When breastfeeding your baby, there’s nothing pleasant about being bitten. It’s not something all baby’s do, but it can happen, and it hurts! It’s normal for mothers to feel some apprehension towards breastfeeding when this is happening. There are a variety of reasons as to why your baby might be biting. As babies mature, they enter the teething stage. In between nursing sessions, your baby might latch onto your nipple and pull back. Most of the time, this biting will only occur for a few days or weeks.
Understanding why babies might bite is the first step towards preventing any painful experiences with the little one. From about six months onwards, your baby might start to bite during nursing sessions. There are a few steps you can take to ensure the biting remains temporary.
Teething is a painful experience for babies and mums alike. Biting on the nipple during a nursing session can help to relieve their pain. If your baby has been biting during nursing sessions, try offering them a teething toy to test the waters. If she bites down on the object, she probably needs to teethe, and feeding her during this time might not be the best idea. If she starts to suck on the toy, she is most likely looking to continue the feed.
Occasionally, a bite can come out of nowhere. While it’s hard not to scream or yell in pain, it’s important to avoid any loud reactions that might frighten your baby. Any form of punishment might make them upset and hesitant to feed when they become hungry again later. When biting does occur, gently place a clean finger between your nipple and your babies mouth, and calmly say “please don’t bite”. Wait about 10 seconds and then latch your baby on again. Repeat this process if it continues to happen. With some persistence, your baby will quickly learn that nipples aren’t for biting.
When your baby latches on and off without biting, use positive reinforcement to encourage similar behaviour in the future. It will have a significant impact in the long term, and let’s face it; babies love praise! Even the youngest babies will learn how to feed correctly with some proper reinforcement.
Changing it up
When you notice your baby’s teeth starting to come through, it’s a good idea to experiment with positioning to find what suits your baby and their brand new teeth. This might mean diverging your usual style and investing in a breastfeeding pillow if you haven’t already got one. The perfect position can vary for everybody, so take some time to ensure you and your baby are perfectly comfortable.
If you have any concerns about your child’s behaviour during breastfeeding or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.