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There is probably nothing more surprising, disorienting, and downright painful than when your baby bites you while breastfeeding. Nipple biting while breastfeeding can seem to come out of nowhere and can be kind of shocking. The truth is, every breastfeeding mom has been bitten at one time or another — and boy can it hurt.
Babies biting when you breastfeed is painful. So here we explain why it happens and give you some tried and tested tips to stop your baby from biting you. Some babies never bite, some do it once or twice and others are more persistent Taylor, Occasionally, a baby has one or more teeth at birth but usually teeth start to erupt between six and nine months of age Lyttle et al, So your baby will probably get their first tooth sometime during their first year NHS, The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months and continued breastfeeding alongside complementary foods up to two years or older World Health Organization, Sometimes, women breastfeeding an older baby or a toddler do say they experience biting.
And, of course, it hurts. A newborn baby might clamp down or, if they have teeth, bite in response to a change in position or to stem milk flow Lyttle et al, Babies and toddlers who are teething might bite down in the same way as they do on mouth toys and other objects.
Our articles Feeding and teething: how to help them with the pain and Teething tips: five things to try discuss teething in more detail. Some babies bite when they are frustrated by too little milk Mohrbacher, Offering more frequent feeds will help maintain milk supply and might mean your baby is less hungry when coming to the breast.
This might get worse when the teeth first cut through — babies may change their latch a bit when they get new teeth because things feel different Bonyata, a.
This problem often resolves itself when the baby learns how to hold their tongue in a way that accommodates their new teeth Gaskin, If biting tends to happen at the beginning of a feed, positioning your baby so their weight is well supported and their head is tilted back might help Bonyata, a. As mentioned earlier, some babies who bite at the beginning of a feed do this to stem the milk flow. So ensuring that their latch is as effective as possible will help them cope better Morhbacher, ; Boynata, b. For more information on latching, see How to help your baby attach and breastfeed.
4 reasons babies bite while breastfeeding
A lot of mums find it particularly helpful to watch their baby at the start of the feed. This could also be useful if your baby is biting to attract your attention Bonyata, a.
It can be reassuring to know that it is almost always temporary. Some mums find it easier to feed at night or when their baby is sleepy. Skin to skin, having a bath with the baby, patience and calm will often do the trick. You can also access Breastfeeding support from NCT to help you get back on track.
As time goes by, your baby is likely to forget the association between breastfeeding and the scare. Expressing breastmilk can be useful to protect the milk supply if the nursing strike goes on. Experimenting with different ways of positioning a growing baby might help. We talk about this in Breastfeeding: which positions are best for you.
What to know about biting during breastfeeding — and how to cope
You will probably find you need to express your milk on the unused side for your comfort. This will also help to maintain supply while you wait for that nipple to heal Bonyata, b. We are open from 8am to midnight every day. Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby. We support all parents, however they feed their baby. If you have questions, concerns or need support, you can speak to a breastfeeding counsellor by calling our support line onwhether you are exclusively breastfeeding or using formula milk.
Breastfeeding counsellors have had extensive training, will listen without judging or criticising and will offer relevant information and suggestions. You might find attending one of NCT's Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Bonyata K. What can I do? The Pharmaceutical Journal. Mohrbacher N. New Harbinger, Oakland, CA. Taylor E. My baby bit me! La Leche League GB. World Health Organization. When it comes to content, our aim is simple: every parent should have access to information they can trust. All of our articles have been thoroughly researched and are based on the latest evidence from reputable and robust sources. We create our articles with NCT antenatal teachers, postnatal leaders and breastfeeding counsellors, as well as academics and representatives from relevant organisations and charities.
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Breastfeeding: why babies may bite and how to stop it. Read time 8 minutes. Post Tweet Post.
Getting help for breast refusal and baby biting breast
Why do some babies bite when breastfeeding? If your baby does bite, take them off the breast and offer something else to bite on instead Mohrbacher, Some mums find that calmly taking the baby off the breast when they bite until they learn not to do it helps Healthtalk. When your baby bites, it sometimes helps to try pulling your baby closer so that as your breast covers their nose, they open their mouth Taylor, Your baby might not actually be biting but nipping because of where their teeth are in relation to your areola.
Feeding in a more reclined position can encourage your baby to latch more deeply. Shouting can be a natural reaction to pain when a baby bites. Can I predict when my baby will bite during breastfeeding?
Common experiences with biting during breastfeeding "My baby bit me a few days ago, and I called out in pain, frightening him. Where to go for feeding support? This was last reviewed in January Further information We support all parents, however they feed their baby. National Breastfeeding Line government funded : Show references. Gaskin IM. Information you can trust from NCT When it comes to content, our aim is simple: every parent should have access to information they can trust. Share this.
Help me, heidi! my baby bites me during breastfeeding
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