First Bite

Jennifer Johnson

Posted By: Jennifer Johnson

I didn't grow up around breastfeeding moms. In fact, I grew up making formula bottles for my little sisters.

My goal was to breastfeed through maternity leave. I surpassed that mark, and my new goal was to breastfeed until my daughter hit four months and I'd start her on solids – or that mushy stuff they call solids at least. For her first meal, I was planning to grind up oats and mix in breast milk, and feed it to her once every few days. On her four month birthday, instead of taking her first bite of baby food, she took a bite out of her current food source – ME.

Lil' J doesn't have any teeth yet, but that doesn't mean her gums don't hurt when she chomps down with all of her might. I let out a loud yell, and she met my startled glare with one of her own. I thought she was going to start crying because I surprised her, but she laughed instead. I wasn't happy.

Biting is something I've been dreading for as long as I can remember. I've heard horror stories of babies biting through the skin, causing bleeding, followed by days of pumping strawberry milk and --- yikes! I'm terrified.

It hurt so bad when she bit me, and she's done it a couple of times since then already. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to handle it when she gets teeth. I've read about women who have survived it, but I don't know if I can.

There's a few things I've heard from other friends who experienced baby biting. One of my friends said that's when she weaned, but I'm hoping not to give up so easily.

A nipple shield is something else that was recommended to me. I don't have one and I'm not sure how it would work in this instance but it seems like a practical option. Especially if it can't keep her teeth from cutting through a most sensitive area.

Bringing the my daughter closer to me when she bites is something else I've heard breastfeeding advisers suggest. It's supposed to cover up their nose so they have to open their mouth to breathe. It definitely sounds counter intuitive to me, but I guess it would would to get her unlatched if she wouldn't let go (that sounds so scary just thinking about it).

Watching for when she gets bored is another key tip I've been told. I can already tell now when she's done nursing for food, and just nursing for comfort or as she's falling asleep. That's when she starts to bite down. If I cut her off before then this may help.

These are all options I plan to explore quickly so that these next few months she's still on her liquid diet, she won't be treating me like I'm her solid meal.

What do you do when your baby bites while nursing?

11:45am on Tuesday December 7


8:22pm on Wednesday December 8

I nursed all three of our children for an extended time, well into when they cut teeth.

When our first decided to try out that new tooth on my nipple, I just said, "No!" and removed her from the breast. It really wasn't a big deal and she quickly learned NOT to bite the "nummy" (as she later called it) that fed her.

End of story. No need for pain and no need to wean.

10:22pm on Tuesday December 7

That hurts...teeth or no teeth!

I scared my son a few weeks ago when he first bit me and he cried. Oops. :P My DD did it a few times. We nursed for 15 months. I would stick my finger in the corner to unlatch her make her wait a minute before she could nurse again. I told her "don't bite." She would do it more when she was just comfort nursing. I could tell when it would change to more of a pinching "latch" than an eating latch. My son doesn't really comfort nurse. If anything, he gets annoyed and wants his paci instead. I think if you teacher her now not to bite then she won't do it with teeth. My DD didn't bite really hard with teeth. When she would nurse I could feel the teeth but it didn't hurt. i admit that the few times i was bit it does hurt, but you can still make it.

After reading your blog I have a feeling this won't stop you from nursing longer. :)

4:26pm on Tuesday December 7

If she's nursing and she bites, unlatch her (stick you index finger in where she's nursing to unlatch, perhaps), put an index finger on her lips, and gently but firmly say 'no.' I nursed both of my kiddos, first one 15 months and the second one is still nursing (she's 2 and a half). Best wishes.

4:09pm on Tuesday December 7

When my daughter has bitten me I've brought her in quickly to me and she's come off quickly too! The yelp of pain probably surprised her enough to look up at me and let go. It really stings so good luck with it!
@michelletant in Twitter

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