Biting and Breastfeeding

Biting while breastfeeding can happen when your baby:

  • Has new teeth coming in and his/her gums are sore
  • Is learning how to use new teeth and is wanting to play or practice
  • Feels that the flow of milk has slowed and is trying to get your milk to flow faster
  • Has fallen asleep at the breast and the “bite” is a reflex

Continued breastfeeding is important

To prevent your baby from biting, you can try the following strategies:

  • Pay attention to when your baby is biting during the feeding; it is hard for babies to bite when they are actively sucking and swallowing.
  • Make sure that your baby is well latched to the breast. When the baby is latched well, the tongue is over the lower gum line and your baby is not able to bite.
  • Discourage your baby from feeding with a lazy or shallow latch.
  • Remove your baby from the breast when suckling slows, you no longer hear swallowing, or when you notice your baby is beginning to fall asleep.
  • If your baby is biting when you are seeing a lot of suckling and hearing swallowing, remove your baby from the breast, firmly tell him “no” and then resume the feeding.
  • If your baby bites, again, repeat “no” and end the feeding; your baby will learn that biting is unacceptable.