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Thread: "Biting" without teeth?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default "Biting" without teeth?

    My DD is 4 months old and has no teeth. She isn't teething either as far as I can tell but she has started to "bite" or clamp down on my nipple while nursing. It doesn't happen every time and it happens more on one side than the other. It REALLY hurts! My ODD nursed for 28 months and never bit even after she got teeth so this is uncharted territory. Why is she doing this and how can I get her to stop?? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: "Biting" without teeth?

    Why? Maybe she's starting to teethe and is using you to soothe her sore gums. Maybe she's trying to control the milk flow- stop it if it's too fast, stimulate it if it's too slow. Maybe she's just losing her grip as she nurses, and is clamping down to prevent herself from falling off the breast. Maybe she's done and is just fooling around at the end of the feeding.

    What to do about it: treat it like biting. When she clamps, remove her from the breast. Lean back for a little bit. When she fusses again, allow her to nurse again. If she clamps you again, repeat the process. Eventually she should learn that a particular nursing trick results in the end of the feeding. Also, experiment with different nursing positions. If the problem is flow speed or losing her grip on the breast, a different position may help.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: "Biting" without teeth?

    Mommal's suggestions are good. My son started teething around 4 mos and his latch started to get a bit clampy as well. I didn't intervene as intentionally and consistently as I probably should have with those early signs, just because I didn't really pick up on it (so good for you for being proactive now!). Then when his teeth came through a month later, he started REAL biting (like broke the skin) and it was a pretty unpleasant stretch. At that point we had several very rough days of "gentle discipline" around not biting: Biting --> *immediate* removal from the breast, I would say "no biting" and hand him off to daddy or put him down; he would cry and fuss; a few minutes later (or however long it took for me to cool down and be ready), repeat the process. It took a few days but he did learn that biting = no more fun nursing time. Then when he began to nurse well again, LOTS of praise for gentle latching and nursing without biting, snuggles and kisses for unlatching with no bites, etc. The positive feedback was pretty effective too.

    All this is to say -- this is one habit you want to nip in the bud quick!

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