Some mothers decide to breastfeed their baby for longer than 6-8 months. This is a good way to ensure that your baby does not eat anything unhealthy, adulterated or course that can possibly lead to an infection or indigestion. Remember that your baby is too young to have developed his or her immune system and outside food can harm your baby’s health. Nursing your baby till late not only ensure your toddler’s safety, it is also said to be one of the ways to prevent breast cancer.
Breastfeeding till late can be a painful experience given that your baby’s teeth will start growing once it is about 7-9 months old. This is one of the reasons mothers do not breastfeed their child after they are about 40 weeks old in spite of the fact that it is recommendable till the age of 2 years. Baby’s biting during breastfeeding is a common experience with most mothers experiencing this at some point.
Having said all of this, biting during breastfeeding can be prevented. Although you will be tempted to stop nursing once your baby starts teething, there is no need to do this. Let us see how.
1.When actively nursing, your baby cannot bite
When latched on properly and feeding actively, it is impossible for your baby to bite. Your baby’s teeth will one inch behind the nipple on the areola. In this ideal position, your baby’s tongue will cover his lower teeth and gums. Therefore make sure you and your baby are positioned properly when breastfeeding.
2.Do not push the baby away
Your baby can bite you only when the nipple is not placed deep inside his/her mouth. Pushing your baby away is an involuntary reaction to being bitten. However, you should be pulling your baby towards you instead. This will ensure your nipple is deep inside your baby’s mouth and the teeth do not touch it.
3.Time your baby’s feeding cycle and do not force feed him/her
Observe your toddler keenly. Note when it is hungry, when is it sleepy and when it just wants to play with people around him (yes babies have their schedules too). Babies tend to bite towards the end of nursing when they are full. Adjust your schedule around your baby’s. Forcing your baby to breastfeed will never help.
4.Stop nursing before your baby dozes off
Your baby is likely to clench its teeth while sleeping. If your baby starts falling asleep in the middle of nursing, it will be very painful and challenging to remove your nipple from baby’s mouth. Be alert and do not let your baby sleep midway. If it starts dozing off, do not hesitate to use your finger to remove your nipple from the baby’s mouth.
5.Avoid distractions and communicate to your baby
A distracted baby may move during breastfeeding this can make it bite you. Also, if the mother is distracted then it may bite to get her attention. So breastfeed in a quiet place as far as possible. Communicate to your baby, let your little one know that his/her mother is with her. Communicate to tell your baby that it shouldn’t bite, your baby is smarter, more observant and faster learner than you think.
6.The milk supply should not stop
If the milk is not freely flowing into your baby’s mouth, he/she may bite out of frustration. Therefore, ensure that the milk supply is plentiful and you don’t have plugged ducts.
7.Put your baby down if it bites
This is a good way of letting your baby know that he/she shouldn’t bite during breastfeeding. Put your baby down when it bites, and continue nursing after a moment. Your baby will learn that biting means an end to feeding. Most 9-month-olds can learn through the mother’s body language.