by Rebecca (San Diego, CA)
Help! My 6 month old has two of her bottom teeth and has taken to biting me. I want to continue nursing her until she is at least a year old, but this hurts too much.
Is pumping and bottle feeding the only way to solve this? I tried Dr. Sear's method of pushing her head to my breast, but she just gets really upset and beet red. Now what?
This is a problem a lot of moms face when their babies get new teeth. Your little one's gums are probably sore, and biting helps soothe that. Plus, she's got these cool new teeth to experiment with!
The problem, of course, is that you do not want to be the subject of her experiments!
Many moms do find that Dr. Sears' solution works. Does your daughter not let go when you do that? If she lets go then I would consider persisting with that tactic – even if she's getting angry. She's getting angry because she wants to bite you, and well, that's just not an OK thing to do! She should realize that biting is going to equal getting smooshed until she lets go 😉
But if that's not working at all, you can try other tactics.
What worked for my first child was immediately breaking her latch (reach your finger into the corner of your daughters mouth and break the suction). Then I pried her off of me, if needed, and placed her on the floor in front of me.
This did not make her happy – she cried. She really wanted to nurse. It only took her a couple of times to realize that I was not ok with her biting me. She knew that if she wanted to nurse, the teeth had to stay out of it 😉
Another related suggestion is to remove her from your breast and immediately offer a teething toy so she learns it is ok to bite that, but not ok to bite you.
Also be sure to offer her plenty of teething toys throughout the day. You can also try rubbing her gums with your fingers or a clean washcloth to help soothe any discomfort she's feeling.
I had a unique situation with my third child – as he fell asleep he would bite down… hard! Since he often fell asleep nursing I was getting bitten a lot. I couldn't try pulling him in or removing him because wasn't conscious of what he was doing. My solution was just to remain on guard as he fell asleep, and as soon as he started to bite down I broke the latch. Most of the time he stayed asleep.
It can take some creativity but you can almost always teach a baby not to bite while nursing. The benefits of nursing, and of nursing directly at the breast, are great (for both you and your baby), so I encourage you to keep working to find a solution.