3 Things Every Breastfeeding Mom Can Do To Survive a Biting Phase

Your baby biting on your breast is no doubt painful and the first time will certainly take you by surprise. Don’t worry, Mom, this is common behavior which is only temporary. Biting is a passing phase which most, if not all, Moms experience with their babies. The other good news is that once you’re able to gauge when your baby is about to bite, you can prevent it! Every baby is different, but here are some methods you can try in order to avoid the biting.

"Help, My Baby is a Biter!": 3 Things Every Breastfeeding Mom Can Do To Survive a Biting Phase

Why Do Babies Bite?

First of all, it’s helpful to know the reason behind why baby is biting, because this will help you find a solution to prevent it from happening. An indication of when baby is about to bite is tension in their jaw. Some babies tend to bite before or after a nursing session, but never during. It’s not possible for babies to bite while they are actively feeding. While suckling, the tongue covers the lower teeth and gums. Also, if your baby is latched on properly, you won’t even feel their teeth at all.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the probable reasons why babies bite and the corresponding solutions that may help you out.

When Baby Is Teething
Most often, babies bite to relieve the pain from new teeth emerging. In this scenario, try giving baby a teething toy or even a breastmilk popsicle to soothe their gums. At this moment, your baby is looking for relief from the pain rather than a feeding.

When Baby Is Distracted or Bored
When there is too much stimulation or distraction, babies will tend to bite and even try to wriggle out of your arms. Sometimes, biting also happens when babies are bored and when they’re not hungry anymore. Try to watch your baby for signs of overstimulation and boredom. Move to a quieter location and reduce the amount of noise and environmental distraction. Rocking them gently or lying down might also help.

When Baby Wants Your Attention
Older babies love to catch your attention, and biting is one way they do so. While nursing, focus your attention on your baby and try to maintain eye contact to engage with them more. By paying closer attention to your baby, you’ll also be able to observe when they’re about to bite.

 

3 Tips to Prevent Biting

Offer Comfort
Your baby doesn’t know that biting hurts. They might get surprised or even amused when you let out a yelp! It’s good to use gentleness and positive reinforcement in times like this. You can softly tell your baby, “Don’t bite Mommy,” and maybe even offer a cuddle. You can also try talking to your baby or playing a game.

Adjust Breastfeeding Position
A good latch will prevent biting. There’s no way baby will be able to bite when they’re actively suckling. Try angling their head back or test out other latching positions that will help them comfortably latch around the nipple with a wide open mouth. Expressing milk before feeding or doing breast compressions will also help if baby feels that milk let down is too slow. A steady flow of milk will help prevent your baby’s jaw from tensing up.

 Stop the Feeding for a Bit
Stopping the feeding can help teach your baby that biting is not okay. Gently unlatch your baby for a bit and maybe offer a teething toy, if necessary. You may wait for a few minutes before you resume nursing if baby is still hungry. If baby bites down on your breast and doesn’t want to let go, try quickly placing your finger in the corner of their mouth, between the teeth or gums, so you can pull away and remove them from your breast. Don’t pull back forcefully, because you might get a nipple injury.

If you feel recurring pain, always consult your doctor. Rest assured, Mom, biting is temporary and with your love and guidance, this habit will come to pass.

 

Sources:
4 Reasons Babies Bite While Breastfeeding.
Biting. January 2018.
Bonyata, Kelly. When Baby Bites. 17 March 2018.

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