull his tongue back from the proper nursing position over the lower gum/teeth, or, you may notice the intensity of his sucking slows. If you notice any of these warning signs, remove that babe from your breast before the biting starts.
  1. When baby is teething, test the shark-filled waters:Biting is often brought on by teething. If baby seems to be teething, offer a teething toy or something cold to bite (instead of you). Offer your baby a teething toy and see if he starts gnawing at it or sucking it. If he starts sucking it, he’s probably hungry so proceed with the feed.
  1. Make sure your baby opens wide when latching on and use your pinky to help: Praise your baby when he latches on correctly, without biting.
  1. Don’t force the course:When your baby is distracted, don’t force a nursing. If he’s pushing against you with his arms, he may not be hungry or interested in nursing. Try lying down with him in a quiet room, walking or rocking. A quiet dim lit room is a great way to minimize distractions.
  1. Attention, attention, attention: If your little angel is biting, focus your attention on your baby while nursing because some older babies will bite for attention. Maintain eye contact, so you can catch the cues. In other words, be on guard, soldier.
  1. Praise, praise, praise him! ALL babies (and humans) love praise. Praise your babefor a good latch and withhold praise when baby is biting (obvs). Praise makes babies oh so happy, so don’t hold back!

    What to do if baby bites:

     There are a few things you can do immediately to stop your baby from biting. The most effective thing you can do is to calmly remove your baby from your breast (with your pinky) and either say nothing, or say something like “no biting.” Stop nursing immediately and remove the little biter for a few seconds or a few minutes (you need to be the judge of how long is best – use your instincts by your baby’s reaction). If he really wants to keep nursing, he’ll be upset and you can give him another chance. If he wasn’t really that interested in nursing, he may just start playing with toys.

    What NOT to do if baby bites:

NEVER scream or yell. This is the most important thing to do and is of course hard when you are in pain – so come on, mama, you’re the adult here. Control those emotions, breath deeply and whatever you do, do not scream or yell at your baby. Many babies are so scared of yelling that they go on a nursing strike. Screaming or yelling will not stop baby biting – it will only cause problems. Often his feelings will be hurt and he will begin to cry. This is negative reinforcement and is not effective. Some babies will be so upset by your reaction that they will refuse to nurse altogether. Babies are sensitive.

Mama, you’ve got this. You are a superhero, so keep on doing what you do.

If you’ve been bitten, your nipple hurts. Use Rachel’s Remedy Breastfeeding Relief Packs to relieve nipple pain – it’s a miracle for mamas! 

12 comments

Oct 04, 2018 • Posted by Heather

“Come on mama, you’re the adult here.”

Could you be any more condescending?

Aug 09, 2018 • Posted by Glors

Oh man… Yeah i try to be the adult even suck it up… But those lil sharp teeth hurt so bad… Shes 4mo old and has 2 n as much as i tell her dont bite n stick my pinky between her gums she just throws a fit….maybe it’s time to use nipple shields!!!

Aug 06, 2018 • Posted by Akashee Agarwal

Does your baby bite you while breastfeeding? Here are 5 tips to work around the issue and continue to feed your baby. Read on to know how.
https://www.parentcircle.com/article/5-tips-to-prevent-baby-from-biting-while-breastfeeding/

Jul 31, 2018 • Posted by Sadie

I’m presently nursing my 4th kid. All of my kids had their teeth come in by 6-7mo. And every single one have bitten me while trying to nurse. When they start biting, I just gently pinch their nose and they immediately open their mouth. I know it’s not the ideal thing to do but those sharp teeth can cut open my areolas. They usually bite me 2-3 more times and then get the idea real quick that doing it means getting their noses pinched. So they quit biting.

Jul 27, 2018 • Posted by Mrs. Shatto

Yep. I’m the adult here. I just used adult language, “Owww, FU@K!”, to be exact.

And you know what? My sweet 6 month old son LAUGHED at me.

Lord help me!

Jul 24, 2018 • Posted by 213243

“you’re the adult here”

Well screw you.

Jul 23, 2018 • Posted by Celina

Really? “You’re the adult here”??. I like to see any man get kicked in his testicles and be completely calm. I can’t help but grimace or yelp when my daughter takes a good nip. Seriously made me feel better until I read that.

Jul 10, 2018 • Posted by Keerti

Laura, I feel your pain! I can’t find any good information either on what to do if baby had been biting for months. My little guy started biting two months ago and it’s just gotten worse. I don’t know what to do.
And once, yes I did yell out in pain because I was bleeding, and now he is on a nursing strike. What to do when that happens? No information available as far as I’ve researched. If anyone has advice please help! I want to keep nursing but now I’m so full of anxiety and fear, and I know he can sense it. I feel like it’s a downward spiral! Has anyone overcome biting similar to Laura and myself?? There’s so much Mom shaming out there and it’s driving me nuts!

Jun 29, 2018 • Posted by No

“so come on, mama, you’re the adult here.”

Just wow. That is such a rude thing to say. This MUST be written by a man.

Jun 22, 2018 • Posted by Jennifer Gray

Laura, I’m so glad I’m not the only one!! It was starting to feel that way.

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