Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

My baby is biting my nipples while breastfeeding. Why is he doing this and how do I get him to stop?

Breastfeeding
AMY SAYS:

Many new breastfeeding moms are fearful of their infants getting teeth. While many babies do not bite down when nursing — of my seven children that I breastfed into toddlerhood, only my fourth baby bit down on several occasions when breastfeeding — there are several things you can try to deter those babies that do:

Typically biting starts when your infant is showing signs of teething. Many times babies bite down at the end of the breastfeeding session. Pay close attention to your baby while he is nursing. When he seems to be wrapping up the feed or falling asleep, gently break his suction and slide him off the breast.

If your baby is already clenching down on the nipple, DO NOT pull him off the breast because it may cause more damage. Instead bring his head closer to the breast causing his nostrils to be blocked with the breast tissue. This will force him to open his mouth to breathe, and he will let go of the nipple.

Another thing to try is to sternly say, “Don’t bite” when he is clenching down on the nipple. Usually it will startle him enough that he will let go of the nipple. Then wait a few seconds before putting him back on the breast. I know it sounds silly but after my baby bit me, I would sit him on my lap and say, “You don’t hurt mommy” so he would start to understand that the breastfeeding session would be interrupted if he continued to bite.

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