How to handle biting

My son does this all the time and we all know Biting hurts. At this age, however, it’s very unlikely your baby does it out of anger. Babies often bite because they’re teething and may be seeking some pain relief. Some advice for you:

Play it cool: Hard as it may be, try not to shriek loudly, a response your baby might find interesting and then try to re-create by biting again. Babies this age won’t understand too much discipline, so use simple statements and actions. Try a simple “No!” or “Ow!” and a firm “No biting” or “That hurts Mommy.” Then show your disapproval by physically separating yourself briefly from your baby. If your baby bites someone else, don’t pick him or her up – pay attention to the bitten person instead. Ignoring your baby is the only “punishment” needed at this age.

Be consistent: Let your baby know that biting is always wrong, even if it’s done playfully or as part of a kiss.

What not to do: Don’t smile or laugh at a bite, which signals it’s okay and encourages more biting. Never bite back to “show how it feels.” Your baby won’t understand this. Your baby learns by watching you, and you don’t want him or her to copy the behavior again.

Watch for teething: If your baby’s biting due to teething pain, offer something else to chew on, such as a cold teething ring or damp washcloth.

Finally, keep biting in check by making sure your baby’s needs are met – that he or she is getting sufficient sleep and is well fed. If your baby is stressed or overstimulated, take some “quiet time” and help him or her self-soothe.

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