Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Tips for Biting Babies

on June 18, 2014


Occasionally breastfeeding babies start to clamp their jaws or bite and it can be startling and painful for mum. Other than shrieking, which might be your first reaction, what can you do if this happens to you?

If you have a jaw clamper remember baby has no concept of causing you pain and she isn’t doing this on purpose to torment you. Biting/jaw clamping can be caused by gums tingling due to teething, positioning issues, stuffed up noses or for no discernible reason. Make sure baby’s position allows his head to tilt back rather than having his chin tucked to his chest. Provide safe cold items for chewing between nursings to help the tingling gums.




Some other strategies include:

If she tends to clamp down early in the feeding a bit of breast massage or breast compression can get the milk flowing sooner and get her concentrated on sucking and swallowing.

If he clamps down late in the feeding or as he is falling asleep know that babies can’t suck and bite at the same time and they won’t bite their own tongue. If your little one is in a biting phase, pay attention to baby’s tongue. If it pulls back be prepared to slip a finger in the corner of his mouth to prevent the jaws from closing.


baby on grass


If baby is chomping in mid-feeding or while fully awake try taking baby off the breast immediately and set him gently on the floor. Wait a minute or two (an eternity for a baby) and then pick her up and offer the breast again. This works best when baby is six months or older. For a baby younger than six months pulling him in closer for a moment makes it harder for him to breath and he will relax his jaw and pull back. Both these methods help baby associate biting down with no nursing and as they want to nurse they will avoid the activity that makes the nursing stop.


If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking or Internationally






One response to “Tips for Biting Babies

  1. Amanda says:

    I’ve done it where I set the baby down for a minute or two (with all three babies)… I’ve only been bit a few times with this method!

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