5 Month Old Has Teeth and Wants to Bite While Feeding

Updated on December 05, 2009
T.A. asks from Lake Oswego, OR
18 answers

Hello ladies,
My lil guy is 5 1/2 months old, and within the last couple months hes been teething really bad. He already has his two bottom teeth and lately anything that is within arms reach he chews on, including my breast while feeding. Normally i can get him to let go, but recently he has been biting down all the way and pulling. Do any of you know how I can get him to stop. Right now, when he starts biting, i just give him a bottle. once he starts biting he doesn't stop. I would really like to continue to breastfeed, but im finding it impossible.

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answers from Portland on

With my son who now has 6 teeth, feeding time would stop if he bit me. I would say ouch really loud - sort of a reflex - and the feeding time was done for a bit. It worked, he's stopped biting mommy.

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answers from Seattle on

I had this issue with my first son and while he does not yet have teeth a bit with my 2nd son as well, none of the girls did it....

What I did/am doing. First I think many moms make the mistake of not making sure no biting down is happening until there are teeth, if you can break them of it before they have it it is easier on you. Of course you do not have that option.

If he is biting, he is not nursing at that moment, why? Because to nurse he must have his tonge AND your nipple in his mouth. What I did is any time baby started to bite down I immediately unlatched him, stopped the nursing session and set him down with out holding him alone for a short time. He hated that and after a bit he got the picture and quit. I never gave him a bottle, because that just teaches them to bite more, you can bite on a bottle and the bottle never complains.

I used lansinoh if my nipples were sore. It took a bit of time to break him, but it got less and less frequent until he never ever did it again.

If his teeth are hurting him it will also help the biting to give him something for that. I used wet frozen clean wash cloths, very different from me and not a way to get nutrition, but very effective and he can bite on it all day long. I also use highlands teething tablets they are very effective.

Some moms find saying "no" loudly and firmly before putting baby down for a bit helps. I found it either entertained him ( he liked getting the reaction) or it startled and scared him so much he forgot what he had done, but each child is different and you know your child better than anyone so you will have to decide if that works for you or not.

I do beleive that this is the beginning of early boundary setting and a great opportunity to teach.



answers from Bellingham on

I had the same problem with my little guy. My friend told me once they start biting to push their head into your breast, sounds mean I know, but you don't do it hard or for long and your baby will instantly release and learn it's not acceptable. I only had to do it twice before my son learned not to bit, and each time he released right away with a smile:)



answers from Medford on

Hi T......I just used a bottle nipple over my nipple and they just didn't like biting it as much and at least it didn't hurt.....got me through 5 kids.....Good luck with whatever you choose...

C. M Hamlin



answers from Portland on

i tried the whole smoosh their face in your breast and saying ow. all i got for it was a smile as my daughter thought it was a game. so one day i flicked her cheek when she bit me and she never did it again. if i'd had the brains to think about it, i like the putting them down idea but i was crazy with sleep-deprivation and baby blues so that was the best i could come up with. (i hadn't yet found mamasource.) i really didn't want to flick her but it was a last resort and it worked. good luck!



answers from Eugene on

don't give him a bottle! that could make things worse, as he may interpret the bottle as a reward for biting! (since the milk comes out faster & easier from a bottle). i would just react enough when he bites you that he can tell it hurts you, but not enough for him to enjoy your reaction, remove him quickly from the breast, and wait a short time before offering your breast again, and if he bites again, remove him and wait a longer time before offering your breast again, and if he does it again i would just give him something that he can chew on, as he may not be hungry but may just want to chew. it is totally normal for babies to experiment with biting while nursing when they first get teeth, but they can learn very quickly that it doesn't work with breastfeeding. do give him things that he can chew on. if these things don't work, it could be that he is expressing some feelings about some stress in his life, such as with his sibling, daycare, you being gone at school etc, so you could check that out. don't give up breastfeeding! it could be the most important thing you do!



answers from Seattle on

When my daughter bit i just popped her off, and stopped the feeding, and would put her down. It didn't take that long for her to figure it out.

If you want to keep breast feeding, don't offer the bottle instead. Make it 'nurse right, or don't nurse'.



answers from Portland on

Pinch his nose closed when he bites, then he has to let go to breath. Worked for me. I only had to do it a couple of times before either of my sons quit biting while nursing.



answers from Honolulu on

When I had mine and they did that, the nurse at the hospital where they were born told me to press their face into me. The let go and back up. So I did it. After a few times, I guess they just learned not to do it again or that would happen. I never had anymore trouble out of any of them (3). So it must have worked.



answers from Spokane on

End the feeding and don't offer him a bottle. The bottle is something that he can chew while eating so you are sending him mixed signals. My daughter only bit me 3 times...I allowed myself to respond to the situation immediately when it happen...I would immediately unlatch her and quickly lay her down somewhere. Crying out in pain also startled her but I just couldn't help it. So, not only was her bite "rewarded" by an end of feeding time, but she was no longer being held and snuggled. She would start to cry of course, I responded by comforting her and trying the feeding again.



answers from Seattle on

What I did was to unlatch her and say on a sharp tone: "no biting". When she did it a second time I said "no biting" and "you are done" and unlatched her and packed it up.

By offering him a bottle instead, you are rewarding his behavior, if you want to discourage him, stop feeding him.

Biting may be a sign that he's not really that hungry any more, or if he is, he will have a little meltdown and after a few minutes you can put him back on the boob with a "no biting" warning.

I think I was bitten about three times and only during those first weeks with her first set of teeth, and that was it. You have to be consistent though.

I also have to say that I started paying more attention to my daughter when feeding her and as soon as she started being distracted, I would say "are you done?" and she would either be done or regain her focus. I nursed for 19 months and by the end she had a full set of teeth including her first molars.



answers from Yakima on

Hi T., I had the same problem with my older son who got his teeth at seven months...My boys are almost the exact same age difference as yours...I accidentally screamed the first time older son did it, and pulled him off right away...I went ahead and tried to nurse him a few minutes later, and it went better...After that if it happened at all (only a couple more times) I would tell him no really sternly and then remove him for a minute...it worked pretty good..second son didn't get teeth till ten months, so it was a little different experience with him...Best of luck and nursing is still an option if you want to express milk so you won't have quite as much pain if he continues after the stern no...Just another thought...:)



answers from Portland on

When my daughter started doing this exact thing I would flick her lightly on the cheek, say using a firm voice "Oww! No Biting!" use my finger in her mouth to detach her and then set her on the floor and not give her any more breast or bottle for at least 20 minutes. It only took about four times doing that before she got the idea and stopped biting. Hope this helps. I am still breastfeeding her and she just turned two.



answers from Portland on

A really wonderful website that helped me out a lot, and will answer pretty much all, if not all, of your breastfeeding questions:




answers from Portland on

My now 4 year old did that when he was nursing too. I found it easiest to talk to him gently and explain that he was hurting me and he seemed to understand. I also would put my pinky finger between his gums and my breast, and it would get him to re-latch and would usually stop him for biting, at least for a while :)


answers from Seattle on


My sister-in-law had this happen with at least 3 of her 4 kids, and I had this happen with my two kids. I got my method from her.

When the nursing baby would bite they would get a flick on the cheek and a stern: No bite! I would then wait a few seconds then let my baby back on to finish eating. My son cut his first two teeth at 4 months and only bit me a handful of times. My daughter cut her first tooth at 11 months and only bit me a handful of times.

Hope this helps,



answers from Seattle on

I had biters! Told by a nurse to "smoosh" his face into my breast. It works! If he did it again, he was done. Obviously, he was more interested in biting than eating. I'd unlatch him by holding him close and slipping my finger into the corner of his mouth.

I ended up being so startled by his bite sometimes that I'd cry out and that would startle him and he'd let go.

Keep on breastfeeding! It is so worth it! :D



answers from Seattle on

Both of my kids went through the biting while nursing phase. Thankfully it was very brief. It felt like Russian Roulette every time we nursed. First make sure he is only nursing to feed, and not just to comfort. As soon as it seems like he has had enough to eat, stop nursing and give him some "chew toys". If/when he bites and pulls, gently plug his nose with your fingers and he'll let go. Say firmly, but without yelling, something like "Ouch, no biting, that hurts mommy" and stop nursing for a few minutes. Soon he will see that when he bites he looses the boob.

Good luck

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