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Baby Bites While Breastfeeding! What Should I Do?

Baby has teeth now and started biting me while nursing (ouch!). She just laughs about it. How do I get her to stop?


Baby has teeth now and started biting me while nursing (ouch!). She just laughs about it. How do I get her to stop?

The Bump Expert

Ouch is right! It's normal for a baby to occasionally bite the breast, but it doesn’t mean that she needs to be weaned, says Carole Kramer Arsenault, a registered nurse and lactation consultant. The biting should be temporary, especially if baby has been nursing effectively up to this point. What you’ll want to do is identify the underlying cause.

Teething could be the culprit. If so, offer baby something cold to bite on before the feed to help soothe her irritated gums, says Arsenault. Other common factors that contribute to biting are: low milk supply, using artificial nipples, and nasal congestion in baby. Most biting occurs in a playful fashion at the end of a feeding. If this is what baby is doing, take her off of the breast as soon when she's done with the feeding -- you'll notice her begins to slow down.

Even if baby laughs, you’re doing the right thing by stopping the feeding and firmly telling her “no” when she bites. Wait at least 30 minutes to start back up or end the nursing session completely, so baby gets the message that biting doesn't get rewarded with food.

"With older baby, you can have the conversation," says Gina Ciagne, lactation consultant for Lansinoh. "Put baby in the crib or on the floor and say, 'No nursing until you stop biting.' If she does it again, put her on the floor again. Anything with kids is learned through repetition."

Biting is common, but luckily it’s usually just one of many quick phases that your baby will go through.

The Bump Editors

re: Q: Baby bites while breastfeeding?

Umm... a pump?

anbradley |

Q&A: Baby bites while breastfeeding?

pull her into the breast when she bites so she has to let go to breathe. it sounds kind of mean at first but it is very effective and recommended by lactation consultants. this worked for me with my first. don't give up nursing. its just a nasty phase that shouldn't last long if you don't reinforce it.

jessicaberry |

Q&A: Baby bites while breastfeeding?

when my daughter started biting during feedings, i was told to pull her in closer. it sounds wierd but it makes them open wider so they stop. idk about denying them a feeding because of teething...sounds kinda like that cry-it-out thing.

me122188 |

Q&A: Baby bites while breastfeeding?

my son would bite on occasion but not very hard. He would laugh when i jumped so i ignored the behavior. He never got the chance to really bite down hard or hold a bite so not showing any reaction was the best thing for me to stop that behavior, it works for others as well.

ymwalton |

Q&A: Baby bites while breastfeeding?

My DS bit me a couple of times. I did the same thing, pulled him off and told him no biting. The phase did not last long. However, check to make sure she hasn't broken the skin...I got a infection from one of his bites and needed and antibiotic to treat it. My pediatrician said any time they break the skin you need to be treated since there are so many bacteria in mouths.

mollybphoto |