How to stop baby from biting while nursing

OUCH! A bite from your breastfeeding baby can be quite an unpleasant surprise (to say the least!)

It can happen when you least expect it…

  • your newborn may bite while nursing before they even have teeth (whaaat?!)

  • your toddler might bite while nursing and then laugh (NOT funny!)

  • And, worse-case-scenario, your baby may bite while nursing and draw BLOOD. (gasp!)

But fear not mama, there are actions you can take to minimize the chances of all this EVER happening again.  

Lactation consultants share actionable advice on how to respond after a dreaded “chomp at the breast" takes place...


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if a baby with no teeth bites - Adjust the latch

"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. “

-Lisa Paladino CNM, IBCLC at Lisa Paladino IBCLC

if an older baby bites - don’t let them see your reaction

“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

“Put the baby down and say "NO."

“Some breastfed babies will bite while nursing and then smile or laugh and turn it in to a game. Walking out of sight after calmly saying "NO" lets the baby know that biting causes the breast to go away. Make sure you have a safe space to leave baby out of visual range."

-Danielle Spradlin, IBCLC at Oasis Lactation Services 

get a teething necklace for distraction

"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."

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

Vigilance is key.

"Some older babies get a playful gleam in their eye when they're thinking about biting. Vigilance is the key. You should be watchful and ready to take action if you see the gleam.”

-Beverley Rae, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Resources


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