Breastfeeding is a pretty amazing thing and leaves you in awe of just how incredible your body is. Well, it does until your baby bites you for the first time, then all of a sudden it’s not quite the warm and fuzzy bonding experience you were hoping for. Some moms choose to give up breastfeeding when their baby bites, but this isn’t necessary. There are things you can do to gently teach your baby not to bite your nipples.
The important thing to bear in mind is that biting is a temporary stage. Just because your baby has bitten once does not mean that he will bite during feeds forever more. Some babies only ever bite once, others may trial it for a few days and for other babies it may take a few weeks until the behaviour dies down, this will all depend on your baby.
Biting often accompanies teething and is simply a way of your baby relieving some of the discomfort he feels on his gums. Unfortunately, this then passes the discomfort onto you which is certainly not ideal. So what can you do to stop your baby biting during breastfeeds?
How to stop your baby biting when breastfeeding
- Recognize teething signs
Your baby may be using feeds as a way of reducing discomfort caused by teething, unfortunately this may mean he’s like to gum down or bite your nipples. Ouch. If you think your baby may be teething, try offering a teething toy for him to bite instead of offering a feed.
- Look out for signs of boredom
Some babies bite at the end of a feed simply because they are bored (and, clearly, ungrateful). Babies can’t feed and bite at the same time, so a break in feeding could be a warning that a bite may be around the corner. If you think your baby may be done, immediately remove him from the breast.
- Give your baby attention
Some babies bite for attention during feeds. Try to resist the urge to look at your phone or watch TV and instead focus your attention on your baby during feeds. It may just be that he wants to look into your eyes for a little while and doesn’t know a better way of getting your attention.
- Remove baby from the breast
If the baby bites, you should stop the feed. You can do this without saying anything or you can say something to gently let him know that the feed is over. Scolding your baby won’t work because he’s too young to understand, so silence or gentle explanation is the best way forward.
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.