Breastfeeding and Biting

Breastfeeding and biting…they do not go together.

I know that so many breastfeeding moms worry about how breastfeeding will be when their babies start getting teeth. I always tell moms that babies don’t use their teeth to breastfeed, and that if they should get nipped, that it doesn’t mean that breastfeeding has to end.

In my practice, I find that by asking some pertinent questions in these cases, I have been able to work with moms to resolution, and as long as the biting hasn’t gone on for weeks.

The key element to successfully overcoming this problem is two-fold. First, early intervention is a must and second, anticipation. It seems to me, that most babies bite the breast because the breast milk flow has slowed, and so they become distracted and start to play, or they become frustrated. This is where the “anticipation” element comes in. If a breastfeeding mom is able to identify when her milk flow starts to slow, then she can take action. She can use breast compressions, or she can help her baby to de-latch and switch sides or end the feeding if baby is satisfied.

So, in summary, once baby has bitten you once, take action by watching your baby and your milk flow, and use the tips above to quickly overcome it. If your flow has decreased quite a bit, then other strategies may need to be used and this would be a good time to get in contact me. In the meantime, enjoy nursing and don’t let teeth get in your way!

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