Emma Howard discusses the topic of breastfeeding babies that bite.
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Emma Howard: Hello! I'm Emma Howard and we're talking about breastfeeding here on the Baby Channel. With me is Heather Welford from the NCT, you are a Breastfeeding Counselor and sitting next to us today we've got Deborah with seven-and-a-half month old Anna. You've had a really good experience with breastfeeding, haven't you? You had an easy time and easier the most people I've come across, and yet you sought the help of a breastfeeding advice group. Why was that? Deborah Powers: Because when she was just under six months, she got her first tooth, well she got two teeth within a week. And it was okay for the first two or three weeks and then we had to face biting. Emma Howard: And that's very painful, isn't it? Deborah Powers: Yeah. During most feeds, her tongue actually sits on top of her teeth, so it doesn't hurt at all because she covers it herself, but I think she was experimenting and she was biting and dragging and it was really very painful. So I went in and asked for some advice about what to do? How to manage it? Emma Howard: And did you find talking to other mothers who had been through the same thing just invaluable? Deborah Powers: Yeah, yeah. I mean to have somebody who has actually breastfeed and say oh, yeah that must be - because I don't really -- Emma Howard: To grimace the way you did. Deborah Powers: Yes. That was very useful and touchwood it should be something that's gone away now. I have had it occasionally since -- but I'm told just to say no and to try and pull her away. Emma Howard: It's an interesting concept, isn't it, Heather that we're all told to pull our babies off the breast and look at them very firmly and say no, because some mothers say, but they are too young to understand this concept. Heather Welford: I think it's not so much pulling off, it is gently removing. I'm sure you were told to do this Deborah. Just gently remove and saying no. Emma Howard: But that's hard too isn't it? Gently removing when you've been bitten, because your reaction is to do it much more quickly. Deborah Powers: Yeah, so I put my finger into her mouth and she bites and then gradually pull away. Or the other thing I've tried is to pull her nearer so that she opens her mouth wider and she let's go herself. Emma Howard: That's a good idea. Deborah Powers: But I haven't had to do this too much. So I don't really know which is more effective. Emma Howard: So the idea though is not got with your instinct which is to go oh, and yank them all. That really must be avoided. Heather Welford: Yeah. Emma Howard: Easier said than done, isn't it? Heather Welford: I know, but it's great that Deborah found some mothers who tried that and it worked for them. It's good I think that we've got a lot of breastfeeding support groups up and down the country. And if mothers need to know where there nearest one is their health visitor or their baby clinic should know what is there, perhaps round the corner from them. If you're from the family where your mom or your sisters and your friends perhaps haven't breastfed and you're doing it on your own, this is a good way of finding other people who've gone through perhaps the same thing as you, and it gives you the good chance to have a break and babies like socializing often. Emma Howard: Yes and we could see Anna certainly. Heather Welford: Yeah. Emma Howard: But in the early stage, I mean lots of people think if they go at the beginning they have problems. You often have problems at the beginning of breastfeeding. It's the most likely time for lot of difficulties. Heather Welford: That's true. Emma Howard: But here is an example of somebody who went when they were further down the road. Heather Welford: It's a good place where people can go and then know that even if they're breastfeeding an older baby, perhaps that's a new thing for them. There will be other people there who are doing the same thing and it's like Deborah says, it's an informal supportive friendly atmosphere. Emma Howard