Biting While Nursing

Q: “My 1-year-old daughter is still nursing but has suddenly begun to bite me while nursing! Worst of all, she has a big grin after hearing me yelp. Should I wean her to stop this painful behavior?”

A: First, congratulations on nursing for a full year, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your daughter is, like all 1-year-olds, exploring cause and effect and has probably discovered that she can make you jump whenever she wants by using her teeth when nursing.

She doesn’t realize that she is causing you pain, but is enjoying the instant and dramatic response to her action.

The next time she nurses, if possible, take her off the breast after she is satiated but before she has a chance to nip you. If she does nip you again, take her off and, rather than yelping, firmly tell her “no!” Then end the nursing session.

There is no need to wean her, but do teach her that this behavior is not funny and not allowed.

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