How to Handle Biting During Breastfeeding

Updated: May 12, 2019

“I got bit and that was it. I was done breastfeeding.”

I have heard this from Moms time and time again.

Let's chat about that really what you want to do? Quit?

Yes, being bit on your nipple hurts. It hurts so bad your first thought may be to throw your child across the room cursing their name. It is soooooo painful. You probably will want to quit breastfeeding then and there the first time it happens.

My question is this, when your child acts in an unpleasant way are you going to just give up and quit on the choices you're making as their parent? Seriously, think about it. This won't be the first time your child does something you don't like.

How will you respond to them?

I believe, if you are committed to breastfeeding, a baby biting is one of the first opportunities for a Mother to offer gentle discipline and loving guidance.

Babies can bite due to supply needs, teething or they simply like your big reaction. I bet your baby will probably even laugh one time. Oh their sweet little gummy face smiling at you as you hold your breast in agony.

Here is a way to handle this unpleasant situation that benefits the decision to breastfeed and offer gentle discipline to your child ---

When baby bites DO NOT PULL them from your breast. They will take your nipple with them. Instead, gently push their face into your breast. This will slightly block the airways forcing them to release their jaw. Another tactic is to put your finger into the side of their cheek and release suction that way.

Once your child is off the nipple gently place them on the floor and say, "Ouch! No bite. Gentle nurse.” or whatever short and simple phrase you want.

Now these next steps I have used with all three of my boys who I breastfed successfully for years.

Step 1: put your baby down in a safe place.

Step 2. Walk away for one to two minutes. You don't have to go far or you can walk in to another room/stay near by but out of sight. Know that your baby will probably cry. Know they are safe and it is okay. After the time is up go to your baby or toddler and in a loving voice explain why you stopped. If a child is age appropriate you could even ask for an, "I'm sorry." then go back to breastfeeding.

If your child bites you again repeat steps 1 and 2.

These repetitive actions teach your baby about cause and effect. It may take between 1-100 times to connect the dots but they will. It will be frustrating and sometimes exhausting teaching your baby but no one said parenting was easy.

I want to encourage the Moms that want to breastfeed to not give up at first frustration, pain and inconvenience. Breastfeeding is a relationship. Remind yourself why you’re doing it and the type of parent you want to be.

And if, at the end of the day, you choose to stop breastfeeding that's your choice.

There's many ways to nurture a child.


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