Baby Biting Nipple Breastfeeding

How to Stop Baby Biting Nipple When Breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding is the most natural, and arguably the best, way to feed your little one, but it does come with certain challenges.

As babies get older and start teething, you can expect your tiny bundle of joy to bite your nipple when breastfeeding. While normal, it’s quite a painful situation.

With that in mind, this guide is meant to reveal why babies bite while nursing, and how you can stop your baby from biting your nipple when breastfeeding.

7 Tips on How to Stop Baby Biting While Breastfeeding

There are several reasons babies tend to bite down while breastfeeding, and it’s very important to understand why they’re biting because each reason has its own solution. 

However, whichever reason might be behind the biting, you, as a mother, need to stay calm and collected so you can deal with the situation in the most effective way. 

That said, here are seven tips on why your baby is biting while breastfeeding. 

Consider Your Baby’s Teething

One of the reasons why your baby might be biting you while breastfeeding is teething

Sadly, teething causes their gums to swell and feel sore, and to counter that, babies tend to bite to try and relieve that pain. Not always, though.

To deal with this situation, you need to unlatch them from your breast slowly in order not to hurt yourself. 

Secondly, give your baby a teething toy to bite on, or even a cold popsicle to lessen their gums’ swelling and numb them a bit.

Your Baby Might Be Bored

a good latch

When you’re nearing the end of your nursing session, you might find that your baby is starting to bite. That’s because they’re either not hungry anymore, or they’re pretty much bored.

You can preemptively figure out when that tends to happen as you look at your baby and have a general feel of when that might happen. 

For example, he/she will lower his/her tongue from its regular position, which is above the lower gums and teeth. This is generally a sign that they’re not hungry anymore.

Another example is when the tension in his/her jaw muscles will change right before biting you, which you’ll be able to see.

The best way to resolve this is by nursing your baby in a quiet room that isn’t full of distractions, as well as maintaining eye contact with your little one. 

Not only will this help you avoid potential bites, but it will also create a better bond between you and your little one. 

Go to a Lactation Consultant

One of the reasons your baby might be biting you is because they’re trying to get more milk, as they feel like they’re not getting enough of it. This could be because of a poor latch.

In this situation, it’s best to go to a lactation consultant to know the reason behind the weak flow, if there is, in fact, a problem.

Provide Positive Reinforcement and Subtle Hints

If you ever feel pain as a result of your baby’s biting, remember to stay calm, and when you unlatch the baby from your breast, provide a subtle but firm hint that it hurts, like “don’t bite mummy”.

Repeating this phrase or something similar every time both of you are in the same situation will teach him/her that it’s not ok to bite your nipple, and your baby will get the idea eventually.

You can also provide your baby with positive reinforcement when they finish a nursing session without biting you. You can say phrases like “good job” in a gentle and joyful way. 

Stop and Repeat

If there’s continued biting near the end or in the middle of the nursing session, you can stop the session to communicate to your child that if they’re going to bite, they won’t get nursed.

At this point, the baby will get upset, which is normal, and you’ll be able to resume the session in a few minutes.

Repeating this method every time your little one bites will help communicate that he/she is doing something wrong. 

Use a Breast Shield

A tool that you might use for a short period is a breast shield. Made out of soft plastic or silicone, it’s placed over the nipple and areola, with the top having perforations to allow the milk to flow through it.

These shields have different shapes and sizes. A healthcare provider would be the best person to tell which one to use.

They’re made for several reasons, including helping the baby latch on to the nipple as well as protecting the nipple if it’s sore or in pain. It can also be used to protect it from baby bites.

mother in pain

A Finger at the Ready

Near the end of the breastfeeding session, monitor your baby’s behavior, and if/when they start biting, don’t unlatch your baby straight away because that might hurt your nipple.

Rather, insert a clean finger into your baby’s mouth and gently lower his/her jaw to ease his/her latch to your nipple and remove it from his/her mouth.

What to Do After a Baby Has Bit You?

If your baby bit your nipple, you can rinse it with saline solutions, which are considered to be a natural method of healing the skin. An alternative would be putting cold packs on your nipple to numb the pain and reduce swelling. There are also the various nipple creams.

There are also medications (painkillers) available that are safe to take when nursing. Moreover, there are nipple creams that will help lessen the pain and help it heal.

In the meantime, you can let your baby nurse from your other breast for a couple of days while the other heals.

Final Words

The most important thing to remember when breastfeeding a baby is to stay calm even if the baby bites you. If you shout, it might lead the baby to get upset from nursing in the future and refuse to feed.

Always keep an eye on your baby during nursing sessions and be at the ready. Subtle changes can be taken as warning signs that you need to stop the session before a potential bite. 

Your baby is still learning and isn’t really aware of what he/she is doing, so make sure you’re as gentle as possible and provide him/her with the comfort they need.