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Thread: sleep biting?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    464

    Default sleep biting?

    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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,912

    Default 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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    464

    Default 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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    464

    Default 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.

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