Do you remember the joyous feeling of…
…noticing a white cap breaking through your baby’s swollen gums?
I sure do, one that will be added to the book of milestones.
But the moment of cuteness is bound to be over soon…
…as the baby learns that aside from the comfort of gnawing on his teether, he can do the same with your nipples.
Note however, that it is not possible for a baby to suck milk and bite at the same time. If he is using his front teeth to bite, it means he is not positioned for nursing (the breast far back in his mouth). Chances are, he is done nursing.
So the next time you feel guilty for stopping your baby from nursing the second you feel the sting of those pearly whites, don’t.
Scream all you want, but that will just do more harm than good…
It’s difficult not to let out a scream when the baby catches you by surprise, so who are we kidding here? I, for one, have always screamed in varying volumes every time the little boy bites hard.
That was until I read the consequences of yelling.
Some babies find it funny to see your reaction and mistake it to mean that you are stimulating his funny bone.
Expectedly, he will repeat the biting to get the same reaction from you.
But if the scream is loud enough to scare them, babies can go on nursing strike and completely reject your breast. So, what is there to do?
Here are some tips which you can try:
1. Slowly withdraw your breast then send the message across that it’s not okay to bite
You can withdraw your breast slowly by latching improperly. Then, proceed to insert a finger into your baby’s mouth as you pull down the lower jaw and then pull off your breast.
You can also quickly pinch the baby’s nose, or press him closer to your breast until he opens up his mouth to breathe – pulling off your breast will be easy.
Once the little one has stopped nursing, it is the perfect time to communicate firmly that he is not supposed to bite. Older babies can be told firmly with this message, but you will have to be creative in sending it across younger babies.
2. Alleviate teething pain if the reason for biting is the baby’s itchy gums
You can thwart a possible biting incident by getting down to the actual issue and giving the baby a solution other than your breast.
3. Minimize the distraction as he nurses
Babies bite because they want to play or get mommy’s attention. You can minimize the distraction as he nurses – turn off the television, dim the lights, put down your Blackberry or iPhone, and go to a quiet room where you can have some time alone with him.
4. Take cues on whether the baby is hungry or done nursing
If he is not yet hungry when latched, he may lose interest in nursing and do other things instead, like biting your breast.
So, observe if he is done nursing to pre-empt biting by pulling off the breast once done.
5. Maintain a steady milk supply
Some babies bite to get more milk from your breast. The bite of frustration and hunger can be more painful than a playful bite so you might want to look for ways to increase your milk supply to meet his demands.
Clogged milk ducts also cause milk supply to decrease. (See your lactation consultant or read on how to deal with clogged milk ducts.)
There are plenty of ways to prevent babies from biting. So the next time you feel the pang of those pearly little whites, do not be too hard on yourself – or your baby. Try these tips and see what works for you. ☺
Khaye, a mother to a 10-month old boy, is a newbie blogger. She is adjusting to the life changes, but is immensely enjoying the happiness that marriage and motherhood now brings. She litigates in court at daytime, blogs at night and drinks coffee in between. You can read her chronicles of raising a child while (trying to) win cases on the side at Legally Mama, which is July’s Blog of the Month.