How to stop your vampire baby biting you when breastfeeding

Right now I’m taking a break from an American Gods binge with a Domino’s and bloodshot eyes to tell you this: I feel sorry for myself because my baby won’t stop biting me when breastfeeding.

This evening she has bitten me so much while breastfeeding her to sleep that I ended up crying on the stairs and making my partner take over bedtime.

Luckily, baby Iyra is now asleep in a pram in front of episode 7, after he pushed her back and forth for the whole of episode 6. Because other than our buggy back up, the ONLY way I’ve ever got her to sleep in 11 months is breastfeeding.

And right now I’m scared to let her anywhere near me.

Biting isn’t a new thing. She got teeth super early at 4 months and had 8 teeth by about 6 months, which is when we first had a bitey zombie stage. After realising that saying OUCH, jumping, screaming or moving quickly made her giggle and clamp down even harder, Google told me to stay calm and gently push her face into me so she would break the clamp to breathe.

That worked — and it works for most people — so then I’d do my best sad face and turn my back on her so she associates that killer move with a milk veto. She’d then stop laughing, start crying and I’d eventually let her carry on feeding, with no gnashers.

Until the next bite. This went on for a good couple of weeks before I almost threw in the breastfeeding towel. But I persisted, and it eventually worked worked. I got fully back into breastfeeding and enjoyed every single pain-free second of it again. For a few months.

Then you guessed it, bitey mcbite face came back with a vengeance. And here I am, surrounded by pizza crust and tears, this time genuinely on the brink of giving up breastfeeding. Or at least pumping and letting her bite the shit out of plastic instead.

But here’s the problem with that. I love breastfeeding. It brings me even closer to my baby and relaxes us both. Plus I’m lazy so I avoid pumping, sterilising and all the yada yada that goes with it.

So what else can I try? Here are a few more ideas from our expert friends Tawnya and Lilly from Merryweather Consultants on how to tame your vampire:

1) Unlatch le bebe – We love Google when a simple search shows us we are not alone, but not always for the free “advice.” Our technique is a simple one. Gently insert your index finger between babe and your breast to break the “seal.” Do this immediately when she or he bites, because biting should never = milk! [Just make sure you don’t poke their eye instead like I did this morning in my half awake state in bed — Cle]
2) Find your zen and hold on to it! – You gotta stay calm. Most of us find this out the hard way, but any reaction tends to get our clever babies doing this over and over again. Keep your face and voice as neutral as possible with a firm, but calm “No milk,” when you unlatch. Curse freely in your head and make a mental note to demand your partner mix a good cocktail after bedtime.
3) Tune in – Watch closely, and we bet your little one gives a little clue before they bite. If your baby is actively nursing, their tongue covers the lower gums/teeth. To bite, they have to change this position and you may even feel their jaws move or adjust slightly. If you notice this, get in there and unlatch before they go to work on you! Take a pause, deep breath, and only if they seem hungry, go again.
Mamas, you got this. We love you, and your boobs. It’s gonna be ok. XO – Tawnya and Lilly.

Well that’s given me something to chew on. I’ll keep you updated on the worst adaptation of Twilight ever, mamas. But if you have any gentle tips, hit us up on WokeMamas@gmail.com or #WokeMamas on Instagram. Ouch.

UPDATE: Day 2 of no bites thanks to no.3 above. I’ve been watching the little tongue like a hawk and when it goes she gets ejected. I’ve also cut down feeds to when she really wants them — like flashing me on the bus wants them. And ending them before she gets bored. The end of bites is in sight. Sigh.

Cle x

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Merryweather Consultants, who design breast pumping programs for working moms and family friendly companies.

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