Baby Biting While Breastfeeding

Latching Issues Jan 5, 2021


Is Baby Biting Again?

Teething may result in some fussy nursing behavior. Your Bambino may be feeling some gum discomfort.

The baby's "teething age" is usually from about five months to two years of age. A teething baby might pull off frequently and fuss or even bite you.

Some Moms think they need to wean when Babe starts biting when breastfeeding, but it is not always necessary to stop. Biting usually only lasts a few days, and Mom must try to be persistent.

The combination of breastfeeding and teething is inevitably something that all nursing mothers must go through simultaneously. Hopefully, the information presented here will make the process a little easier.

Young baby's wide reflective eyes, baby picture, cute sleepy baby, baby on moms shoulder, sweet baby
Photo by Matt Walsh / Unsplash

Teething Tips

  • Deaden your baby’s gums with a frozen teething ring or an ice cube, then try to nurse, but if they are still biting, try again with the ice. You can use a baby sock, too; just put some ice into the sock and tie a knot. Allow your baby to suck on it as much as they need for some teething relief. Make some breast milk lollies. Something interesting - can too much breast milk cause tooth decay?
  • Make some homemade baby teething biscuits for biting. This will help relieve pressure on your baby's gums before breastfeeding. Get the recipe here.
  • Homeopathic teething tablets can help relieve teething pain.
  • Do not use teething jell before Babe nurses, as this deadens the mouth and can make breastfeeding difficult for them.
  • Baby teething toys can be given to your little one before they breastfeed.
  • Biting usually occurs when they are bored or have had enough to drink. Watch for signs of boredom and get them off the breast before the biting starts.
  • Babies that bite should be taken off the breast immediately, given a teething toy, and shown that the toy is for biting. Our little ones are more intelligent than we think!
  • Offer Babe a teething toy or finger before you start nursing. If your Baby sucks, then you can nurse. If they bite, use some of the teething tips mentioned above before you nurse.
  • Make sure that they are latching on correctly. Sometimes when a baby starts to bite, it's a sign that they are not latched on properly and, therefore, not getting enough milk. Your baby’s mouth should be open wide and have a large piece of the areola in their mouth.
  • Some babies have been found to bite their Moms for attention. Focus on them while nursing and your baby might stop biting!
  • When Baby bites, you can say something like “no biting while nursing" and then take them off the breast for a while. Your baby will quickly discover that biting does not get them any milk.
  • Never raise your voice when they bite; they might think it is funny and will continue to bite or refuse the breast.
  • For those babies over six months with big appetites, try offering solid foods before offering the breast - reducing hunger while feeding and therefore biting too.
  • Do not give bottles or pacifiers. They might get into the habit of biting these and then learn to bite you. Babies can learn to use sippy cups very early on.
  • Unlatch your little one when the nursing slows down, so they do not get a chance to bite you.
  • Minimize distractions by dimming the lights and playing soothing music.
  • Some babies bite when their noses are congested. Mom can quickly remedy this by getting something to open the little one's nose. Breast milk works excellently, squirt a few drops of breast milk into your Baby's nose and use a suction bulb to remove any excess mucus.
  • Your baby might be letting you know that they want to wean. Never force your baby to nurse! Self-weaning from the breast can occur anywhere from six months onward, but it is very uncommon for this to happen before one year.
  • Always praise your baby for good behavior.

What if Your Baby Clenches Down and Does Not Let Go?

  • Try placing your fingers between your baby's gums so you can pull away.
  • Close your Baby’s nose, so they have to let go to breathe.

How to Deal With Biting During Breastfeeding

  • Air dry your nipples.
  • Massage a few drops of breast milk into your nipples (breast milk contains healing properties).
  • Apply pure lanolin ointment regularly.
  • If your nipples become too sore from breastfeeding, you can use a nipple shield for a few days until they heal. Remember not to continue with them for too long, as they could decrease your milk supply.
  • While breastfeeding, teething may put a lot of strain on Moms, who need to remember to stay calm and relaxed.

Why Do Babies Bite While Breastfeeding?


Biting Me While Breastfeeding
by Sammie

"Hey, mamas, I need some help. My 7-month-old LG just got her first two teeth a couple of weeks ago. She bit me multiple times at every feed, almost always drawing blood. I've been searching all over the internet, looking for the answer that will help me show her that it's not on.

I've tried saying 'no biting' in a stern voice (she thinks it's funny). I've tried putting her on the floor and waiting a few minutes (she bites again as soon as she's back on). I attempted to end the feed completely and waited to make sure she was REALLY hungry (she goes crazy trying to get at my boob as soon as she sees it, sucks for a minute, stops, and then bites again)

I'm in pain and dread feeding her. Tonight I couldn't bring myself to do it, so dad gave her a bottle of EBM while I expressed.

Can anybody offer any other advice? I don't want to give up! Thanks"

Re: Ouch
by: Lyssa

"Biting babies are tough. It is frustrating when you are trying to use gentle, non-violent parenting to deal with violent behavior. It tests us as parents.

When my son started biting, I had to watch him at every feeding for several days. It was very tense. To bite, a baby has to draw his tongue back and shift his jaw, and you can visibly see the shift. My best advice would be to watch carefully and pull her away before she bites with a firm "no, do not bite mommy," and then end the feeding. Consistency is key. Try not to laugh, smile, or get too frustrated. I know that can be a lot easier said than done, though.

Putting some breast milk on your nipples and letting it air dry should help them heal."

Tags

Tracy Behr

Mom of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural! Studying a breastfeeding counselor course via Childbirth int. & plant-based nutrition via the Nutrition Inst.

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