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Thread: Biting

  1. #1

    Default Biting

    Morgan is 6 months old. she began eating 1-2 meals per day other than breast milk at 4.5 months because she is very food curious. She is in daycare 4 days per week where she has bottles of pumped milk. She began daycare at 6 weeks old. 2 weeks ago she got her bottom middle 2 teeth. Now, we are having problems. On my days off, I still try to feed naturally. She will be hungry, but fights initial attempts to nurse. I have always been able to be persistent and she will begin nursing after a couple minutes. Unfortunately now her initial tantrum has resulted in a firm bite which makes my nipples bleed. I hate to begin pumping and bottles only but this hurts badly. How do I get her to stop? When she is calm or sleepy we don't have this issue.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Biting

    Yeeouch. Sorry.

    many babies bite experimentally and when teething, including ebf babies. But because baby has been getting bottles, you might want to talk to your dcp about it baby if biting/chewing ON the nipple when bottle fed.

    This article covers biting issues pretty well, imo. http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/biting/

    Here is what I did when my baby bit me badly and I it hurt to nurse while it healed. The bite mark was under my nipple, so I lay down almost flat and brought baby to the breast over my shoulder. This essentially 'reversed" her latch so her bottom teeth which had injured me were now on the top side of my nipple. It was a bit silly but it really helped make latch comfortable while I healed.

    Anyone have a biting experience or tip to share with morgansmom?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Biting

    Ooch! Being bit is not fun!

    When my oldest child was eleven months old she started biting. I weaned her at the time because I didn't know what else to do. After she was weaned, I really regretted it. I wish that I had been able to nurse her longer. She was a very busy toddler and had trouble getting to sleep, and I think if she were still nursing, it would have been easier for us. At the time, I didn't have as much support or as many resources to look to for information. If I had known then what I know now, I would have found a way to stick with it. But you know what they always say about hindsight?

    I hope you find enough support to get you through this phase with your LO. She will outgrow the biting, it just might take some creative solutions to get you through it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: Biting

    DS (11 months) was biting me tonight--on purpose, too, as I gathered from the grin. I managed to get my finger in his mouth to stop it twice. Every time there are new teeth I feel like I am going through "the biting phase" all over again, and I worry that I just won't be able to nurse--because if there were serious bites every time, how could I? However, he soon learns to readjust his latch. I still get bites sometimes, but I get the idea that he knows how not to bite me. I have found that laying down side-by-side is the best position in which to avoid biting, though I'm not sure why.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: Biting

    Hi Morgansmom, here are my suggestions on biting. We worked through a short but rough patch of biting (with teeth as well) so I scoured the internet for resources to help resolve it!

    The cause and timing of the biting can indicate the possible solution:

    (1) If they bite at the start of a feed, they could be impatient for the letdown, so you can hand express a little to get things going before latching.

    (2) If they bite several mins into the feed, it could be that their hunger is sated and they become distracted/bored. For example an older baby who is an efficient nurser can get a full meal in 5 mins and then their attention starts to wander. In this situation you can watch very carefully and as soon as their suck becomes slower and more fluttery and intermittent, or they get that mischievous glint in their eye, unlatch preemptively (finger between the gums, back behind the teeth -- screwdriver in the paint can maneuver)

    (3) Biting can be experimentation with cause/effect so they might enjoy getting a reaction, or
    (4) They can bite because their gums hurt from teething and it feels good (to them!).
    In either case it's is an early opportunity for "gentle discipline": I would give a firm verbal response - "no biting" (or "biting hurts mommy" or "you may not bite me" if you wish) and immediately stopped, then I would put baby down or hand him off to dad. He would fuss, then I would nurse again a short while later (a minute or two, or longer, if you need to cool off). The response has to be immediate and consistent ... eventually they learn that biting = no more fun nursing time. However in my experience this gentle discipline worked best if HE actively wanted to nurse (rather than if I had initiated the nursing session), so while we were working on this, I let him do all the asking so that he would be more motivated to want to nurse and the consequence of biting more impactful. Since you are trying to get your daughter to nurse, and she is resisting it and then biting (based on your descriptions), maybe you could try backing off on your offers for a little and see if she's a little more motivated to nurse gently.

    (5) They can get bitey/clampy/chewy because they're getting lazy latch habits from bottle feeding -- I had to instruct my day care providers to ensure he was deeply latched on the bottle and to NOT let him chew on the nipple because he was getting bitey at the breast.

    The other thing that worked really well for us was positive feedback for good nursing behavior. So when he was nursing gently, I gave him LOTS of praise for gentle latching and nursing without biting, big snuggles and kisses for unlatching with no bites, etc. The positive feedback was pretty effective too. The roughest point was biting every.single.time for like three days straight. Since doing the gentel discipline and positive feedback, we have been bite free for over a year! And nursing with a whole mouth full of teeth

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