Written by Editorial Team
Breastfeeding is an amazing experience for any mother, with benefits for both the mother and the baby. The feeling of attachment and nursing your baby is significant, memorable, and something very close to your heart. However, it is difficult to relax and enjoy the moment when your baby develops a habit of biting during breastfeeding.
A nipple bite from your baby can be quite agonizing and may make you cautious throughout the feeding session due to the fear that it will happen again. This will definitely affect the charm of breastfeeding, and sometimes make you dread the feeding sessions.
In This Article
A baby can’t bite if they are feeding properly as the tongue covers their lower teeth while suckling and the nipple will be deep inside the mouth. In this situation, it is impossible to bite your nipple without biting their own tongue.
The biting happens if the tongue is not positioned well or due to a shallow latch (both of which will allow the baby to bite the nipple).
Hence it is very important to make sure that the baby is well latched and most of your areola is inside the baby’s mouth. A baby may also bite when they are teething, though some babies never bite. If you think that you need to wean your baby now that they have sprouted some teeth, then you are wrong.
Biting can usually be dealt with with a little persistence from the mother. It is largely a temporary issue and once you are able to figure out something that works for your baby to dissuade from biting, the stage will get over.
Here are 5 main reasons why babies bite during breastfeeding:
When a baby is in pain due to a cold or an ear infection, they may find it hard to suck and due to this, they may bite. Teething may also cause a baby to seek comfort by sinking his teeth onto the nipple.
If the baby is facing problems while latching on to the breast, they may tend to bite on the nipple. Babies also tend to bite at the end of the feeding session as they get bored and are no longer hungry now
For some babies, any kind of disturbance while feeding can make them bite. Make sure that you feed the baby in a room with not much happening around. A calm and serene feeding environment reduces the chances of biting during breastfeeding.
When the baby falls asleep in the middle of a feed, they are most likely to bite. In fact, removing your nipple from the mouth of a grown baby can be very, very painful. Always be alert and when the baby tends to doze off, remove them from the breast
If you are not attentive to your baby while feeding them, they is likely to bite you. Some babies bite just to see the mother’s reaction or as a fun game- yeah, babies are pretty naughty!
Some babies have a tendency to rest their top teeth on the breast during feed causing an indentation in the breast. This usually does not cause any pain. If you notice that your baby is biting during breastfeeding, please do not worry. Here are a few tips that will help you prevent your baby from biting.
Watch closely when the baby changes his tongue’s position. Slowly you will understand a pattern. It is easy to prevent biting once you understand why and when your baby starts to bite you.
Here are 8 ways that will help you to prevent your baby from biting while breastfeeding:
Screaming and scaring the baby is not a good option to prevent the baby from biting. This may lead to a condition called the “nursing strike”, where the baby refuses to breastfeed anymore.
On the other hand, sometimes, the baby might mistake your scream as a part of some game and will start to bite you repeatedly. Either way screaming is not an option to prevent the baby from biting
During breastfeeding time, the baby is breathing through the nose. When they start to bite you, rather than pulling him away from the breast pull them closer to you. This way, the nose gets blocked and the baby will be compelled to open the mouth instinctively to breathe through.
Now you can pull your breast out. Do it every time your little one bites you. The nose being blocked is not a good experience for the little one. Slowly he will pick up the cue and stop biting you.
By closely watching your baby you will come to know when they are about to bite you. Sometimes the baby bites towards the end of the feed or sometimes in the middle when the initial thirst or hunger subsides.
Be prepared to break off the feed as soon as you notice the change. Never hesitate to put your finger on the corner of the baby’s mouth and pull the nipple out of their mouth
Baby biting at the beginning of the feed can be due to the “let down” reflex not working properly. As a result, the hungry baby tends to bite the nipple, hoping for more milk to come. To prevent this, just before feeding, massaging the breast and doing some nipple rolls will help to initiate the letdown before the baby latches to the breast.
In addition, you can try compressing the breast while the baby is feeding to help them get more milk to satisfy his initial hunger or thirst. This way they will not bite.
Feeding is the time when the baby gets his mother to himself. So, there is a chance he will try to make you feed him even if he is not that hungry. There may be a possibility that you might try to feed him beforehand if you are stepping out or tied up for the next couple of hours.
Either way, feeding the baby when they are not hungry increases the chances of biting. Therefore, if your baby develops a habit of biting, never feed them unless they are hungry. This way you might be able to prevent the baby from biting you
A good position plays a significant role in healthy feeding. Find out a comfortable position that works for both you and your baby and stick to it. This will prevent the baby from biting you while feeding.
Always talk to your baby while feeding them. Try to maintain constant communication like singing or telling a story or simply humming throughout the time you feed your baby. Whenever their jaws tighten in order to bite, say a strong “no”.
For some babies, if the mother puts a stern impression on her face, it will work. For some others, a warning sound is required. Find out what will work for your little one and try it. Either way, the baby should be able to pick the cue. Repeat it whenever he tries to bite
You can teach your little one and warn them at times that biting is not going to work anymore. For this, you do not have to shout or scream. Just stop feeding and let the baby lie down on the floor or bed. Keep a watchful eye but let your baby think that you are not paying attention. If your munchkin bites you in order to get your attention, they will get the signal and will stop biting.
If your baby bites again, repeat the punishment. Babies are smart enough to pick the hint and eventually stop biting. The ultimate solution to deal with a baby who bites during a feeding session is to calmly remove them from the breast and stop the nursing session. If biting during breastfeeding is due to a cold or an infection, consult your doctor for suggestions on what to do.
There is a common misconception among new mothers that nursing and teething shouldn’t go hand in hand because of the potential for discomfort. It is essential for parents to understand that the onset of teething does not indicate that nursing should be discontinued.
Some infants may start teething as early as 3 months of age, but the majority will begin the process between the ages of 4 and 7 months. Although nipple biting is frequent in infants who are getting their first teeth, this behavior is caused only by your baby’s desire for comfort as a result of sore gums.
Before you start nursing your infant, you should give them some other items to gnaw on for a few minutes. This way breastfeeding the baby who is teething will not have any effect on the nursing connection.
Nipple biting when the mother is nursing may, to say the least, be excruciatingly uncomfortable. Additionally, it results in pain and soreness. In most cases, the nipple is not harmed in any way. Unfortunately, there are rare instances in which biting may cause injury to the nipple, which can be rather painful.
You will want to address your nipple damage in addition to limiting the amount of biting that your kid does. However, before ingesting any medications or putting them topically to the nipples, it is important to consult with a qualified medical professional for guidance. At-home treatments, such as putting a few drops of fresh aloe vera juice in the area, could be helpful in speeding the healing process.
Explain to your infant that biting is unacceptable behavior when you are feeding them. Simply say “no” firmly when you feel their teeth clenching to bite. Similarly, you may need to try out a few different approaches before finding one that resonates. Making a stern impression may work with some babies. But some babies react more effectively to other tactics like diverting attention.
Although not all infants display the same behaviors when they are hungry, there are a few common cues that parents may look for to determine whether or not their baby is ready to eat. Arms waving and legs kicking are some of those cues. They are basically excited to know they are about to feed. They will wave and kick more often as you continue to feed them.
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