What to Do if Your Breastfeeding Baby Bites

OUCH! A bite from your breastfeeding baby can be quite an unpleasant surprise, to say the least. But fear not, mama, there are actions you can take to minimize the chances of it ever happening again.  

Some top lactation consultants share their best advice on how to respond after a "chomp at the breast" takes place...

 
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“I suggest buying a teething necklace for you to wear as this sometimes distracts baby from biting…”

-Briana Violand, IBCLC at Northcoast Lactation & Sleep Services LLC

"I recommend a few different things. First I would suggest saying NO in a stern voice and taking them off the breast and repeat if it happens again.

I also recommend paying close attention as to when it is happening. Is it at the end of a feeding when they are getting sleepy? See if you can stop the feeding before it occurs.

Lastly I suggest buying a teething necklace for you to wear as this sometimes distracts baby from biting and then you can give that to them when they are done breastfeeding as well."

 
 

“Don't let them see your reaction because, depending on the stage, this might encourage them more.”

-Lisa Paladino CNM, IBCLC at Lisa Paladino IBCLC

"For a newborn, I would suggest an adjust in latch if it feels like biting during a feeding. Laid back positions may help the newborn open up wider for nursing.  Sometimes, in the newborn stage, biting may be a sign of a tongue tie or other oral restriction that prevents the baby from opening up wide. 

For a baby that has been nursing comfortably and starts to bite, I would say a gentle "NO" and unlatch the baby and start again. Don't let them see your reaction because, depending on the stage, this might encourage them more.

Sometimes babies bite to either control a fast flow, or to try to get milk faster, so if this behavior continues, I'd recommend a consult for professional lactation evaluation."

“Put the baby down and say "NO."

-Danielle Spradlin, IBCLC at Oasis Lactation Services

"Put the baby down and say "NO." Some babies will laugh and smile and turn it in to a game. Walking out of the room and out of sight after saying "no" calmly lets the baby know that biting causes the breast to truly go away. Make sure you have a safe space to leave baby out of visual range." 

“Vigilance is the key.”

-Beverley Rae, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Resources

"Some older babies (around 5-8 months) get a playful gleam in their eye when they're thinking about biting. Vigilance is the key. Mom should be watchful and ready to unlatch if she sees the gleam; say a quiet but firm 'NO' and quickly unlatch if she misses it."

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