One of the biggest concerns among nursing mothers as the baby starts teething is getting a bite during any given nursing session. A baby bite is one of the most painful experiences you will ever face. Part of the pain, though, is the incessant fear that the behavior will reoccur. As a result, it can be very difficult to enjoy the entire breastfeeding process because you are experiencing a constant sense of anxiety that the baby will repeat his painful behavior. There are a number of different reasons babies bite during a nursing session.
Many people will tell you that babies are biting because they wish to be weaned. This is simply not the case. Babies usually bite because they are in the midst of teething. Teething is a terribly painful process for the baby. As a result, anything that gets near their sore gums is seen as a way to relieve the sense of pressure they feel. Babies might also bite because they have a cold or an ear infection. It can be difficult for the baby to swallow in this condition, and a bite might occur as a result of it. The baby might be biting out of stress. When a baby feels he is in a situation he cannot control, he may act out as a fearful response. Part of acting out might include biting. One other reason the baby might bite is if the nursing mother is not paying attention to him while he is nursing. Nursing is supposed to be one-on-one time between a mother and a baby, but if interruptions occur, the baby may bite to get the mother’s attention.
No matter what reason your baby bites, the situation needs to be handled immediately. Remember that any action you take may not stop the behavior right away, but the baby will eventually get the message that biting is not appropriate during a nursing session. It is important to remember that if your baby is nursing properly, he cannot bite you. If you get a good latch, and he is nursing and swallowing, he simply cannot bite. Your nipple is in the back of your baby’s mouth while nursing. He would have to stop nursing and adjust his tongue to bite you. Watch for the moment that he might be trying to do this. You can usually feel the pressure of his jaw change. As soon after you notice this as possible, put your finger in his mouth and between his teeth, and pull your nipple safely out of biting range. This will also keep you from the nipple soreness you might experience if you pulled your baby directly off of a nursing breast. Another thing to remember is that the baby’s position is essential in nursing. If he has to strain to get to your breast, he might be more apt to bite or chew on your nipple. As a result, pulling your baby closer to you while you are nursing can avoid some instances of biting. If the baby moves to pull away in a biting fashion, be alert and stop the nursing session. If you believe the cause of the biting to be an illness like a cold, you might see if you can adjust your position to help your baby breathe better. A more upright position might accomplish this. You might also try to feed your baby while walking. This will usually help them breathe a bit better.
Dealing with a biting baby can be a bit difficult. However, it is not cause to stop nursing. Consider all of your options before taking drastic steps.