How do you stop your baby from biting you during a feed?
Biting at the beginning of the feed: If your baby is biting when beginning a feed it’s important you optimise his/her attachment. You may need to offer them a teething toy before the feed to bite/soothe their gums first, then try to attach them again.
Distracted baby: If your baby is distracted, wriggling or pushing away with their arms/legs, don’t offer the breast right away. Try to settle him/her first, remove obvious noise and distractions from your environment and try again.
Biting for attention: Try to focus on your baby while they are feeding. As they grow older, they will notice when you yourself are distracted, and they will sometimes bite to get your attention. If possible, try not to react strongly if your baby bites you during a feed. This just further encourages them to bite for your ‘reaction’. Instead, detach them from the breast, say ‘no biting’ firmly and then allow them to try again. If they continue to bite, detach them and the feed is over.
Biting at the end of the feed: Babies will often bite as the feed is drawing to a close. To avoid this, monitor them closely for signs of boredom, fatigue or irritability. If you see your baby is losing interest in the feed, detach them gently before they can pull their tongue back and bite down.
Written by Keryn Thompson, RM & IBCLC (L-301766)