What to do if your baby decides to take a bite while breastfeeding. Ouch!
Today I was happily breastfeeding my 7 month old (who has 2 rather large bottom teeth) when all of a sudden, OUCH! She decided to take a bite!
Image: Mom and child breastfeeding by desireefawn
I calmly took her off the breast looked her in the eye and said “no, no biting” in my lower “mom, means it” voice. Yes, I know she’s only 7 months old, but it seems to work on my toddlers and I kind of do it automatically!
She gave me this look, then the lower lip came out all quivering accompanied by the close to tears look. A hug was promptly provided and all was forgiven.
A few feeds later and she hasn’t bitten me again.
By my readings on the subject, the little ones tend to go for the biting when they are done with the feed, are waiting for a slower than usual let down or want to “scratch” the gummy teething itch. See our teething advice here.
They can not bite while sucking, because the tongue is in the way. You are also able to tell when they will likely bite you because they will have to move their tongue out of the way to do so.
The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding, by La Leche League International, is an awesome book every mother should own if she intends to even try breastfeed.
Knowledge in this case can lead to a successful breastfeeding journey!
Some solutions for biting during breastfeeding to try are:
- remove from breast and break physical contact
- try stimulating a let down earlier by doing breast compressions or fiddling with your nipples
- watch for the removal of the tongue, and distract in the effort to deter biting
- have a finger ready to insert in-between the nipple and gum
- avoid pacifiers and bottles etc, confusion with why she can bite one and not the other
Biting while breastfeeding is almost never a cause to wean.
If your little one does cause skin damage, which is rare, apply some breastmilk 🙂
Of course teething also brings up an entire other topic. How to sooth teething aches? Do take a look at our post on Amber Teething Necklaces, fascinating.
Some awesome further reading can be found here: Teething and Biting and here Do I Need to Stop Breastfeeding When My Baby Gets Teeth?