How do you stop a 6 month old from biting while nursing?

Kristina - posted on 06/18/2011 ( 35 moms have responded )

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My 6 month old has started to bite and pull while nursing. How do I stop this and fast? Thanks! Very painful!

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[deleted account]

Oh wow. It's actually very common advice to gently pinch baby's nose or pull them into the breast so that they let go. It's used when baby is biting and won't let go. It's not dangerous and it doesn't hurt them. They immediately let go. You don't plug their nose until they turn blue. It's not scary or harmful excpet to you because your nipple is being bitten! lol



My daughter went through a pretty severe biting phase at about 11 months. She left a nice tooth shaped hole in one nipple. Any time she bit I would gently break the latch and set her down. I didn't have to say anything to her. If I did react in any way she would think it was funny. After a minute if she still seemed interested in nursing we would try again. I also learned to watch her closely. Any time her sucking slowed or stopped I removed her from the breast. If I let her play there she would bite simply because she was done and bored. If you think baby is biting due to teething try offering a cold teether or frozen washcloth before nursing. Here are some great tips that really helped us:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/bi...



Also, from the above website (which is a credible breastfeeding website):

"If your baby bites down and doesn't let go (most let go immediately without mom doing anything), there are a couple of things you can do: First, quickly place your finger between baby's gums so you can pull away without (more) injury. If that doesn't work, pull baby TOWARD you, very close to your breast. This will make it a little hard to breathe, so baby will automatically let go to open her mouth more and uncover her nose to breathe. A variation of this that some moms use is to gently pinch baby's nose closed for just a second to get her to open her mouth and release the nipple." Does that explain it better?

Kate CP - posted on 06/18/2011

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WHAT?! You're actually suggesting she suffocate her infant?! ARE YOU INSANE?!

Kellie - posted on 06/20/2011

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Actually when I first read Elfreida's advice my first thought was the same as Kate's and my jaw actually dropped. IMO it IS dangerous to suggest something like that and not explain it properly, especially when there are such a range of people on here. First time Mum's, First time young Mum's etc etc. I'm not Kate and can't talk for her but my personal WTF are you crazy?! thought wasn't an attack or a judgment just a pure reaction to someone suggesting, what to some, reads as advice to suffocate your baby, even if only briefly.

To the OP, I would suggest detaching him and putting him down for 30 seconds or whatever then attaching him again. By doing this every time he bites you he'll soon understand biting Mummy = no food. Babies aren't stupid and they catch on real quick.

Jenni - posted on 06/19/2011

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@Elfrieda, I can understand that it might work but you have to becareful giving that sort of advice on here. Some people may not be so cautious with it as you were. I personally wouldn't want to risk it.
I've nursed two babies and all I had to do was pull the breast away when they bit. The sudden stop of milk flow is usually a good enough deterent for a baby.
I'd also recommend, since 6 months is a prime age for teething that you let him knaw on a cold cloth from the freezer before nursing.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/19/2011

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That's fine, you don't have to do it. I got that advice and used it three times and it worked. And I certainly didn't deprive him of oxygen for 30 seconds. It was more like 2 seconds.

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Kristina - posted on 07/04/2011

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Thank you everyone for the advise. i will keep trying and find something that works. She hasnt done it much anymore but i think her teeth are swelling then it goes back down.

Dionne - posted on 06/22/2011

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have you tried takin him off and going to the bottle. Like getting the breast pump and get the avent bottles. I know one of my bestfriends has that problem and that is wat she tried. And it worked for her. Maybe try that will help.

Becky - posted on 06/22/2011

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If you just remove your breast and tell him no, its suppose to teach him not to do it and he will get the hint-

Sara - posted on 06/21/2011

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I automatically shouted ouch and ended the nursing session...worked for mine.

Kimberly - posted on 06/20/2011

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Say no and stop the session immediately. If it continued for too long, I would pump and bottle feed. After a bottle or two and loss of the closeness, I'll bet the biting would stop.

Frances - posted on 06/20/2011

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when my baby bit me for the first time i just went arhh man that hurt and took her off, looked her in the eyes and said no more until you learn not to bite and sat her up on my lap
then around 1 min later i said to her would you like some more and put her on, well well she didnt bite i think babies do understant what you are saying, so using words in my opinion does help, if baby happens to laugh you say that is not funny in a firm tone, but hey everyone has there ways

Julie Marie - posted on 06/20/2011

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Keep in mind that every baby is different and what work for one doesn't necessay work for another one. All advise are good to take and we do what we think best for our own baby.

Jenn - posted on 06/20/2011

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I would push on my daughters chin gently to make her mouth open, then tell her "no bite" and we would try again. She figured out pretty quickly that her action caused a reaction and she nursed for another 13 months no problem!

[deleted account]

Good Lord...did you read any previous posts? Like this part?
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/bi...

Also, from the above website (which is a credible breastfeeding website):
"If your baby bites down and doesn't let go (most let go immediately without mom doing anything), there are a couple of things you can do: First, quickly place your finger between baby's gums so you can pull away without (more) injury. If that doesn't work, pull baby TOWARD you, very close to your breast. This will make it a little hard to breathe, so baby will automatically let go to open her mouth more and uncover her nose to breathe. A variation of this that some moms use is to gently pinch baby's nose closed for just a second to get her to open her mouth and release the nipple."

Dana - posted on 06/20/2011

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To be fair, Elizabeth, no one is talking about suffocating their child. I don't agree with what is suggested but, it's still not suffocation.

[deleted account]

Wow. Either breath or eat? What ab SIDS..and some babies stop breathing for a short time. My daughter did this around two months. I was constantly standing over her at night. I think that suffocating is abuse. Sorry but if something happened....

[deleted account]

Gotcha. That didn't work for my daughter. She was clamped. After she did let go I also set her down for a minute before trying again.

Dana - posted on 06/20/2011

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I stuck my finger into the corner of my sons mouth and pried him off. lol

And I truly think that, with the fact of setting him down immediately and walking away, in conjunction with, knowing when he's bored and done eating, helped him to not continue his behavior.

[deleted account]

I understand, Dana. I just didn't want people thinking we were suffocating our babies. It was a very gentle pinch of the nose and she immediately opened her mouth. The only time I used that approach was when she would not let go. Do you have other options for when baby doesn't let go? I'm honestly curious. I'm always open to learning new things :).

Julie Marie - posted on 06/20/2011

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Well then Dana.......disregard that advice for yourself. You are not wrong in saying that mom's breast is for food and it's safe. We do what we have to do to get a result... bottom line is if it worked for someone else and I am willing to try, I will. Thanks Victoria ! It is just my point of view and I agree with you. I like to know what worked for other as well, so when I am crossing the bridge, I will have option to explore.

Dana - posted on 06/20/2011

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Actually Sara, I knew all that and I still stand by my earlier post of :"You - posted 1 day ago

You're still stopping them from breathing, that's why they let go. I just wouldn't want to frighten my baby like that. Mom's breast is for food and it's a safe place to be. I'm never out to scare my child."

That's just the way I feel about it and how I wouldn't want handle it.

Victoria - posted on 06/20/2011

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I can't help but to notice that it is the same people on different threads overeacting to the advice of others, and not only judging, but scolding and lecturing other mothers for how they handle challenging situations. Julie said it best - it is just advice, and I like to hear what worked for other people. I thought that Elfrieda's advice was really good, and will keep that in mind in case my little one ever bites.

Julie Marie - posted on 06/20/2011

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I think all the advice were good. Some people overeacting. ADVICE is take it and leave it. If it works for you, go for it. If not, pass on it! No need to bring bad comments. We are all trying to help each other. Different people try different things and sometime we tried more than average and need the solution that will work for us. Something that we haven't thought of or tried yet. Don't wait for the teeth to take action. Thanks everyone with positive solutions!

Katrina - posted on 06/19/2011

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Well my mum wouldn't be able to help you...when her first (my eldest sister) bit for the first time, she was going to tell her off but ended up just looking at her with a glare...that was the last time Anita bit however, it was also the last time she would ever BF off mum either :S You can imagine how mum felt....despite her best efforts

Kate CP - posted on 06/19/2011

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Sara: Yes, that was INCREDIBLY helpful and made a lot of sense. My son has been biting me while nursing recently but he just chomps down and then lets go. I have yet to experience a baby clamp onto my nipple and not let go. :/

Delia - posted on 06/19/2011

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25 years ago, I was taught to flick the baby on the cheek, say "no!", detach and pull her off. 3 1/2 years ago, I read in "The Baby Book" by Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and father of 8, to gently pull the baby's face into the breast. Given the choice of biting or breathing, the baby will immediately let go. I tried the new approach with my baby boy and found it to be a much kinder, gentler way to deal with the same issue, and it worked. William just weaned at the age of 4years this past April, so I would say it didn't scar or frighten him!

Dana - posted on 06/19/2011

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You're still stopping them from breathing, that's why they let go. I just wouldn't want to frighten my baby like that. Mom's breast is for food and it's a safe place to be. I'm never out to scare my child.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/19/2011

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I guess I can't imagine somebody suffocating her baby, so I don't think to be careful about that sort of advice.

Jenni - posted on 06/19/2011

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@Elfrieda- you don't deprive them of milk, it's only for about 15-30 seconds. That is plenty of time to get the point across for an infant. Better to deprive them of milk for 15-30 seconds than oxygen. That IS scary.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/19/2011

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Also, Kate, I didn't report you this time. Pretty sure "ARE YOU INSANE?!" violates the rules here.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/19/2011

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Don't get hysterical. Of course not. Press the baby in for a moment, he opens his mouth, and you remove him, then latch him back on. Better than ripping him off the boob with his teeth still clamped onto your nipple. Also better than screaming at him, in my opinion. The baby is going to feel unhappy either way. I'd rather he thought it was a strange effect that comes from biting, "It feels nice on my gums when I bite, but then I can't breathe" than that "I'm just nursing and then suddenly Mommy is shouting at me."



Or if you enjoy teeth clamping on your nipple, go for it. I didn't care for it, personally.



And putting away the boob might work if you have lots of milk and don't mind letting your child cry for a while, but when you have an overly skinny baby and are trying to build up supply, you can't just deprive the baby of nourishment to teach a lesson.

Dana - posted on 06/18/2011

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Okay, stopping the child from breathing is a bit scary....



Anyhow, "they say" and I followed the advice of, detaching the child, setting them down and walking away. They will learn that the cause and effect of biting is no more food and detachment from mama.



They suggest not saying "Ouch!" because your child may think it's funny or a game. Which is true because the first time my son did bite me, I automatically did shout, "Ouch", to which he laughed, thinking it was funny.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/18/2011

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Watch him, and when he starts to bite, squish his face into your breast so that he can't breathe, and he'll let go. Do it each time he bites for a day or two, and he's trained. It sounds mean, but seriously, it's better than you getting chomped on all the time and maybe weaning early.

Kate CP - posted on 06/18/2011

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Say "OUCH!" and immediately put away the boob. He'll get the hint that biting=no more food.

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