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  • OUCH

    My lo is now 9 months old and has four teeth. Two on the top and two on the bottom. She has begun biting. At first it was while breastfeeding. I've tried several things
    1) pulling her closer to the breast, but this results in her biting even harder as she clamps down and tries to arch away.
    2) to a firm NO, or, No biting hurts, don't bite mommy bite this instead. which gives me a smile
    3) setting her down, and not looking at her. Which results in her smiling and going crawling away.

    However now it seems to be escalating this morning she bit my arm so hard she took a peice of skin out (and that was through a shirt!). I know she was tired and angry, I was in the process of putting her in the wrap (as this is where she sleeps at present). I'm starting to become very frustrated as she is biting everywhere now, not necessarily when she's just tired. i get the impression she finds it fun. I've offered her several types of teething rings but she wants nothing to do with them! How do i deal with this new biting problem (both at the breast and other body parts)? At this age is there a way i can help her deal with her angre in other ways????? i guess i'm just unsure of how to deal with it since she's so young. I didn't expect this problem until she was much older
    Last edited by smurfsammy; 12-28-2008, 09:54 AM.

  • #2
    does the biting while bfing happen during the beginning, middle, or end of hte nursing session? have you tried Highlands Teething Tablets?

    when she bites at other times, set her down, look at her in the eyes and firmly say "biting hurts" (not in an aggressive or punitive way). after a consistent period of doing this, she may understand. if her teeth are really hurting her, she may just be needing an outlet, she's not trying to hurt you, but i understand how upset you can get when being bitten (or scratched, or hit, or head-butted )


    • #3
      My initial reaction to your post is that she isn't always biting for the same reason, and only occasionally out of anger. So possibly look at the different situations in different ways instead of all under the biting problem. She may be expressing herself in this way more now because of the teething and being hyperaware of the area.

      Here are some links that might help...
      Biting, Pushing, Pulling Hair—Helping Children with Aggression
      Biting FAQ, LLL

      That one bite sounds really bad! but remember, she is still to little to really understand the damage she does to you by biting. Keep doing all the things you have just be really aware of her triggers for biting and try to intervene!


      • #4
        Hang in there! I remember a biting phase with DS and it wasn't fun. I think PaxMamma and Naomi have given you some great advice.

        What I found most helpful was to try and identify WHY and WHEN DS was biting. I couldn't always use this information to stop him but it helped me understand him and often I could intercept a bite before it occurred.

        Anger is a really common reason for biting but I think there are lots of other reasons too. Boredom, excitement, exploration. It might not always be a result of "inner turmoil" especially at such a young age. Some babies will bite at the breast when they are bored of nursing and ready to move on to something else.

        I've also found that inappropriate seeming laughter is often a baby expressing relief. For instance, laughing after vomiting: Boy I felt bad and now I've thrown-up and feel much better! Or when mom finally nurses a baby who has been crying to nurse for a longtime: I'm so elated to finally nurse, I needed to nurse soooo badly. I've never thought about it in the context of biting but wanted to throw it out as a possibility.

        DS had a strong preference of biting materials: human body parts. Like your LO he would not partake of teething toys. That is until I found this toothbrush called the Angel Brush.He'd chew on it all day. Wish I'd found it a little sooner, like before he started biting other children's faces. I've talked to other moms too who found it a very good teething object.

        Also, I've never tried it, but someone suggested a facecloth moistened with breast milk and then frozen.

        Hope some if this is helpful.


        • #5
          I think what i find most frustrating is that she only bites me:
          When nursing it seems to be when my letdown isn't fast enough, or when she's done on one breast and wants the other, or when she's done all together and wants to go. (obviously she can only bite me at this time)

          THe other times she bites me are play time and frustration. She use to blow bubbles on my tummy now she bites instead. She use to open her mouth wide and rub her face back and forth on my shoulder making fun sounds. Now she bites admist the fun noise.

          And of course the biting when angry. Usually when tired.

          I've tried to be patient and understanding. Telling her forcefully, "NO BITING, Biting hurts mommy" of course i do this directly looking in her eyes and pointing at her to let her know i mean her and not the cat or anybody else in the room. I'm really getting frustrated at this. It's been going on way longer than i would like. She has no new teeth ready to cut through. I just can't figure out why she bites only me.
          Any suggestions??


          • #6

            What bothers you the most about the fact that she bites only you??????

            And also


            • #7
              I can sympathize! DS went through a stage of biting too, around nine months as well (if I remember correctly). I read an article - cant remember where sorry - that biting in some babies is a way of expressing strong emotions. That is the reason why they often only do it to one person. They choose the person they feel the closest to, knowing that that is a safe outlet. That is why it can happen when they are happy, sad, angry, frustrated etc. They are too little to understand or express these feelings so it all wells up inside until they just cannot stand it any longer... and they bite.

              Of course you cannot just stand there being a chew toy, but what to do? As the others have said, she is just still so little to understand that it hurts you when she bites. She is just learning that you two are separate people, and that when she does A then B happens. Telling her it hurts WILL work, eventually. I actually found that watching for his signs worked well. Whenever he would get really worked up (either happy or sad) I could see that moment when he started to tense and would change the direction of whatever we were doing. The helped. Not all the time of course. When I saw he was about to bite I would hold him in a hug and just try and calm things down. I also would explain his feelings to him "oh, you are so excited! Look at how you are shaking and laughing! What fun".

              Another BIG thing that helped diffuse all of these moments was teaching him some simple signs, it gave him a voice and he could tell me what was up. Signs are great for things like food and everyday tasks.... but also great for the more abstract things like feelings. While they may not get it at this age, it still seems to help by actually naming things.

              I hope that has been of some help, I know it is frustrating. The hardest thing to do is remind yourself that she really doesnt mean to hurt you. Now you need to become detective mum and find out what is triggering these moments.


              • #8
                you could also look into infant massage. many moms find it is a great tool to help calm and organize their babies and also to reconnect. massage can help release extra frustrations and emotions. if your baby seems to be having a lot of these, massage may help. there is a book on it, although i can't find the info right now. i will check after work today and come back to post.


                • #9
                  Can anyone list some good sites for teaching babysign? I wouldn't even know where to begin.


                  • #10
                    I learned a lot from a few books at my local library. I also DVRed some Signing Time videos from the local public TV station (your library might also have them)

                    You can also get used ones off of e-bay or other used site if you look.

                    I have not personally found a good site online that has information on that. Also, it was helpful to connect with others that are also doing baby signs. I learned so much more hanging out with those friends!
                    There are a lot of classes offered in some places and they did not work for me monetarily or time wise. I wonder if anyone else has experience with them?


                    • #11
                      okay, here is the book on Infant Massage

                      as for signing, i second the recommendation of "Signing Time" DVD series. we checked them out from the library. however, 9 mos may be too young for your child to be interested in t.v.

                      the practice of signing is not complicated at all, just start w/ 1 or 2 simple signs, like "eat" or "milk" then, once they've mastered that, add a few more that you think would help w/frustration and communication. go to this signing site and look up the word you want. a tiny video clip will show you exactly how to make the sign.


                      • #12

                        DS loves the 'baby sign time' videos at the moment as the 'signing time' ones are a bit more advanced.

                        GL, hope it works for you! We love it! DS has about 50 or more signs that he can do now, and knows heaps more. It makes such a difference when you can communicate more effectively with them.


                        • #13
                          I am in this same boat right now! My daughter is about 10 1/2 months old and started biting me after she got 4 teeth (which is what she still has now). Based on book research, asking in LLL and my friends who are AP, I decided to try the very gentle approach, but make it clear. So, when she would bite my breast, I would remove it (sometimes by plugging her nose so she would have to open) and say "Ouchie! That hurts Mommy, that's ouchie!" but not in a firm way and not in a stern way, just a gentle way. Then I wouldn't let her breastfeed for at least 10 minutes. Sometimes she would cry a bit and I would explain to her that I needed a break from nursing because she had hurt me, but again in a gentle way. She seemed to learn in about 2 weeks that biting Mommy while nursing was not okay. Also, and I think this is really important, LLL says that if they are latched on properly, they aren't able to bite you because they have a big mouthful of breast, so I make sure when she latches on that she opens really wide and if she pops off for whatever reason, I make sure she opens really wide again to latch back on. Just being more aware of her latch has helped. And, if she starts playing around w/ the nipple or acts like she's done, I get my nipple out of there quickly. I noticed that she would bite if she was done and was just playing around, so I wouldn't let her get to that point w/ my boob in her mouth. I would either put my finger in to break the suction or would plug her nose if I absolutely had to (I don't like plugging her nose unless absolutely necc because I don't want it to create issues later with feeling like she can't breathe if that makes sense. Doing all of these things, the gentle ouchie and especially being more aware of her behavior, has helped me tremendously!

                          Now, about 3 weeks ago, she bit me on the arm and has bit her Daddy and other kids. I really feel that for her, she's just exploring these teeth things she has. We handle it the same way, say "Ouchie! That's ouchie and it hurts Mama" and redirect her to something else. So far it's worked, but I'm very hyperaware of what she does when she opens her mouth. I have found that sometimes she is trying to do "kisses" where she just puts her open mouth on my cheek and makes a mwah sound. So, I try not to react unless she actually does something, though it's hard. I also just keep reminding myself, like everyone has said here, that it's not on purpose.

                          ETA: I forgot to put the link for the sign language dictionary I use for a lot of basic signs!

                          About Sign Language, I actually know ASL (American Sign Language) and have taught 2 other babies besides my own daughter how to sign. I actually would recommend you teach them actual ASL rather than "Babysign" Baby sign is a modified version of ASL and kind of "dumbs down" the signs to make them easier for babies to do. I feel if you're going to teach them elements of another language, we should teach them the correct language and not a dumbed down version (just my humble little opinion though!). Your best bet is to start with a couple signs like milk and eat and water and diaper change and do them consistently every time you do one of those things. You can use a sign language dictionary to look up the signs or as some have suggested, get the signing time videos. Your daughter is probably too young to watch them (well, and the AAP recommends no TV until 2 anyway, if that's something you're following) but you can and you can learn the signs and I guarantee your LO will LOVE them when she gets older. Kids really like the Signing Time videos at all kinds of ages.

                          Okay, sorry it's so long! Hope things get better!
                          Last edited by Bikil; 01-08-2009, 05:49 PM. Reason: added a link