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Old 11-29-2006, 09:23 PM   #1
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WAY OT: bit while breast feeding
my dd is almost 9 months old and has one tooth, and has begun biting me while i nurse her-OUCH! Anyway, what did any of you previous/currently nursing moms do during this painful period. My mom suggests to put her on the bottle, she nursed my db until he was 8 months and put him on whole milk and he has no allergies. oppinions, suggestions...please!
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:38 PM   #2
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I remember yelping and putting them down immediately. They got the message.
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:54 PM   #3
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I remember being told not to jerk away -- yeah, right! I think I said something like "Ouch, that hurts!" And I waited for a minute or two before offering the breast again. I didn't get bit much more after that.

Here's what LaLeche League has to say about biting:

A bite from your baby can be truly painful, and worse, it keeps you tense in the fear that it will happen again. It's hard to relax and enjoy breastfeeding when your baby has bitten you. Babies who bite are seldom asking to be weaned. There are many reasons for a baby's biting, but the most common one is teething. Sometimes babies bite before their first teeth come in, but usually it's after the front teeth are in and the others are working their way down those hot, sore gums. Other reasons could be a cold or an ear infection (it's hard for your baby to swallow while breastfeeding if his nose is blocked), stress, or even a way of getting mother's undivided attention.

Here are some ideas to help reduce and eliminate biting. Remember: this may take persistence on your part. Your baby may not stop biting immediately but "this too shall pass."

When your baby is latched on correctly and nursing actively, getting milk from your breast and swallowing, it's physically impossible to bite. This is because your baby needs to stop sucking in order to bite. When latched on properly and nursing, your nipple is far back in your baby's mouth. In order to bite your baby has to adjust his tongue and allow your nipple to slide forward towards his teeth. So, as a first "hint" of when your baby is about to bite, try and watch for a moment--usually after the initial hunger has been satisfied--when your nipple slips forward in your baby's mouth. Often the tension in your baby's jaw will change just before this happens.
As soon as you notice this change, slip your finger into the corner of your baby's mouth, between his teeth, and let the nipple come out all the while keeping your finger in your baby's mouth to protect your nipple. Pulling your baby straight off is a very natural and almost automatic response, but it may cause soreness on your nipple.
Baby's position is important, and that means helping your baby stay in a close breastfeeding position, so that he doesn't or can't pull off very easily. If your baby has to strain to latch on, then he will come off and chew the nipple easily. Therefore, another response to biting that some mothers have found useful is to pull baby in closer to the breast, at least momentarily. If your baby begins to position himself away from your nipple, be alert for a possible bite.
When the cause of the problem is a cold, a more upright position can help your baby to breathe easier. Check with your baby's health care provider for suggestions to relieve stuffiness. Your baby may breastfeed better if you offer the breast while walking.
Sometimes older babies with teeth leave a "ring" of teethmarks after breastfeeding. Generally this is not painful and is caused by the teeth resting on the breast during breastfeeding. However, your baby may be clenching or sliding to the end of the nipple. If this is uncomfortable, use some of the same techniques listed in this FAQ to encourage your baby to gently latch on and breastfeed.

Maybe your baby is too young to understand exactly what you say, but your tone and attitude do convey meaning. It's worth trying to tell your baby, even repeatedly, that biting hurts and that he cannot bite you. Some alternatives mothers have used include:

Offer a teething ring and say, "Mommy is not for biting. You can bite this."
Use positive reinforcement. Praise your baby when he breastfeeds without biting. A hug or an extra cuddle will convey an important message.
Allow your baby to choose when to breastfeed. If baby is distracted and pulling off frequently, either try breastfeeding in a darkened room or begin a new activity with baby.
As you help your baby to learn good breastfeeding manners, attend a La Leche League Group meeting in your area for additional information and support. To find a Leader of a local Group, check out the section of our Web site about Finding a Local LLL Group.

Resources for Additional Information
This very informative article from the LLLI magazine for parents, NEW BEGINNINGS, details reasons why a baby might bite as well as strategies to avoid biting.

Several mothers share their solutions to biting and latching difficulties in this "Toddler Tips" column from NEW BEGINNINGS.

HOW WEANING HAPPENS by Diane Bengson is published by La Leche League International and can be ordered from the LLLI Online Store or through your local Leader.

MOTHERING YOUR NURSING TODDLER by Norma Jane Bumgarner is published by La Leche League International and can be ordered from the LLLI Online Store or through your local Leader.

ADVENTURES IN GENTLE DISCIPLINE by Hilary Flower is published by La Leche League International and can be ordered from the LLLI Online Store or through your local Leader.

THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, published by La Leche League International, is the most complete resource available for the breastfeeding mother and can be ordered from the LLLI Online Store or through your local Leader.

You can find more articles at

Hope this helps!

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Old 11-29-2006, 10:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by zkimom
[b]I remember being told not to jerk away -- yeah, right! I think I said something like "Ouch, that hurts!" And I waited for a minute or two before offering the breast again. I didn't get bit much more after that.
This is pretty much what I did, too. It takes a few times, but babies don't like being startled. Since your baby is 9 mos the learning should be a little quicker than a younger child, but there will still be a learning period. DD2 started teething at 3 mos and got her first tooth at 4 mos. Yeooowwww!!!

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Old 11-29-2006, 10:20 PM   #5
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When ds did that, I would yelp (involuntarily, I might add lol) and then immediately un-latch him and say sternly, but not too loudly, "No!" Then I'd put him back on the breast. He had 8 teeth by about 5 mos and he only bit me 3 or 4 times. HTH!!
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:18 PM   #6
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i always did basically the same thing, i would say firmly, "no" then lay them down for a minute or two, then pick tham back up and start nursing again. i only had to do this two or three times, then they quit biting. hope this helps you.

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Old 11-29-2006, 11:42 PM   #7
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DD did that once - I yelped so loudly and scared the jebus out of both of us. lol. She bit me two or three more times after that, but I was able to stop her before she got me like that first time.

I agree with the others - say 'no' firmly and put the baby down. Let her make the connection that biting = taking away food and momma. She'll get it quickly.
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:44 AM   #8
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Yikes! That's the worst! My daughter was teething when she was about 3 months (although she didn't get her first tooth until after she was a year old), and she would bite me with her hard gums, so it wasn't as bad as getting bitten with teeth, that's for sure! But it did hurt. I removed her and held her eye to eye while I firmly said, "No!". She did it for a few times after that, but she was so young, I'm not sure if she put two and two together right away. Your little one is a bit older so hopefully she'll get the message sooner. If you're both ready for weaning, it probably wouldn't be a bad time to try; I nursed until my daughter was 11 months old, and she weaned herself. If she's not ready yet, you may want to just give it a bit more time if you can to see if she stops--I'm sure she will, though. And we started my daughter on whole milk right when she weaned at 11 months with no problems, if that helps, but every baby is different though. Good luck!
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:53 AM   #9
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My best friend was telling me about the first time her son aligator rolled on her while they were in bed. Clamped down and rolled away....heh. not sure how she solved the problem but i would suspect it was the same way y'all have. Seems like her style!
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Old 11-30-2006, 05:25 AM   #10
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Bite back
My mother told me that I bit her once. She says she bit me back and I never did it again.

I don't mean too hard of course.

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