So breastfeeding has been going wonderfully. You and baby both seem to be getting the hang of it and have settled into a nice routine. Then somewhere around 4-7 months, your baby gets their first tooth and the whole game changes. I don’t know about you, but I have ZERO interest in my sweet little baby turning my nipples into a teething toy. So what do you do?
I have been so fortunate to be able to breastfeed all three of my kiddos well into the teething stage. In fact, I am still nursing my 1 1/2-year-old and he has a full mouth full of pearly whites. I have employed one proven technique that has worked quite successfully with each of them. This technique was so successful that baby one and baby two bit me exactly one time each and never repeated it. Unfortunately baby three has taken his fair share of nips at me, but I’ll tell you more about why and what I did in a bit.
The Stop Biting Technique
Fair warning, this technique can be a little heartbreaking, but as it usually works in one or two tries, it is not something that you should have to do often. When the alternative is that you keep getting bitten or you give up breastfeeding altogether, I would argue that it is worth the temporary sadness you may experience.
So it goes something like this, you are peacefully nursing your little one and all of a sudden it happens…baby takes a nip at your nipple.
What happens next must be immediate, swift, and deliberate.
- Unlatch them from your breast
- Look directly into their eyes
- Loudly and sternly enough to startle your baby, say “No! Do Not Bite!”
- Place your baby on the floor in a safe location and move out of their sight
More than likely your baby will cry. Once the baby has settled down, go back to them, give him or her lots of cuddles and allow them to re-latch and finish eating. The shock from that experience is typically enough for baby to understand that they do not want to bite you again. As I mentioned, this was extremely successful for two of my children and only took once with each of them. If for some reason, they try it again, then follow the exact same steps a second time. This is nearly always effective and should allow you to successfully continue your breastfeeding relationship.
When It Doesn’t Work
In my experience, there has been one scenario in which my dear sweet baby turns into a chomping monster and even the above technique isn’t successful. With my youngest, this happened multiple times when his nose was stuffy and he couldn’t breathe through his nose. Think about it, typically when baby is breastfeeding, they are breathing exclusively through their nose. Block their nose, and breastfeeding has got to feel like they are being suffocated. It’s a miserable time for both mommy and baby and chances are, they may take a bite when they are taking a moment to try to catch their breath. It isn’t intentional and will likely stop once they can breathe through their nose again.
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In the Meantime, Here are a Few Tips to get Through Those Times:
- Before feeding your baby, use Pure Saltwater Nasal Drops (saline). I like these because they are one-time use and are less likely to get contaminated from re-use. They are also really easy to take a few on the go in your diaper bag. Place 2-3 drops in each side of their nose and wait 30 – 60 seconds.
- After using the saline, suction baby’s nose before you start feeding. I know it seems awful and I swore I would never buy one, but after a night with a crying baby that couldn’t breathe, I finally gave in and bought this and now I can’t imagine life without one! Run! Do not walk, and buy one today!!
- Use a humidifier near their crib to add moisture to the air. Be sure to check and change the filter often to keep the air clean.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and have lots of success getting your sweet little one to stop biting as soon as it starts! Be sure to stay connected to all of the great ideas from The Crafty Organized Mom by signing up for updates. When you do, you’ll also grab a free copy of our Family Meeting Guide + Meeting Printable!