Re: My daughter has had two teeth since she was four months old and would bite on occasion while breastfeeding. But lately the biting has gotten much worse. I firmly tell her no and remove her from my breast, but she just laughs at my reaction. Help!
Ouch! Although a teething baby does occasionally bite the breast, it doesn’t mean that she needs to be weaned right away. 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.
Common factors that contribute to biting other than teething are: low milk supply, using artificial nipples, and nasal congestion in baby. As long as baby is nursing properly, it’s impossible for her to bite the breast. Most biting occurs in a playful fashion at the end of a feeding. If your baby is inclined to bite, continue to take her off of the breast as soon as the feeding is finished and she begins to slow down.
If you’re absolutely sure that teething is the culprit, offer her something cold to bite on before the feed to help soothe her irritated gums. (Maintaining a sufficient milk supply and avoiding artificial nipples for a while will also help to prevent biting.)
If a bite occurs, you’re doing the right thing by removing baby from the breast immediately and firmly telling her “no” -- even if you’re being laughed at. Don’t return her to the breast immediately. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes or, if possible, end the nursing session. Offering food to baby immediately after biting is actually rewarding her for this behavior.
Biting is common, but luckily it’s usually just one of many quick phases that your baby will go through.