Help! My almost 9 month old keeps biting me. He presently has an ear infection, so that might be contributing, but every time I offer the breast while he is fully awake, he takes just the nipple and gives it a nip and then SMILES like he is proud as punch. I don't know what to do. I have resorted to pumping and giving a bottle every time because he's hungry and I am unwilling to be injured repeatedly. How do we get through this? I am worried that my repeat negative reactions to being bitten will lead to a nursing strike or bottle dependency. But I like having my nipples in one piece.
Re: Nipple Nipping
First of all, ouch! I am so sorry you're getting chomped. That stinks.
You are correct that this sort of thing can turn into bottle dependency or nursing strike. So despite the fact that you're getting chomped, it's important to try to keep nursing.
First thing to do is to try to identify when baby bites. Does it happen at the beginning of a feeding, or only when the feeding is mostly over? Sometimes if you know when a bite is likely to come, you can head it off at the pass by adjusting the baby's position or taking him off the breast (if bites come when he's done nursing for food and is only sucking for comport).
Second thing to do is to calmly and consistently condition your baby not to bite. When a bite occurs, take him off the breast, tell him "No bite, hurts mama," and then put him down and walk away for a while. Don't simply give him a bottle of pumped milk, because that just teaches baby that no matter how bitey he is, he'll still get his needs met. In theory, this all teaches baby that biting has the immediate effect of ending the feeding and the fun cuddle time with mama. It may take many repetitions for this lesson to take hold, so just keep at it!
Re: Nipple Nipping
He bites before we even get to nursing; it is when I offer, and we never get to actual feeding, unless he is asleep. He hasn't eaten since 9am today (it's 2:30pm now), although I have offered at least 3 times. I ended up pumping twice just to relieve the fullness but didn't give a bottle per your recommendation.
Is the ear infection contributing to the biting? Is this bad behavior just for the fun of it? How long should I let him go without eating before I give him the bottle? Should I offer solids or just wait him out?? My poor nipples feel like they've been assaulted due to biting with teeth and I am just getting scared that this is the beginning of the end of our nursing relationship. :sob