When Baby Bites

Posted by Nancy Skuce on

Over the last little while, biting has been a hot topic at HEA. Quite a few first-time-moms are experiencing teeth for the first time. So what do you do when your baby bites you while he/she is breastfeeding?

There are a lot of great resources out there on this subject and this blog post will lead you to them.

Breastfeeding.support reminds us that: "When a baby is breastfeeding correctly his tongue will cover his lower gum ridge or teeth (if he has teeth yet) and he will not be able to “bite” the breast without biting the underside of his own tongue. Not only this, his mother’s nipple will be deep in his mouth, safe from being bitten."

A baby that is bitting, is not properly latched. So what do you do when your baby bites you?

Kelly Mom advises that Stopping the nursing session is generally the most effective way to teach baby that nursing and biting do not go together.

There are 5 reasons a baby will bite while breastfeeding:

  1. Bitting at the end of the nursing session
  2. When baby is teething
  3. Bitting at the beginning of a nursing session
  4. When baby is distracted
  5. Biting for attention

When Baby Bites (Kelly Mom), offers information to help prevent biting for the above mentioned 5 reasons a baby bites. 

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, Dr Jack Newman states that a baby could start biting if there is a drop in milk supply. "The baby is biting. Babies do not bite because they have teeth. They bite as a result of slow milk flow."

Here is the link for the facebook post where he directly discusses drops in milk supply.

"6. Biting, teething. Babies don’t bite just to try out their teeth. They bite because the flow of milk is slow. Teething does not explain this either."

 

When baby starts biting, does that mean it's time to wean?

According to La Leche League International, weaning is rarely the answer when a baby bites. It is important to identify the cause and work to correct it.

To resolve bitting, the La Leche League International recommends the P.A.C.E.D. approach.

  • Positioning
  • Act Fast
  • Comfort
  • Expression/Compression
  • Distract

Follow the link for more details on P.A.C.E.D.

La Leche League Canada offers a few suggestions when baby bites. We've shared one below.

"Another tactic is to pull baby in closer to the breast when she bites. This sounds counter-intuitive to your initial reaction which maybe “get this barracuda off me!” Pulling baby in close makes it harder for her to breath and will get her to open her mouth. To be clear this is a quick pull into the breast and only a second or two of her nose being buried in your breast. This tactic works best with babies under six months. They start to associate biting with being unable to breathe and will quickly stop clamping down."

 

 We hope this quick blog post will give you the resources you need to either prepare for the future or to fix your current situation! It is painful and shocking the first time baby bites, but there are ways to recognize when a bite is coming, and ways to change the behaviour!

Please share your experience in the comments.

 


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