Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Biting "Ouch"

Each baby is different when it comes to getting their teeth and biting. Some babies don’t get their teeth until 10 months to a year and some get them around four to five months. It takes teeth awhile to come through, but the baby may start to chew on his/her toys and start slobbering a lot. These are usually signs that the baby is feeling uncomfortable and needs to ease the pain of the teeth coming through.

When your baby does bite it is not to hurt you, but it may be out of play or to ease the pain of the teething. You will need to put a stop to it and let your baby know that it will not be acceptable.
Here are some ways to teach your baby not to bite during feedings.
*You can say,” Don’t bite Mama” in a firm voice to let your baby know that he/she can not do that.
*If your baby is smaller (2-5months) and your baby bites, put your finger in between the nipple and break the suction. Pull the baby away from the breast and say, “No biting” in your normal voice. It may take longer for younger babies to understand but they will learn.
*If your baby is older (6 months or older) and he/she bites, then break the latch and pull your baby away and firmly say, “No biting. It hurts Mommy. You can also tap the side of their cheek to make your baby aware that he/she hurt you. This sometimes makes them break the suction on their own. Put them down on the floor and give them a teething toy and tell you baby that he/she can nurse in a minute. Make sure that you have a finger ready to break the suction in case the baby suddenly turns its head or gets distracted. Sometimes your baby will want to take the nipple with them and that doesn’t feel good.
*If your baby bites you break the suction and them immediately put your baby back on the breast. If your baby bites again then you need to say, “No biting.” Try to put your baby back on your breast again and if your baby bites again, then you just keep taking the baby off and reminding the baby not to bite. Taking the baby off and on again and again teaches your baby that it is not ok to bite you.

If your baby is biting you often, then you will start to learn when he/she is about to bite. Some babies will bite at certain time of the day or at certain times of the feeding. If you baby is old enough to eat solids and keeps biting, then you can try to put off the feeding and try some food. You might have to put off feedings for a few minutes if your baby won’t stop biting. Be consistent and your baby will learn that he/she can’t bite you.

Here are some ideas to help you learn or sense when your baby might bite.
*Give your baby all of your attention during the feeding time. Make time to touch/massage, talk and hold your baby close, so your baby is not trying to get your attention. You will also be more aware that your baby is getting ready to latch off and is done nursing.
*Learn to recognize when your baby is almost done nursing. Most of the time the biting takes place at the end of the feeding to let you know that your baby is done nursing.
*Always check the holding position and the latch of the baby. When you have your baby correctly on the breast they are more likely not to bite. Your baby will not be able to bite your nipple with the correct latch-on.
*Make sure that you work hard to keep your milk supply up to make sure that your baby is getting enough and doesn’t have to work to hard at feedings. If your baby gets frustrated then that leads to more of a chance that he/she might bite.
*Try to recognize when your baby does bite, what is going on around you during the feeding. Is the baby in a playful mood or is there yelling around the house. If you are upset or yelling or tense, then that can make the baby more likely to nip at your nipple or bite.

I remember this happening only once with my little boy. After he bit me, I tapped my finger against his cheek and firmly said, “No, No, that hurts mommy.” He got very sad and started crying. He knew that I was upset and he never did it again. I was sad to know that I had hurt his feelings, but he had to learn that biting was not ok.

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