Baby clamping down on nipple

I am nursing my 12-week-old. She has started clamping down on my nipple during some of our nursing sessions. Since she is too young to understand that it hurts me, how can I show her not to do this? I do not want to discontinue nursing. I have nursed my other two children and neither of them have ever bitten me.


Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Do you have a very abundant milk supply? Your baby may be clamping down on your nipple to help slow your milk flow.

It is very important to maintain proper positioning and attachment throughout a feed. Even if oversupply is not an issue for you, incorrect positioning and attachment of your baby at breast can cause her to feel she is not being well supported, and is losing hold. To maintain attachment, she may clamp down on your nipple.

When your baby starts out a feed properly positioned, and maintains it during a feed, it is very difficult for her to clamp down on your nipple. Your nipple is safely positioned far back within her mouth.

When breastfeeding, your little one needs to be taking in a good mouthful of your breast tissue. Her nose and chin should be resting gently on your breast throughout the feed. If you notice she begins to slide down your nipple, immediately break suction, gently, by placing a finger in between her gums. Then encourage her to latch on again, this time taking in a good mouthful of breast.

If a very abundant milk supply is playing a part, you may find the suggestions in my letter, Overabundant Milk Supply, to be helpful. It is possible to get your milk supply more in sync with your baby's needs.

If this problem continues don't waste any time. I would recommend working with an IBCLC, so you and your little one can begin breastfeeding comfortably again. My very best wishes for comfortable feeds!

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