Ok, yet another post about biting...
Baby is 5.5 mos (EBF), his bottom middle two teeth came in at 4 months (ugh), and I think he is teething again now with the top two. We didn't have any biting with the first set, but recently we are having issues with it.
I think I have figured out how to deal with the daytime bites -- I think they are mostly caused by distraction or boredom once immediate hunger is sated. (We nurse in a quiet dim room, I watch his sucking patterns and break suction when it becomes intermittent, etc.) When he does get a bite in, I say a firm "No biting," stop nursing, and he goes to his playmat or dad. I have no idea if he's getting the message at his young age, but at least I have a strategy around this early discipline.
But the night nursing ... ugh, the night nursing! He has always done a lot of "dream feeding" since we co-sleep so he is nursing 3-4x/night. He is biting me IN HIS SLEEP and these bites are HARD (much stronger than the daytime bites) and sort of sudden -- it's like a fast, hard clamp down, before he releases and rolls over dead asleep. I can't always pick up the clues of when they are coming, or I sometimes fall asleep while he's nursing (I try to stay awake, but when it's 3am and I am soooo tired .... it's hard). And then all of a sudden it's excruciating pain. I don't want to react with the same discipline approach, because he's not even awake, I don't think he's doing it on purpose, and it seems almost like a reflex. I don't want to have to night ween, but he is breaking the skin and it freakin' hurts!
I searched the LL Resources page and I searched the forum past posts on biting, but unless I missed something I couldn't find anything on sleep biting. Any ideas?
Re: sleep biting?
my oldest did that clamp down thing in his sleep, or as he was going to sleep, i am pretty sure right around the same age. ugh, i called it pit bull jaw. Also he had those same two little sharp bottom teeth at four months! the only thing that worked for me was to watch like a hawk and catch him just as he started to clamp and quickly do the 'screwdriver in the paint can' unlatching maneuver with my pinky. and yes often i missed it yikes ouch.
for what it's worth, he grew out of it, don't ask me how long it took this was almost nine years ago so i don't remember. but it could not have been all that long. He simply stopped and we nursed happily for many years.
Re: sleep biting?
Thanks Meg. I guess I will just try to watch closer and hope he outgrows it soon. I hope hope hope this phase passes quickly because I honestly don't know how long I will last if it doesn't :(
Re: sleep biting?
OK, some good progress to report! We had a pretty rough stretch two days ago, where he was biting every. single. time. that he nursed (so I was repeatedly taking him off the breast and saying "No biting!") and he got himself pretty worked up and fussy. I could tell he was hungry but he just kept biting! I wasn't sure if he was going to get the message (like maybe he's too young, cognitively, to put together cause + effect). But then yesterday, we had a full day of bite-free nursing! Every time he nursed and gently released without biting, I praised and cuddled him. Hopefully this is evidence of him actually learning acceptable behavior, and isn't just some crazy coincidence :P
The unconscious night biting ("pit bull jaw" is the perfect description, Meg) continues though. I think my "screwdriver in the paint can" technique needs improvement though. I can't seem to pop him off without his teeth sort of scraping me. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.