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Thread: Help! Desperate because son won't stop biting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    5

    Default Help! Desperate because son won't stop biting

    My son is almost one year (3/14) and we have been nursing happily these 11 1/2 months. I plan to continue nursing him for some time (I have no idea how long, we'll figure it out as we go). However, I am having serious problems right now because he is biting me. Hard. I've tried saying "Ouch" or "That hurts mommy" or even "No biting" and he just laughs at me. I've tried unlatching him and latching him back on again and that doesn't work. I've tried to figure out if there is a particular time during our nursing sessions that he does it, and its very random. Sometimes he does it in the beginning, sometimes he does it at the end if he's sleepy, and sometimes he just flat out bites me. Over the weekend, he bit me so hard that one of my nipples started to bleed and now I have a small scab on there. I am so sore from this that I literally cringe and cry when we nurse. I try to watch him nursing and as soon as he gets that "look" in his eye I take him off and then relatch him. Sometimes this works, other times it just makes him mad and when I put him back on he purposefully bites me. He has 8 teeth now (4 on top, 4 on the bottom), and I think he may be working on another one because he's drooling a lot right now. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Tara

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Help! Desperate because son won't stop biting

    Oh man, biting is the worst -- and I know the books say that most kids will experiment once or twice with biting and then stop ... but my son, like yours, was a persistent biter. We dealt with it off and on for a long time.

    With a nearly 1yo persistent biter, I would make the consequence for biting a little more emphatic. If he bites, don't just unlatch and relatch. Unlatch, say firmly, "No bite!" and then put him down on the floor and move away. If he cries for you, don't immediately offer the breast -- try distracting him with a toy or something. Nurse again only when he cues to nurse.

    It's also good to have an alternative behavior that you want him to do. He gets this urge to bite, and all he knows to do with that urge is to go ahead and bite. If you can catch him before he bites, hand him a toy that he can bite instead, and encourage him to bite that, not your breast.

    With my persistent biter, sometime after 18 months in age he became able to verbalize the urge to bite instead of acting it out. He would unlatch, grin up at me, and say, "No bite!" very cheerfully, and then I would hand him a toy to bite instead.

    It's incredibly frustrating to deal with persistent biting. Try to believe that your son does not want to hurt you -- he doesn't understand that he is hurting you. A friend of mine helped her little biter "get it" by, after being bitten once, making a big sad fuss herself about how much her num-num hurt and how sad she felt. It got his attention and seemed to register. It couldn't hurt to try that as well.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    4

    Thumbs up Re: Help! Desperate because son won't stop biting

    Hi there - I wrote into this forum with exactly the same problem three months ago - a one year old boy who was biting in exactly the same manner (no pattern) and I was bleeding and cringing.
    To make it worse, everyone said I needed to wean him! This was not the case, and he stopped a couple of weeks later .
    I tried the 'no!!!' approach but made him cry, not out of sorrow, but confusion... and we got into a bit of a mess with all that. I finally realised that he was not really aware that he was biting, that it was the old teething solution for him. So I changed the game plan - brought all my feeds forward to avoid the tiredness (just before bed syndrome where the likelihood of me bleeding shot up by 300%). Also, I had been in the habit of feeding him lying down which made it too easy for him.... so I resumed the traditional position which took the 'play' aspect out of the biting. And finally, kept the feeds short - no tender nurturing drinkies (they tend to bite once the hunger is satisfied) until this stage is through..... I pulled him off (which I never did) as soon as there was a pause in the action!
    Basically, within one-two weeks it resolved and we nurse on happily. My only other advice is either a nipple shield or some nice lanolin gel on the old cracked bits so they can heal despite the ongoing feeding.

    Take care, and do not lose hope - this is only a phase!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Help! Desperate because son won't stop biting

    Thanks so much for your support! My son is now 13 1/2 months old and he rarely bites me anymore. I never did find a way to have him not bite me, but it seems that it was just a phase. He had a pre-molar emerge about a month after the biting started so it could have been because he was teething. I did try putting him down on the floor when he bit me, but this just caused a raging temper tandrum (something he NEVER does), and I couldn't distract or console him with anything else other than trying to nurse again. He has now started doing acrobatics while nursing, so sometimes he bites, but its just because he's trying to stand up, roll over, walk away, do a somersault, etc. while nursing, and I know he doesn't mean to!

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