Breastfeeding A to Z

Biting

When your baby starts to have teeth appear, biting may be a concern.
When a baby is actively sucking, they cannot bite down or they would bite their own tongue. (1)  Getting teeth is not a reason to wean your baby.  Babies can be born with teeth or get them anytime in the first year, but the average age for the first tooth to appear is between 6-10 months. (2)  If biting occurs it will most likely be at the end of a feeding.
Ways to discourage or prevent biting:
  • Be alert during feedings, try to pay attention to your baby and when they are finishing or becoming uninterested in eating, break their suction and take them off the breast.
  • Be aware of the end of feeding or when baby is falling asleep as the time to take them off.
  • Don’t force a breastfeeding.  Let your baby feed on demand.
If baby does bite:
  • Your startle, or cry, will probably do the same to your baby and they will come off the breast.
  • Try to keep a finger ready to break the baby’s suction
  • Offer baby something it is acceptable for them to chew or bit on–teething toy.
References:
  1. Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd revised edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003, p 478.
  2. Wilson, WH, Lowdermilk, P, Maternal Child Nursing Care, 3rd edition, St Louis, MO, Mosby, 2006, p 1047.