At some point, your baby will probably try to bite your nipples while nursing. This is especially likely when your baby is teething. However, that isn’t necessarily a sign that you should start weaning your baby off of breast milk. Instead, use these eight effective ways to stop your baby from biting your nipples.
- If your baby is teething, he may simply be looking for something to chew on as opposed to being interested in nursing. If he starts to bite, offer him a teething ring instead of your nipple and tell him in simple words that the ring is for biting and he should be gentle when he is nursing. You can also try offering him a teething ring before you begin nursing. If your baby sucks on the ring then he is most likely hungry. If he bites, he is most likely trying to relieve teething pains.
- Your baby may also start biting at the end of a feeding session when he is getting simultaneously full and bored. If this happens, watch for signs that he is getting full such as less vigorous sucking or being easily distracted. This may help you prevent biting.
- Be sure that at the beginning of a nursing session your baby is latched onto your breast properly. Make sure he opens his mouth wide when beginning to attach. Be sure to praise him when he is attached correctly.
- Sometimes a baby will bite as a means to get your attention. When feeding, be sure to focus on your baby giving him lots of praise or singing to him.
- If your baby continues to bite, simply halt the nursing session for a few seconds or a few minutes at the first nibble. Simply say something in a pleasant voice such as “Be gentle when you nurse” as you remove him from your breast. It may take a few tries but your baby will eventually start to connect biting with the end of the nursing session.
- It is physically impossible for a baby to suck and bite at the same time. If your baby stops sucking, take him off your breast for a few minutes and talk or sing to him before trying again.
- Pay careful attention to your baby’s signals. Turn off the television, the radio and your cell phone and concentrate on your baby while nursing. You’ll soon learn the signs that indicate he is about to start biting whether from boredom, teething pain or getting full. Once you know the signs, you can remove him from your breast before he starts biting.
- As your baby gets older and heavier, his mouth and teeth may naturally drag down on your breast, causing not true biting but grazing of his teeth on your nipples. To alleviate this, try to position your baby so that his weight is better supported. You can also try tilting his head back slightly to ease the pressure of his top teeth on your breast. You can either do this gently with your hand or you can ask your baby to look up at you or something else in the room while he nurses.