There are so many benefits of breastfeeding a baby, from fulfilling his nutritional intake to strengthening bonds or bonding. However, this activity is not without its challenges. One thing that Mums will often experience is that babies like to bite the nipples while feeding. Whoops! Why is your little one like that and what should be done?
The World Health Organization recommends mothers to give exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of a baby’s life, then continue it for 2 years or more while accompanied by complementary feeding (MPASI).
When you get a comfortable position and make the right latch, the baby will automatically cover the gum area with his tongue when feeding. However, there are times, especially when he has started teething at the age of 6-9 months, the baby will bite the nipple while feeding. Mums will definitely feel shocked and think, “Ouch hurts, Dek. How come Mama’s nipple was bitten?” Unknowingly, Mums can also spontaneously scream in pain.
Actually, why do babies like to bite the nipples while feeding? And, what to do, keep breastfeeding or stop for a while?
Why do babies like to bite their nipples while breastfeeding?
The habit of sucking and biting objects around is often done by babies. In that way, he gets to know and learn about the environment around him. If he is teething, biting something is one way to relieve discomfort in his gums.
If she bites on a teether or a toy, you may not feel dizzy, but if your nipples are breastfeeding, it’s a different story. It’s shocked, hurt, and sometimes injured. However, it is impossible for Mums to sulk and stop the breastfeeding process because babies get their nutritional intake through breast milk. Is it all wrong, Mums?
There are several reasons why babies like to bite the nipple while feeding, namely:
- Is teething, so the gums feel sensitive.
- Improper attachment.
- Feeling bored or distracted while breastfeeding.
- Want to get attention from Mums.
- Feeling unwell, such as having a cough or cold or an ear infection, which makes it difficult to suck and swallow breast milk.
- The flow of milk that comes out is too heavy.
- Upset because the flow of milk is too slow.
If the problem is due to teething, you should drink using a straw, you can still drink without biting the straw, right? The same goes for breastfeeding. So as long as the attachment is correct, your nipples should not be bitten. However, it does take time for your little one to adapt again when his teeth start to grow.
What to do if the baby likes to bite the nipple while breastfeeding?
Yelling may be a spontaneous reaction that you will do when your baby bites your nipple while feeding, yes. However, as much as possible avoid doing this because it can actually surprise your little one and will even bite Mums even more because of fear.
If you pay attention, usually your little one’s jaw will tighten before he bites. He will also look restless, annoyed, and uncomfortable. If you have shown such signs or have already bitten, you can try doing:
- Stay calm and try to release your little one slowly. Do not force your breasts because it will only hurt and injure your nipples. You can press the corners of your little one’s mouth with your finger to make him open his mouth. Another way is to gently press your baby’s head against the breast so that he has difficulty breathing through his nose. When he opens his mouth to take a breath, immediately remove the nipple from inside his mouth.
- If your little one likes to bite during the feeding process, provide an object near you, such as a wet washcloth or a teether. So when he starts biting the nipple, take the nipple out and offer it to him to bite. Mums can also give the object to bite before feeding time, so that the desire to bite the nipple while breastfeeding is reduced.
- Try changing breastfeeding positions. You can do the laidback breastfeeding position, which is to put your little one on your chest or stomach. Don’t forget to support your back with a pillow, so you’re in a semi-sitting position.
- Focus on your little one, look him in the eye, touch his finger or cheek, and occasionally talk to him during the breastfeeding process. So, he feels cared for and not bored.
The problem of babies biting their nipples while breastfeeding is quite common. So, please be patient, Mums because this phase will soon pass. If your little one continues to bite and the above methods have been done, but do not work, consult a lactation counselor to find out if something is wrong and find a solution. (US)
Healthline: What To Know About Biting During Breastfeeding — and How to Cope
NCT: Breastfeeding: why babies may bite and how to stop it