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By Jo-Anne Lawless, HCA, LC
Q. My 3 month old son has started to bite me. It usually happens near the end of a feeding, and he will slip down off the areola and onto the nipple and before I notice it he bites down really hard with his gums. OUCH! He doesn't have any teeth but boy does it hurt. A couple of times I even jumped and screamed (and scared poor Will to death!). He did it about three hours ago and my nipple is still sore! How can I get him to stop this before he gets teeth. I want to nurse for 12-18 months but I don't know if I can take it if he keeps doing this once he has teeth.
A. Teeth are coming . . . it feels great to the baby to use you as a teething ring, but not so great on the receiving end!
Now, I know you feel badly about having screamed and frightened poor Will, but this is actually the beginning of learning socially (and physically) acceptable behaviour. I'm not saying that every time he does something you don't like you should frighten him, but he has received a message: 'this action creates a negative response.' So don't feel badly~you have done a natural thing.
Some women find that when the baby starts chomping down like that, if you bring the baby close enough to you (totally against what you feel like doing, which is drawing quickly away), so that you cover his nose with your breast, he will release you in order to take a breath. I think every nursing mother goes through this stage, and this seems to be the kindest way to dissuade the babe from causing you pain.
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