Biting, pinching and pulling hair are part of a child’s normal development . While it may be a surprise for parents to have a baby biting it is important to know how to cope.
By reacting calmly and constructively , it is possible to teach your child the most appropriate ways to act.
Why Do Babies and Young Children Do This?
For babies, biting can be a consequence of teething . At this stage, itchy gums lead to bites to relieve. Other times the baby biting does not realize what it is doing. It usually happens in about 4 to 12 months.
Older children bite to experiment and explore the environment. In this way, the bite helps to solve developmental curiosities. For example, the child bites and then watches to see what the mother will do.
If the mother laughs or joins a game, she can try again to see if she gets the same reaction. If the mother gets angry, the child may be fascinated by the extreme reaction, which can also cause her to try again.
Also, the biting baby may be irritated, upset or in pain . Sometimes it is easier for him to do that than using words to say what is bothering him.
Some babies may bite because they are imitating something they saw in other children, or because other children did with them.
How to Deal with Baby Biting?
It is normal to feel irritated when the baby hurts you, but your reaction to the baby’s biting behavior can influence your child’s attitudes in the future.
When the mother becomes calm and develops a constructive way of dealing with the situation, it helps the baby to learn about appropriate behavior. A calm reaction from the mother is the first step in promoting positive behavior in the future.
How to Control Baby Bites?
How the mother handles the baby biting will depend on the child’s age.
For babies from 1 to 12 months
Bite at the end of a feeding: the bite often occurs at the end of a feeding when the baby is getting bored and is no longer hungry. If the mother starts to have a problem with the baby biting, it is important to watch for signs of boredom, in order to be able to get the baby out of the breast before the bites start. Also, observe the tension in the baby’s jaw before he starts to bite.
Early teething: Problems with the baby biting can also be caused by teething. If the baby seems to want to bite instead of feeding, ideally offer him a toy or something cold to bite. Offer a teething toy after a bite or keep it close.
Bite at the beginning of a feeding: if the baby is biting at the beginning of a feeding, make sure that the handle is correct. If your baby already has a teething and is biting at the beginning of a feeding, try giving him a teething toy or something cold to bite on before breastfeeding. Praise him when he correctly grasps the beak without biting.
Distracted baby: When the baby is distracted, do not force a feeding. If he is twisting, or pushing against you, he may not be hungry or interested in breastfeeding. Try to lie with him in a quiet room, walk or rock him.
Attention bite: Focus your attention on the baby during breastfeeding if you have a bite problem. Some older babies will bite to get attention. Keeping an eye on the baby biting will also help him to be aware of when he is about to take another bite.
What to do when the baby bites?
If the baby bites, it is not a good idea to scream or scream on purpose as a method to stop biting, there are better ways to teach the baby not to bite.
Sometimes, of course, it is impossible not to cry out in pain if the baby catches you by surprise or if the baby biting causes you great pain. Sometimes, screaming prevents the baby from biting again; however, some think it is so funny that they continue to bite to see the reaction.
Others will be so frightened that they don’t want to breastfeed anymore . The chance that this method will interrupt the baby’s bite is simply not worth the trouble it can cause.
For babies over 12 months
The baby is developing action and reaction , the baby biting is probably just experiencing what the environment allows him at that moment.
If the mother gives the child a verbal response, she is clearly telling her that she does not like what she is doing. This answer, for example, can be: ‘No’.
The next step is to take his mouth off and walk away. When the mother does this, it takes the attention away from the behavior. The baby will repeat the behavior that draws your attention.
So, as soon as the child shows positive behavior, for example, hugging or cuddling, it is important to reward him with a lot of attention and enthusiasm.
Managing Bites in Young Children
If the child bites other people, finding out the reason for their behavior is the first step. This means thinking about the possible causes of the baby biting. Analyzing this attitude and seeing the way in which parents react to this situation may be aggravating this practice.
For example, if the child is biting because he cannot find words to explain his feelings , yelling at him will not help. Instead, you need to remain calm on the outside, even if you don’t feel calm on the inside. This will teach the baby biting how to deal with the frustration.
Often, this kind of childish behavior is to get attention. Therefore, diverting the child’s attention sends a very powerful message about how they are feeling. For example, parents can walk away from it.
If the child continues to bite, show that he is still in control. Stay calm by telling her briefly how her behavior makes you feel. It is possible to explain that biting can have consequences as a means of correction.
Words that express feelings can also be used with the child, for example: “You seem to be angry!”, This can help him learn to use them in the future. It is necessary to persist several times for the child to learn.
If the child bites someone else’s child, stay calm and quickly come in with an apology to the child and the other parent. Talk to the child, you can say: ‘No! Biting hurts’. Then, remove it from the situation for a brief time.
Depending on how upset the other child is, a short note or text to the parent to apologize can also help.
Some children continue to bite, no matter how much effort they make to manage their behavior. If the parents feel frustrated, exhausted or angry about the baby biting, or if the child’s behavior worries them so much that they stop doing things they used to do , such as seeing friends or going to the stores, it is a good idea to get some help.
The pediatrician can help, or if it is still not enough, you can refer her to a child psychologist . This specialist can help you find out if there is a reason for your child’s behavior that needs an additional assessment or specific treatment plan.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.