Breastfeeding is unique for every mother and takes much time for the new mother to get skilled at it. Breastfeeding is not just a time when you feed your newborn, breastfeeding also aids in developing an emotional bond with your newborn.
However, breastfeeding becomes an issue when your little one starts biting while s/he feeds. This is common and happens often with newborns. Depending on the impact, the degree may vary. But why do babies bite while breastfeeding and what can you do to prevent this from happening?
Baby Biting Nipple During Breastfeeding
Usually, when your baby latches on to your nipple, his/her tongue keeps from the lower teeth coming in contact with your nipple. When your newborn suckles, s/he uses his or her bottom jaw while the upper jaw is fixated. The common or most obvious reason as to why your baby bites while breastfeeding is if s/he is not comfortable with the breastfeeding position. Babies usually develop their teeth once they are 6 months old. But, some babies do teeth early or later.
5 Reasons Why Babies Bite During Breastfeeding
- If your baby develops a habit of biting while latching on or latching off your breast, s/he could get used to it.
- If your baby is older than 6 months, s/he may get distracted by the surroundings and may start biting.
- If your baby falls asleep during his/her feed.
- Some babies tend to bite out of curiosity. Try not to react since they find it play when you do react.
- If your baby is suffering from an ear infection or common cold. Sometimes if your newborn has difficulties with swallowing, s/he begins to bite in order to suckle harder.
7 Ways To Prevent Your Baby From Biting During Breastfeeding
If you notice your baby biting while s/he breastfeeds, use these measures to prevent your baby from making a habit out of it. Given below are 7 ways you can prevent your baby from biting your nipple during feeds:
- If you feel like your newborn is biting your nipple, gently put your little finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth. This way, you distract your baby to bite your finger rather than your breast.
- Don’t jerk away when your little one is still latched on to your breast and begins to bite. when you move or pull away, s/he may bite harder out of impulse. This will leave you sore
- If you got bit while feeding, lay your baby aside in the crib or on the bed and heal yourself. Take a break and get the discomfort out before you proceed to breastfeed again.
- Give your little one a teething toy after the feed and make it a habit for him/her to bite on the toy.
- If and when your bites, do not scream or react in a vehement manner. Reacting will pique your baby’s interest and your newborn might bite more just to get a reaction out of you. This is play for them and they don’t understand the pain you feel.
- Make sure your baby is latched on to you properly. If your baby is uncomfortable in the breastfeeding position, s/he may start biting. Also, talk to your baby and make eye contact while s/he feeds.
- Once your baby grows old, do not feed unless your little one is very hungry. This way, you can also begin to wear your baby off the breastmilk.
7 Best Latching Positions For Breastfeeding
It is known that the most obvious reason your baby bites is if s/he is in an uncomfortable position during feeding. To avoid that, here are some of the best breastfeeding positions you can opt while you feed your newborn.
- Firstly, make yourself comfortable. Ensure you’re relaxed and have presumed a comfortable position.
- Place a soft pillow on your lap. This gives your baby extra comfort and keeps him/her at ease.
- Stretch your legs and keep your feet raised on a pillow or a small stool for a better position.
- Get some support for your back. Place a few cushions or pillows to relax your back.
- If you’re breastfeeding at night, place a pillow under your head for better positioning.
- Make your baby face your stomach when s/he is trying to latch on to your breast.
- And when you bring your little one closer, his/her nose should be in line with your nipple.
- Once you are in a good position, your baby’s natural reflexes will help him/her latch on in a correct position. Once s/he has latched on, do not rush and relax. Talk to your baby and make eye contact while s/he feeds.
These simple tips should help you feed your baby better with no disruptions. Unless there is some other issue or if you consider to not nurse your child for a long term, these tips come in handy. Most doctors suggest the ideal time to stop breastfeeding is when your toddler turns 2. Discuss with your doctor or midwife about the alternate methods or breastfeeding in detail for any other queries.