The pain a mother feels doesn’t end at giving birth. It continues when the milk starts coming out (or not coming out when milk ducts are clogged) and when you start breastfeeding. But when you get to feed your baby and the latch is just perfect, the pain goes away. Until your baby’s teeth come out! Yayks!
But wait! It shouldn’t be the end of your wonderful breastfeeding journey. There are several things (according to several pages I clicked and read on the web) you can do before deciding to finally wean your baby. WHO advises to breastfeed babies up to two years and it has a lot of benefits (which we can discuss in another post), so don’t give up just yet.
First, it helps to understand why your baby starts biting.
“Older” baby, say around 6 months old, gets easily distracted and he forgets that your nip is still on his mouth. So when he closes his jaws… ouch!
He may also start biting when he’s done feeding, so when you notice that his jaws are relaxing, take it as a cue to pull your breast off his mouth. Also be alert when he’s dozing off, because he may bite you when he falls asleep. Unintentionally, of course.
And your baby is naturally curious as he learns more about his world. That’s why your baby might bite just to know what happens. At 6 months old, babies begin to learn cause and effect. Your startled reaction when he bites, your shout, may make him more curious and he may repeat the biting to see what will happen. My little one has bitten me one day for at least five times because I always get startled when he does that!
Don’t fret, you can try some tips on how to make your baby stop biting.
Recognize the signs that he’s done feeding or he’s falling asleep so you know when you can pull him off.
Calmly take him off and stop feeding for a while immediately after he bites. Look your baby in the eyes and firmly say something like “No biting.” It is to teach him that biting is not good. Every time I do this and tell my baby “No biting. No milk, masakit,” he would look me in the eyes too and smile! That’s worth the pain. How can you not melt when your baby smiles at you?
He may also need more attention, so make eye contact and speak to him while he’s feeding.
Babies can also feel bored, so try to feed in different positions. (Easier said than done, I know!)
And what to do when you’re scraped and your nipple is sore?
Put some ice before and after feeding to numb the pain. Express a small amount of breastmilk, apply to the area and let it air dry. Breastmilk actually has healing properties and antibacterial.
You can also apply warm compress to the area for a few minutes to ease your discomfort and aid the healing. Go bra-less and wear light fabric to lessen friction.
Try not to feed your baby on that side for a while to allow the abrasion to heal. Hand-express your milk (or pump, if you prefer) so that your breast won’t be engorged.
Lastly, hold on to the fact that the pain, no matter how excruciating it may feel, will be gone before you know it. Mine is still healing after a week… but that’s just because I keep feeding my baby on that side! He-he.
Have some tips on how to deal with baby biting while breastfeeding? Sound off comments below!