Baby Bites While Breastfeeding! What Should I Do?

Baby has teeth now and started biting me while nursing (ouch!). She just laughs about it. How do I get her to stop?
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Updated January 30, 2017
Mom with tattoos holding her baby and breastfeeding it.
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Ouch is right! It’s normal for a baby to occasionally bite the breast, but it doesn’t mean that she needs to be weaned, says Carole Kramer Arsenault, a registered nurse and lactation consultant. The biting should be temporary, especially if baby has been nursing effectively up to this point. What you’ll want to do is identify the underlying cause.

Teething could be the culprit. If so, offer baby something cold to bite on before the feed to help soothe her irritated gums, says Arsenault. Other common factors that contribute to biting are: low milk supply, using artificial nipples, and nasal congestion in baby. Most biting occurs in a playful fashion at the end of a feeding. If this is what baby is doing, take her off of the breast as soon when she’s done with the feeding — you’ll notice her begins to slow down.

Even if baby laughs, you’re doing the right thing by stopping the feeding and firmly telling her “no” when she bites. Wait at least 30 minutes to start back up or end the nursing session completely, so baby gets the message that biting doesn’t get rewarded with food.

“With older baby, you can have the conversation,” says Gina Ciagne, lactation consultant for Lansinoh. “Put baby in the crib or on the floor and say, ‘No nursing until you stop biting.’ If she does it again, put her on the floor again. Anything with kids is learned through repetition.”

Biting is common, but luckily it’s usually just one of many quick phases that your baby will go through.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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