As soon as babies start getting teeth, breastfeeding moms get concerned about their baby biting while breastfeeding.
We understand. Nursing is a wonderful and natural thing. When your baby bites you, though, it may not seem so wonderful.
In fact, some moms even consider weaning to stop the biting! Don’t give up! There are some things that you can do to help your baby learn not to bite you.
Here are some tips to stop the biting while breastfeeding:
• ”It Hurts!” It is important to let your baby know that it hurts you when they bite. Saying, “Ouch! Biting hurts Mommy!” is very appropriate. Even very young babies can understand the tone of your voice. Let them know that you are not pleased with them at all.
• End the Session. Unlatch your baby by sliding your finger into the side of his mouth to break the suction. Your first reaction may be to just pull the baby off, but this can cause soreness in your nipples. It is best to break the suction first. Do this immediately if he bites. This lets the baby know that biting ends his feeding time. Do not offer the breast again for at least 15 minutes.
• Baby Time Out. For some babies, not nursing is discouragement enough. For others who might be a little more persistent, you might need to take additional steps. If it keeps happening, end the session and put your baby down for a few minutes. This is like a baby time out. They learn that they don’t get to be near you if they bite.
• Learn The Cues. Babies often bite when they are bored or are frustrated. If a baby is easily distracted, nursing in a quiet room will help minimize distractions. A nursing necklace that is only offered at feeding times can prevent boredom. Pay attention to his cues. If he is getting restless or pulling away, go ahead and take him off and offer the breast again later. If you learn to anticipate it, you can prevent it.
• Teething. Teething is another common reason. Try offering a teething baby something to chew on before the feeding. (A Teething Bling bracelet would work great.)
• Correct Latching. If a baby is latched on correctly, the nipple should be about an inch behind his teeth. If he is actively nursing in a correct position it is physically impossible for him to bite. Many biting incidents occur when the nipple slips out of position and comes back toward the front of the mouth. This happens mostly when a feeding is winding down or the baby is sleepy. When you feel this change in position go ahead and end the feeding.
It is a Phase
Not every baby bites, but biting is a painful and discouraging phase for some. But rest assured, it is just a phase.
Babies can learn that biting is not tolerated and nursing will get back to normal. Hang in there! Don’t quit yet. Try these tips to help your baby learn not to bite, and you can both enjoy this special time of closeness for a while longer.