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Thread: Biting and Teething...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Biting and Teething...

    Hello fellow breastfeeding moms! I am in some desperate need of advice! My 9 ½ month old has always been a wonderful breast feeder and I have felt extremely lucky. Until this last week…

    About a week ago my son started biting my nipple. It started with a quick and sharp bite immediately after I put him to the breast. He then pulled away and just looked at me. We tried this several more times and every time he bit me immediately. I tried to tell him no sternly and put him down in between attempts, but this only made him and me cry out of frustration (and it hurt to see my response make my baby cry!).

    I waited again to feed him until he showed interest, and 6 hours later he still didn’t seem interested! He seemed relatively happy and content in between, but not interested in feeding. So, when we finally tried, it went alright, but he did bite at the end of the feeding.

    The next few days were alright…he was biting just a little at the end of feedings and I was only scolding him a little bit, but he didn’t seem to care since he had already finished eating. He used to hang out on the breast for quite a while even if he was done feeding, but as of this week…he eats and then is immediately off.

    Yesterday, he bit me right after I put him to the breast and so I didn’t feed him. Then he went down for a nap and when he woke up I tried to feed him but I couldn’t let down. He was patient and stayed on for more than 5 minutes before giving up. I was SO frustrated! I wasn’t able to let down at all after that.

    Overnight, he woke (as usual) 2 or 3 times and the feedings were relatively successful…I used nipple stimulation to help with a letdown. Today I was able to get in only one feeding before the biting started again. So, I’ve been pumping to replace the milk he would be getting from me.

    I’m confused because I don’t understand why he’ll take the milk from a bottle but bites me as soon as I try to nurse. I’m feeling like my body is betraying me and my baby doesn’t want to nurse. I want to nurse until he is 2 and I’m far from that now! I am so sad and frustrated and all I want to do is feed my baby. I think he is teething because I can see bumps on the front of his top gums (4 of them…all at once?!?). I’ve read that this might be a result of the teething, but I’m just not sure. Is there a chance he is trying to wean? Why doesn’t he want the breast, but he’ll take a bottle? Is there anything I can do to ensure we can still breastfeed in the end? How long should I anticipate this “phase” (if that’s what it is) to last?

    On a side note, my baby is a bit small for his age and just around the 0% - 5% on most charts for his age/weight. So…I’m nervous that he’ll loose too much weight during this and it’ll be harmful for his health. I have friends and family saying “Maybe you’ll just have to stop breastfeeding” or “At least you could feed him this long”. But I know how important it is to continue breastfeeding longer and I just need support!

    I apologize for my over explanation and rambling, but I’m just desperate for some feedback and advice. Thanks for listening!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Biting and Teething...

    When they are teething, it will sometimes cause strikes and biting. And, yes, they can get all 4 teeth in a relatively short period of time. Nursing and using a bottle are different and therefore when it hurts to nurse, it might not hurt to use a bottle. Also, he doesn't get any reaction from mom if he bites on the bottle. I found that it really helped to avoid getting bit to wait until DS showed he was ready/wanted to nurse when teething. And, yes, this was often much longer than usual. With your weight concerns, you might not feel comfortable doing this. You also might consider using something other than a bottle to supplement if needed so his sucking needs are only being met at the breast. We used a small, open cup some during strikes.

    Try taking deep breaths and think about your milk flowing as you breathe out to help with a letdown.

    Since it is very likely he is biting from teething, try giving him something to chew on before nursing. Then, if he bites, give him the teether/wet washcloth/etc again with a reminder that he can bite it but not mom.

    At the end, take him off when he starts to slow down. Or, if you watch closely, you'll be able to pick up on a slight change in his jaw.

    DS was always a quick nurser, but it became even faster when teething. Some babies like to nurse a lot when teething, but others, like ours, don't. Remember, this won't last, and he'll likely make up for it when the teeth come through.

    Keep in mind this is happening because he's in pain, not because he doesn't like you or wants to wean. This too shall pass... Hang in there!
    DS 1/2006 9 lb. 2 oz. 22 in.
    DD 10/2008 8 lb, 2 oz. 20 in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Biting and Teething...

    Thank you for your support. Sometimes it's hard to see through to the other side of a difficult situation. I've stopped offering the breast at all the last day or so because I am so afraid of being hurt (and selfishly I'm feeling afraid of being rejected). I think I need to try again soon and remember to tell him firmly "No" so he knows it's not okay. I'm afraid that he'll not want to return to the breast even after his teeth come in and he's feeling better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Biting and Teething...

    Hi - definitely try giving him a cold teether or something cold to naw on when he's biting you. Pull him off your breast and let him chew on the cold teether for awhile until his gums are numb enough not to hurt for awhile. Then, try to nurse him right away so that at least while his gums are numb, he won't be in pain. He may like the bottle because the nipple is harder so it may feel better against his gums and your nipples are soft, so it's easier to bite down on!
    Rest assured, it's nothing personal and if you train him to bite on the cold teether first before nursing, then he'll remember the "routine", so to speak.
    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Phoenix, AZ

    Default Re: Biting and Teething...

    My LO started biting me about a month ago. She never hurt me too bad. But I stopped nursing her during the day and only nursed her in the morning and at night and pumped during the day, which was when I found she bit me more.

    If you stop BFing and only pump, I definitely recommend reading up on pumping and doing it frequently. I lost over half of my supply from pumping for 10 mins every 2-3 hours. (Which is what the doctor recommended) However, if you don't empty them completely with the pump, then your supply will most likely decrease as well. I wish someone had told me all of this before I started pumping during the day.

    Not sure if you already were aware of this, but at least wanted to inform you, just in case.
    Married my soulmate Jay 4/22/06
    First time Mom to Alexis 10/29/07 6lbs 15oz 19 3/4 in
    6 month checkup 12lb 10oz 26 1/2 in
    7 month weight check 14lb 6oz - Yea!!
    9 Month checkup - 16lbs


    Love to

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