by ‘Bin (Exeter, NH, USA)
My son has been teething since he was 5 months; he is 8 months tomorrow, has 4 pearly whites sticking out, and it seems more coming quickly.
Until now, we haven't had severe problems, a nip here and there. Well, the other day he drew blood on the right breast and today on the left.
I work, so I have to pump; both breastfeeding and pumping are becoming incredibly painful because of these wounds. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to alter this behavior?
Baby biting tends the be the behavior breastfeeding mothers dread the most. Luckily it's usually pretty easy to stop.
There are two tactics that tend to work well:
The first is to pull him in close to you immediately as soon as you feel him starting to bite down. Pull him close enough into your breast that he can't breathe – as soon as he realizes he can't get air he'll instinctively open his mouth and let loose.
Usually this stops the biting immediately and after a couple of times babies learn not to even try it.
Here's another thing to to try: As soon as he starts to bite down, use your pinkie finger to slide into his mouth and break the suction (and open his jaws, if needed). Then put him down on the floor right in front of you. Tell him firmly that he cannot bite you and still have a feed.
Usually the baby will cry in this instance but wait a couple of minutes before you offer the breast again. As with the other technique, babies often learn quickly.
If he's biting down as he's falling off to sleep you may need to just be alert and ready to break the latch and remove him from the breast.
Some moms have found it helpful to offer baby a teething toy if he seems to want to bite a lot due to teething.
Also make sure he's not getting bored at the breast – if he's full and done nursing, go ahead and stop the feed. He may be biting just to “play” (which is obviously not fun for you!) Offer a cuddle or look through a book together if he seems to just want closeness with you.
Nursing is very beneficial to your little one and having the dedication to pump for him is wonderful! Good luck with your nursing relationship.