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nipple biting - am so close to giving up bf-ing

(19 Posts)
elportodelgato Wed 04-Mar-09 13:31:33

My DD is 9 mo and just in the last few days has started really biting my nipples when she feeds. She makes noises as though she is ready for a feed, then rather than latching on she just grins at me and clamps her 4 teeth onto my nipple. I've tried yelling "ouch!" and taking her off the breast and giving her a stern "no!" but she seems to find this funny, and now I actually feel too anxious about it to try it again. I've just given her a formula feed - we give her formula at her 11pm feed but this is the first time I've done it in the day and I feel a bit confused about it as I really think this is the end of my bf-ing and I have very mixed emotions.

I have recently been diagnosed with mild PND which is not helping, I just don't think I can cope with continuing with the bf-ing if she is going to bite me and find it funny, I already feel so demoralised and low some days I don't think I can handle this as well. But on the other hand I always thought I would want to continue for as long as possible and I'm afraid I will feel a failure if I don't. When I am not feeling so low, maybe I'll regret not being stronger and continuing, I don't know.

Can someone try to help me to continue? or make me feel better about giving up? I exclusively bf to 6 mo which I am so proud of, but perhaps this is the time to stop sad

solo Wed 04-Mar-09 13:37:42

You are not a failure ~ no way!

My Dd is now 26 months and still bfing. She too went through the biting stage and the thing that stopped her(and there are many MNetters that think this is abuse ~ I don't)was that when she did it, I flicked her lips. She only did it a couple of times before she got the message. It does make them cry, but it does work, but it is up to you whether or not you try it.

I hope things work out for you

Incidentally, my Ds bit me once and I yelped so loud that it frightened him and he never ever repeated it...I fed him for 18months.

KingRolo Wed 04-Mar-09 17:16:30

Oh, I'm having the same problem here. DD is only 20 weeks but has bottom teeth and has started to clamp down on my nipple at the ends of feeds. The HV said I should just stop feeding and say 'no' calmly but firmly. Hmm... easier said than done! So sorry, no advice but lots of sympathy.

You have done so well to get this far with bfing, I hope I get to 9 months. If you do give up now (and you might not have to) you should still be so proud that you have given your DD the best possible start in life.

RunningGirl Wed 04-Mar-09 19:06:02

My DS is 9 months and has 8 teeth and has been through 2 phases of biting me - once when he got teeth 3&4 and then again when the next lot came through. exactly as you say, I would say no or sometimes just yelp in pain and he thought it was hilarious. Both times he did this for a few days and then stopped. I also noticed that he mainly did it towards the end of a feed so when he'd actually had enough and was just playing around so tended to just stop when the biting started. Could this be the case with your DD.
I would say do what your heart / gut tells you is right for you and DD. Do persevere for at least a few more days if you want to - hopefully the novelty will wear off for her.
But if you feel that you want to stop BF anyway, maybe this is a good time. Good luck, whatever you decide and well done for getting this far - you've done better than I did with my first.

LeninGrad Wed 04-Mar-09 19:27:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PrettySprinkles Wed 04-Mar-09 21:45:58

I've yet to experience this yet (my DS is 15 week and just recently started teething) but instead of just removing her from the breast, have you tried actually putting her down and walking away. I've read elsewhere that can help for chompy children and I imagine that a brief interlude for you to count to ten would do wonders for your state of mind.

ilovetochat Wed 04-Mar-09 21:51:00

agree with prettysprinkles, i bf dd till she was 17 months so went through the biting stage.
saying ouch made dd laugh as she liked my reaction, so i stopped her feed and put her down on the floor and walked off, she soon stopped biting.

elportodelgato Wed 04-Mar-09 22:02:29

Thanks everyone, really excellent advice.
Having calmed down a bit since my OP, I think I do need to persevere with bf-ing, I know I will feel so much better about myself if I do continue a bit longer. But thanks also for reminding me that if I do stop, it's not a failure on my part smile

My HV has suggested just bf-ing 3x a day - the theory being that once she knows she's only going to get it 3x a day, she'll be really efficient and keen and won't want to mess around biting me. I'm going to give it a go but tbh I have been feeding on demand since birth so this will come as a bit of a shock to both of us. I am also going to try not reacting as you suggest, just putting her down when she bites and see if it works. I feel like this is the first real battle of the wills with my DD! Many more years to come of course...

Thanks again everyone for your support and help - it's great to know I'm not the only one who has a biting LO

Rainbear Wed 04-Mar-09 22:12:07

Went through the same thing, he only bit me 3 times as we were very clear. A bite would result in me looking hurt and cross (dont laugh or smile even if she is). Then I put him down and stopped feeding for 10 mins or so. I think if you have PND, bfing is something that makes you feel good, so maybe try being ultra clear that it is not acceptable and see if that helps.

Sassyfrassy Wed 04-Mar-09 23:03:32

What worked for me was to pull her close to the breast which makes her let go. I didn't shout or do anything that would make it an interesting reaction.

llareggub Wed 04-Mar-09 23:06:22

I wondered before I read your post if your child was around 9 months. My DS went through a biting stage at around 9 months, and it was a blessed relief when he stopped. I remember reading some advice which said (although difficult) not to react and just take her off your nipple.

DS is now 2.4 and I can honestly say he hasn't bitten me since he was around 9 months, and he is still feeding very frequently.

Mummyfor3 Wed 04-Mar-09 23:06:40

I am with Sassy - pull her close and she will stop. 9 months seems to be the time for biting; DS3 did it usually towards the end of a feed when he was not that interested in feeding anymore.
Maybe reducing number of feeds is the answer for you, as suggested above.

pooter Wed 04-Mar-09 23:12:15

Another here who has been through the biting phase. Funnily, i was just thinking today, how i was at the end of my tether with DS at 9mo when he started biting, laughing at my reactions. I was so angry at him, and frustrated at myself for being angry, and i was fearful about every feed. I did what most people advise - stop, say 'no biting' firmly but calmly (HA - if i wasn't yelping in agony!) and waited it out. Give it 3 weeks, and know that it IS a phase and will pass. Three weeks of pain is a long time mind you, and you have done brilliantly to get so far smile. But i am so glad we managed to get past that horrible time, as DS is still feeding at 2.1 and we both love it. When he interrupts his feed, looks at me and says 'mamia (bm) nice' it melts my heart [soppy emoticon] and of course its one of the few times i can get a cuddle out of him, now he has turned into turbotoddler! Hope you can get past it and enjoy it again. good luck.

SnowlightMcKenzie Wed 04-Mar-09 23:18:05

I screamed. Baby sobbed. 3 times and then never again.

I couldn't control my screaming any more than he could control his sobbing.

Pannacotta Wed 04-Mar-09 23:42:18

Also had this with DS2 (not DS1 though) at the same sort of age.
Also found that pushing him in close worked.
Some good advice here
www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/biting.html

Heartmum2Jamie Wed 04-Mar-09 23:49:31

I also did the pulling baby into the breast. Basically baby has to let go to breath as the boob is covering nose. A few times of this with ds2 and he soon got the hint and only needed occasional reminders not to use me as a teether.

SnowlightMcKenzie Wed 04-Mar-09 23:56:27

LOL, so you suffocate the baby until they let go?

zeeka Thu 05-Mar-09 00:04:15

Lots of sympathy!! Went through exactly the same with my twins (one more than the other). You could try a bickipeg teething biscuit before feeds when your baby is teething. I found this helped. It's the little smile that's the worst after the bite... how dare they!! Also worth applying lansinoh lanolin after the bite to seal it and prevent infection.

I, too, was considering giving up bf because biting is really hard to cope with, but realised that the weaning process for babies very into breastfeeding would be equally strenuous, so didn't bother! Good luck, you have done brilliantly to feed for as long as you have, so whatever you do, you should feel very, very proud!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 05-Mar-09 00:10:57

I've also been given the advice to pull them close. Haven't had to try it yet because DS has stopped biting. He is only 7 months, but has had a bottom tooth since he was 16 weeks!

It was only a short phase, and he used to do it at the end of a feed. I would feel his mouth change shape as his tongue moved out of the way and he would pause and then chomp down. I learned to spot it unless I was sleepy! I just used to unlatch him, say no firmly and give him a stern look when he started giggling. I wouldn't put him back on the breast because 99% of the time it would mean that he had had enough and was just playing.

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