26 answers

RE: Biting

I am a breastfeeding mother. My daughter is 8 months old. I plan to breastfeed until 1 year old at least. She has recently started cutting her top teeth (alread has her bottoms) and she is biting when she nurses. I do pump, but find that my milk supply decreases when I haven't nursed in a day or so. I tried a nipple shield and my daughter screamed and would not nurse until I took it off. What has worked for you, breastfeeding moms??

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all of the responses. I found the things that she responded best to were unlatching her and telling her that we won't nurse if she bites. I try to say, "it's time to nurse." before I started to nurse her again. She has put things together pretty quickly. Flicking or raising my voice seemed to upset her too much, so I only did them once. Again, thank you everyone for your responses!!

J.

Featured Answers

I had that trouble when my son first got teeth. I firmly said "NO BITE!" and put the boob away for one or two minutes. After 2 times, he never bit me again.

Babies can be taught not to bite. My daughter bit me once and I loudly told her "NO" She never bit again. My son never tried to bite but he would clam his teeth down when he was falling asleeep at the breast. I had to gently put my finger in his mouth to release the hold as soon as he fell asleep. Then we were both happy. Just because babies can't talk doesn't mean they don't know what you are saying. AF

Hi, J. - I remember being told to flick the baby's cheek when they bite. It gets their attention, and hopefully they get the message to stop biting! Good luck! N. B.

More Answers

When you are feeding and she begins to bite, stick your finger between her teeth and your skin and say, firmly, no biting. Or just no. They know no. When she struggles to latch back on, say ok, but no biting. It will take a while and you need to be able to recognize cues when she may bite, but she will get the point that her biting is causing her feeding to be interrupted. And she does not see it as biting, it is what she has always been doing, it is just now she has those sharp little teeth. Be patient and help her to relearn how to nurse without the teeth.

1 mom found this helpful

I went through the same thing with my dd, who is now 23 months old. Every time she bit me I said NO and stopped nursing her, even set her down on the floor. She would fuss, I would just say, 'No teeth on mommy's nipples' then we when nurse again. It took 24 hours but after that she stopped. I also made sure she had lots of teethers available all the time. And gave her some homeopathic teething drops ( can be found at Walgreens) to help ease the pain.
Good luck!
S.

1 mom found this helpful

hello! my name is L.. when my children were that age but with me it was at 4 months the first bite straight to baby food and solids. it hurts. lol take care

This is going to sound awful but as a friend (and huge proponent of breastfeeding) told me "smother" them. It sounds horrifying but it is not as scary as that. Basically instead of pulling away (OUCH) when they bite you do the opposite and push it toward them. They will instinctively release and in theory they will not be as inclined to continue the behavior. It worked for my first two perfectly (I nursed them both for over a year)and my third is just entering this phase but I am pretty confident that it will work for him too. I hope this will help you as it has me. Good luck.

Hi J., the biting is just not fun! I told my son "no" and would let him try again and if he bit again then I would end the nursing session. I would let him try a again about 10 minutes later and do the same thing if he did it again. Granted this does not feel so great either but it's better than a bite! He learned within a day or so and didn't bite any more. Good Luck!!

My first child did this a handful of times, and my 3 month old will occasionally clamp down with her gums very hard. I find it useful to say "NO!" very firmly and loudly and take her off the breast and hold her away from me a bit. Then resume feeding. And do this consistently.

The idea is NOT to let this become a game. My first daughter would bite down and sort of smile sweetly that big goofy baby smile. It is not cute after that first time. Please don't feel bad fopr talking a bit harshly to her. This may the first step in her learning "when Mommy means business"!!! Treat it seriously, because it would be a shame if you let it impede your nursing - give her a chance to correct the problem, as I am sure she misses the contact with you.

Oh, my boys used to bite all the time. I think it feels good to them because they're teething. Just pull her off, delatching by the two finger seperation, each time that she does it. She'll stop. Hang in there, it is so worth it.

Once the teeth came in I was done! I swtiched over to formula, water and 100% juice. All 4 of mine did fine!!!

Annie R

I hate to tell you this but my son went through the same thing and it lasted for a few weeks, like any other phase they go through, and then it just seemed to go away on its own. The only thing I did was react as if I was very sad and hurt, and tried not to yowl, as he seemed to think that was funny. After a few weeks it seemed to just go away on its own. Every single one of their phases seems like an eternity when you are in the middle of it but it did subside. I ended up nursing for 22 months and that never would ahve happened if he hadn't quickly learned to remove his teeth from the equation. He had a full set of teeth by the time I stopped nursing but never bit me after that little phase at about 9 months. I had almost forgotten all about it, actually. Good luck!

I had that trouble when my son first got teeth. I firmly said "NO BITE!" and put the boob away for one or two minutes. After 2 times, he never bit me again.

Hi J.,

I breastfed my son until he was 16 months old and am breastfeeding my teething daughter at the present time. When my son was around the age that you are describing he would mischievously smile up at me and then bite me hard enough to draw blood. I tried everything that I could think of to make him stop, but with no luck. I thought that I would have to wean him. Finally someone told me to immediately stop nursing, put him down somewhere safe, and walk away every single time he bit me. This seemed so harsh to me, but out of desperation I tried it. I only had to do it twice before the problem completely stopped. It turned out that my son liked any kind of reaction he could get from the biting. When I finally withdrew and he realized that the biting was depriving him of any interaction with me he stopped. I hope that this helps.

J. T.

We had this issue too when my dd was teething. There are several things you can try, even a combo of things:
1. You can unlacth her and look directly into her face and say No Biting..that hurts mommy and put her down for a second. My dd responded to this b/c she wanted milk but sometimes got lazy with her latch

2. Be sure that she has meds on board when you're nursing. Teething tablets, motrin, tylenol something b/c she's hurting and chewing is a comfort thing when her mouth is hurting her like it is.

3. Pull her towards you. It'll block her nose and to breathe she'll need to let go. You don't have to say anything she'll stop.

2 of them sound kinda mean and are really for when a baby is bored but won't just stop nursing. It's a good way to get their attention.

here are a few links that may also be of some assistance

http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/teething.html
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/biting.html

God Luck to you Momma AND GOOD JOB!!!

Babies can be taught not to bite. My daughter bit me once and I loudly told her "NO" She never bit again. My son never tried to bite but he would clam his teeth down when he was falling asleeep at the breast. I had to gently put my finger in his mouth to release the hold as soon as he fell asleep. Then we were both happy. Just because babies can't talk doesn't mean they don't know what you are saying. AF

Look this may look and sound mean but it had to be done. My son would bite me and smile so I would flick him in the cheek. I sware he stopped after one time of doing it. He is still teething and we never have had a problem like this one again.

My daughter did the same thing! If you can, when she bites, pull her into your breast so that she can't breathe for a second. She will then release and pull away. If she realizes that biting means she can't breathe, she will stop. Course it's hard to remember when the biting is acutlly happening because it hurts and our first reaction is to pull the baby away, but if you can do it, it works. It's much better than scolding the child. Good luck!!

Hi, J. - I remember being told to flick the baby's cheek when they bite. It gets their attention, and hopefully they get the message to stop biting! Good luck! N. B.

Sure with all 5 of my children.
I would talk sturnly and sometimes lightly flick him or her on the cheek.
Dettaching them from me for a minute so they can't nurse. I did this over and over with each child and even though they don't catch on the first time, they caught on!!!
They learn things even at newborn age and it just continues!!
Patience and consistency always work, the question, who will win you or her!
God Bless!!

My son bit me too. I kept my pinkie ready at the edge of his mouth ready to "pop" him off. I wouldn't suggest hollering or yelling because some babies find that reaction amusing. I would pop him off and give him a very stern face and use a deeper voice and say "No!" I would kind of draw out the Noooooo and put my finger in his face. I wouldn't put him right back on, just give him a bit of a stern look, or put him over my shoulder. Sometimes it was a period of more off than on, but he eventually got the idea that if he bit me, his mealtime came to a quick halt.

Good luck!
N.

It took several times, but what worked for me was removing the breast and saying no and then not nursing for 5 minutes each time. Even if I had to repeat it several times during 1 feeding, they learn not to bite while nursing. I nursed my last child until he was 18 months.

My daughter would bite when her teeth were hurting. I would hold her tight to the breast to get her to let go. (If she can bite you, she is not properly latched).

I would then put Baby Oragel on her gums. When she was out of pain, she didn't bite.

She has occasionally bit me other times and then I just put the breast away for a few minutes. However, if she is teething, I just treat the teething.

Hi J.,
When my daughter (and son) did that around the same time, I would gently squeeze closed their noses and say "No bite!" They hated it. After a few times, just the saying "No bite!" would work (it doesn't hurt them but causes them to open their mouth for air and thus letting go--and it's annoying)
Or try flicking them on the cheek. That worked for a friend of mine.
The key is consistency! If you do it once, but not the next time, then they don't get the message.

Hang in there!
A. in Mt Airy

My daughter did the same thing - but at 5-6 months.

Every time she bites, tell her no, and take her off. Leave her off for a minute or so. She will soon learn that biting means being taken away from the milk supply.

My daughter at 5 months was old enough to do it, and then laugh, so at 9 months, yours should understand the consequences. It may take a few feedings, so hang in there!

I haven't read the other responses, but I was always told, and it seemed to work pretty well...You immediately break the suction w/your finger in their mouth, look them in the eye and say "no bite" very sternly and even lowering your voice to a deeper pitch so they know you are serious...you HAVE to be serious or it will be funny and become a game. You can even touch or tap their lips w/a finger while saying NO BITE. Good luck! My 2nd son had teeth at 4 months and I nursed him til 13 months!

My son started cutting teeth at two months, he is now almost nine months old and we are still successfully breastfeeding. There have been a few instances of biting, but usually when he is tired and not paying attention to his latch. When I make the ouchie sound, he usually stops immediately, but sometimes I have to unlatch him and set him down with a teether. I found a Razberry teether on Amazon.com that helped a lot. It is nubby so it provides a much different texture for chewing and soothing the gums, and it's completely made of silicone. It helps to have something else for baby to associate with using their teeth on. Mostly, it's just important to remember they don't mean to hurt us and they're not getting any milk when they do it. Good luck!

It looks like you have received a lot of great advice. I would only add that you might consider not giving her bottles. I would save the bottles of pumped milk for others to give her when you have to be away. She can and probably does chew the bottle nipple. If she can learn that there is no biting when eating with mom that might also help.

Hi J.,

My daughter is the same age (8 months) and I am still breastfeeding. She would bite at least a couple of times a day when she first got her teeth. Everytime she would bite, I'd flinch and say Ow! She realized it scared me and she stopped after awhile. I don't know if this is why she stopped, but it eventually subsided. One of my friends told me it happened to her as well and told me to keep breastfeeding and she will stop. I hope this helps!

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