Our SOS Mom Pooja Yadav is in a situation where her 6 month old baby daughter bites her while breast feeding. Pooja wants to switch her baby over to the formula milk, but her little one refuses it.
Many mothers face this problem when their babies start to teethe. Your baby’s gums are sensitive, irritated and even in pain when they start to grow their first set of teeth. They often find relief when they can bite or chew on something. There is nothing much you can do to help them except massage their gums with a teething gel and allow your baby to bite on something clean and soft like a teething toy or even your finger.
We received a lot of replies on our Facebook page from our rocking SOS moms to help mommy Pooja in her situation.
- Gently unlatch the baby- Insert your finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth between her gums and get her to unlatch from the breast immediately when she bites. Your bay will realise that she will have to stop feeding if she bites.
- Warn gently and firmly – Unlatch your baby and give her a little strict talk by using a firm voice. Try not to react by shouting or crying in pain so as not to scare your little one away from feeding. Just a gentle warning followed by a hug and restarting the feeding should suffice.
- Use Nipple Shield – You can buy a nipple shield or guard to use over your nipple. The baby will not have direct contact with your skin, even if she bites.
- Feed only when baby is hungry – Feed your baby only when she shows the signs of hunger. Some babies find breastfeeding as a means of being close to their mom and often end up chewing on the nipple, if they are not really hunger. Unlatch the baby as soon as she is finished feeding. Also, stop feeding if you notice your baby falling asleep. You might get bitten if she falls asleep and tries to close her mouth shut.
- Change positions – Try changing positions, or try to shift the baby to the other breast or try feeding in a different place. Sit in a quite, peaceful place where your baby won’t be distracted easily. She may bite unintentionally if she is distracted with the sounds and things around her that are stimulating.
- Pull closer – If you notice that your baby finds it amusing to bite you and biting has become her habit, time the feeding time and pull your baby closer to your breast to make her stop feeding as soon as her time is up. Her nose being too close to your breast will make it difficult to breathe for her and she will have to open her mouth as a reflex.
- Top up with formula – While most mothers and doctors advise to continue breast feeding even if it hurts, sometimes it may not be possible for the mother. Breastfeeding is a personal choice and there are a number of reasons to supplement with formula feeding. If you decide to give your baby the formula milk, don’t feel guilty over it. Ultimately, you will do what is best for you and your little one.
- Pump and feed – If you can’t tolerate the biting anymore but still want to keep giving your baby your breast milk, you can always do so by expressing it with breast pump and feeding through a bottle.
- Make sure you are producing enough milk to satiate your baby’s hunger. She may be biting in an attempt to get more milk, if you are not producing enough for her.
What if your baby refuses formula milk?
- Some babies are not that fond of formula and refuse it straight away at the first offering. But keep trying different brands, different formula feeding timings with your doctor’s advice.
- In the beginning, you can mix some part formula milk with your expressed breast milk and feed it to your baby. As your baby gets used to the taste, she may start liking it. Gradually increase the portion of formula milk into the breast milk.
- Apply some formula milk around your nipple when you breastfeed your baby, to introduce her to the taste of the formula.
- Don’t force your baby to drink formula as she may not yet be ready to let go of the comfort of breastfeeding. Wait for few more days and try to introduce the formula again.
- Don’t formula-feed when she is too hungry. Give her the breast milk when she is crying of hunger and offer the formula milk in between the breast feeds. She is most likely to refuse the formula when she is sleepy or feeling low.
We thank all our SOS moms who replied with very helpful and interesting solutions to this problem that many mothers face.
Prakriti Metikurke, Kiran Aradhya, Priyanka Tmahane, Sujan Patel, Adhunika Prakash, Jas Saini, Shahwar Ali Khan, T M Manzoor Manz, Shalini Agarwal, Rathi Madan, Smita Goswami- Chakraborty, Akshara Bachkheti, Cristyl Murray, Dr. Ritika Gupta, Rachna Somani, Sapna Sunny, Nidhi Jain, Priya Prabu, Dhanya Ranjit, Monika Vasisht, Enakshi Moon Goswami, Asmita Basu Sarkar, Pratibha Tyagi, Radhika Singh, Nisha Singh Bhalwal, Nelopher Hasan and many others.