Biting While Breastfeeding
There's not a breastfeeding mom out there who doesn't fear the accidental chomp of her baby's new teeth, which usually appear between 4 and 7 months old. For help keeping the bites at bay, keep reading.
Stay Calm If your baby bites, you're often a tad surprised, to say the least, but it's important to swallow your shock. "If you jump or yelp, you can startle the baby," says Kelly A. Hightower, R.N., a certified lactation counselor and owner of Bright Birth in Decatur, GA. And a startled baby may then be afraid to go back to the breast or think your reaction is so hilarious, she'll want to make it happen again.
Be Stern Choosing the right words afterward, along with appropriate body and facial language, is important. "'Take a deep breath, firmly tell baby 'No biting!' and offer the breast again. If your baby continues to bite after being told no, end the nursing session," Hightower says. Your little one with quickly associate the loss of feeding time and snuggles with Mom with biting, and the shenanigans will stop.
Ensure a Deep Latch "You may mistake the sensation of your nipple being drawn to the back of your baby's mouth as a bite, but you're simply experiencing a less than ideal latch," Hightower says. Make sure your baby opens wide before you bring her onto the breast.
Know When the Meal Is Done "Babies can sometimes bite or nibble at the end of a feed when they're now playing," Hightower says. To stop this after-dinner chew, pay attention to the signs that she's finished eating: You'll no longer see swallowing, and the telltale ear wiggle stops.
Tackle Teething If you suspect your baby is biting because she's teething, consider using a topical numbing gel such as baby Orajel before nursing. "Apply it with a cotton swab so that you can do your best to place the gel in the desired area," says Hightower suggests. "Offering ibuprofen about 30 to 45 minutes before the session may be a good option for you as well--as long as your baby is over 6 months old."
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