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  1. #1

    Breastfeeding with a biting baby: help needed

    We have been breastfeeding for 13 months now and my baby has 6 teeth going on 7. All was going fine until a couple of weeks ago when he started biting during breastfeeding. Ouch! Sometimes it's really hard and he won't stop biting until I use my little finger to break the latch. Has anyone got any advice on how to minimise the biting or what I should do when it occurs? Thank you in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    aussiemidwife's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Can you work out why your son is biting? Some of the reason's babies bite include:

    • Teething
    • For attention
    • When distracted
    • At the end of breastfeeding

    I often find a baby will bit at the end of breastfeeding - when they've had enough. What your baby carefully and you may see some signs. He may stop sucking as vigorously and/or may start to fidget. Take him off the breast as soon as you see any signs that he's had enough to try to avoid the biting.

    When he does bite take him of the breast calmly off the breast straight away. You could say nothing or something like "don't you want to breastfeed now". It is better to avoid yelling or making a loud sound (though this can be hard if it really hurts).

    If you think biting during breastfeeding is because of teething offer him something cold to bite on and gently tell him this is for biting and be careful when you breastfeed.

    Often when we feed an older baby we get distracted like reading a book, talking to others and watching television. Focus your attention on your baby and look for the signs that he may be about to bite.

    Positively reinforce when your baby is attached to the breast and feeding comfortably. Babies, even from a young age, learn to breastfeeding correctly when offered gentle encouragement.
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  3. #3
    Thank you aussiemidwife for your help with this.

    I think it's because he is teething. But I have to admit I am sometimes distracted too whilst I'm feeding so I am going to re-focus on giving him my full attention whilst breastfeeding. He also seems to bite more during the end of a feed when he is drinking less milk so I will look out for this.

    Many thanks again.

  4. #4
    I have had experiences with biting too. I agree with the advice from aussiemidwife. When my little ones would bite whilst breastfeeding, I would break the latch with my finger (if the baby would not let go), and then I would firmly say no bite. I would try not to yell, as that can get the baby upset and make him or her not want to breastfeed. I know it is hard to not yell when it happens suddenly.

    I would also lay him down and not let him breastfeed again for a few minutes, if he bit me more than once. I would then give him something to chew on. Washcloths soaked with water and put in the freezer for a few minutes can work, as well as teething rings. We just received a teething necklace, and I really love that, as well. I would watch for cues that he may be done breatsfeeding too, as I found mine would often bite towards the end of a feeding, as well. I hope that helps a little.

  5. #5
    Yes you're right aussiemidwife, one reason a baby bites because he/she is teething. Just like my son, when he started biting I tried to tell him softly "no biting" and then pull him off the breast. It worked for me and the moment he's about to bite again, it seems that he already knows what's going to happen next and he just stops then looks at me then smiles. Soo cute.

  6. #6
    Thank you for your advice and personal experiences with this ladies.

    I can report that the biting is practically non-existent now: a great relief. My little lad has had two more teeth come through since I posted this question so I guess that goes a long way to explaining the biting.

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