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Need some advice/support for a biter!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi Mamas,


I need a little advice and a lot of support in dealing with my almost-11 month old son. He's going through a biting phase, and I'm finding it incredibly frustrating. He bites while nursing (and then grins at me), or he'll crawl up to me or his dad and bite whatever he can get his teeth on: toes, fingers, arm...we tell him, firmly, no, that biting hurts. If he bites while nursing, I tell him no and set him down, making it clear that we're done nursing for that reason. It's making me crazy...it's to the point where I can't really relax while we nurse, and both my partner and I cringe and tuck our feet up when he crawls at us with that look in his eyes! Anything else I can try to discourage this? Did your babies go through this? How did you deal?


Thanks so much for any advice or support you can offer!



post #2 of 7
First off, hugs. Biting is the pits. My DD goes through cycles of biting when she is teething. Here's what I do:
1: when she bites while nursing, I pop her off and put her on the floor. (it sounds like you do the same) I wait at least 10 seconds while I explain "no biting. Biting hurts and mommy can't make Milkies when she is hurt" and if she cries, I offer to nurse again, saying "gently please". If she bites again, I repeat.
Some babies bite at the beginning of a nursing session while they are impatient to get to letdown. If this is the case with yours, you could try a quick breast massage and express a few drops to help speed up letdown. Other babies bite near the end of the nursing session because the flow slows down or because they are basically done and are just playing. Breast compressions can be help keep the flow steadier and they are pretty easy to try. If you suspect he is playing then you can remove him once he slows down on the nursing to try and prevent that bite. I've also had some luck quickly popping a finger in her mouth when I saw a mischievous "I'm gonna get you" look. Biting hurts but I had best results when I dont give a big reaction. I stay poker faced as much as I can and explain in a calm voice.
2: when she bites while playing or hugging, I have a similar tactic. I heard that young children will often tune out the "no" and only hear the "biting" in this example. They respond better when you give them an acceptable alternative. I say "no thank you, biting hurts. Only gentle kisses please", then demontrate, and most times she doesn't bite again in that session. Teething is her trigger so I offer lots of things to gnaw on: ice, carrots, cucumber, toys, plastic spoons, etc - anything hard enough to give her pressure against the gums but safe to be in her mouth. I also give her lots of cold water (she is 16 months). The reaction thing is very important here too. With me and DH she bites once, gets the calm lecture, gets bored and is on to something else. Sometimes we get a little playful and at the end of the calm statement we say "or give raspberries like this!" and we raspberry her all over, she squeals, we laugh and the biting is a distant memory. Now Grandma is another story. Each time DD bites her, she gives a big "OWwwwww!!!!" which DD thinks is hilarious and tries it again and again. I keep telling Grandma not to react.. She says it hurts.... I say tell me about it lol eyesroll.gif

In a nutshell, I'd give him tons of stuff to bite when teething and try not to give a big reaction to biting. I know it's hard but you and DH tucking your feet up is probably amusing to him so it may be hindering things. It's a tough situation. I know when DD first started biting, I cringed at each nursing session and kind of feared her a bit. It took a bit and quite a few bites and being consistent, but it's rare nowadays and almost never goes beyond one bite with me. I hope some of this is helpful and you find a system that works for you. Hang in there, it can be tamed :-)
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

That's some really great advice, thanks so much! I think you're right about the reaction. I usually say "OW!" really loudly, and it definitely gets a big grin from him. I do think he's doing it to be playful. We will try to keep a poker face when dealing with the biting. 


Thanks again, happy to know we're not alone!

post #4 of 7
How are things? I hope the biting is starting to decline.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

It is! When he goes for my toes, I tell him "kisses", and he does! And I've just been paying more attention when we're nursing (no more reading) and taking him off before he bites.


Thanks so much for checking in!

post #6 of 7
That is wonderful! I'm very glad things improved joy.gif
post #7 of 7
This issue might pop up more when he has teething pain. If it happens again, try assuming he has teething pain and do whatever you do for that and see if things improve. Good luck - this was the hardest issue I dealt with re breastfeeding.
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