BEHAVIOUR, MORE TIPS

How to Gently Stop a Baby Biting You and Others

Chapters

  1. Why do babies bite?
  2. What to do if a baby bites you or someone else?
  3. How to stop baby biting in the long-term
  4. What causes a child to bite?
  5. What to do if a child bites you?
  6. How to stop a child from biting


A baby biting is a natural part of a child’s development. If your little one has started practising this less than desirable behaviour there are ways you can prevent biting from becoming a habit. Stick with us and we’ll tell you why babies and toddlers bite because understanding the reason is your first step to beating biting. Then we’ll share how to stop future chomps on you and others.

child with curly hair looking at the camera

Why do babies bite?

 

Babies have an enormous new world to explore where everything has to be learned and often by trial and error. As you’ve probably experienced with your little one, lots of things go into their mouths that definitely shouldn’t! 

Here are the main reasons that babies bite:

👶 They’re teething - ouch, with every tooth that comes through babies get swollen gums and chomping down on something relieves the pain. 

👶 Checking things out - since putting foreign objects in their mouths is nearly a sport, it makes sense that they bite on everything to investigate further. 

👶 They’re frustrated - because babies can’t express themselves using words, biting is just one way they can tell you something is wrong or they’re not happy. 

 

What to do if a baby bites you or someone else?

 

If a baby bites you or someone else, remove your baby’s mouth from the “victim” and tell your baby a firm “no” out loud. Immediately after, you should offer your baby something to bite on e.g. dummy, teething toy, etc. You can also try to distract your baby with a toy or a song.

 

How to stop baby biting in the long-term

 

The first thing that you need to remember is that your baby doesn’t bite you to hurt you, they are upset or need something. However, scolding your baby for something they have no idea is wrong isn’t the answer and means you can’t 💯% eradicate the behaviour unless you take matters into your own hands. 

The good news is that you can help prevent your baby from biting using some simple solutions:

🤗 Always react in the same way when your baby does bite to help change their future behaviour. Work through all of the tricks in the section above. 

🤗 Whenever your baby is teething give them a dummy or teething toy to help relieve the pain and keep them occupied. 

🤗 Make sure that your baby has everything they need e.g. happy full belly, is a comfortable temperature, etc. 

You’ll no doubt be very relieved when your baby stops biting you (or others). When you do manage to break the habit long-term, well done you 🙌. But please don’t be dismayed if your little angel reverts back to biting when they’re a toddler. This is common and we also have some tips for this and will look at why a 1 year old biting is different to a 4 year old biting.

What causes a child to bite?

 

Toddlers biting is a different story. Usually, they have different motives for biting than babies do. Up to 25% of children will bite at some stage, mostly between the ages of 2 and 3. 

If you have a toddler who bites, here are some possible reasons why:

👾 They are looking for attention

👾 They may just be over-excited

👾 They may use it as a defence

👾 They are using it to control others

What to do if a child bites you?

 

Many people believe that if your child or another one bites you, it helps to bite back (softly!) and show the biter how it feels. If you do this though, you are showing aggressive behaviour which you’re trying to stop your child from doing. 🔥

The best thing to do is calm yourself down for a few seconds before discussing the incident with them. Find out why they did it, explain why it was wrong, and how they could handle the situation next time. 

How to stop a child from biting

 

If your toddler bites, you need to address it so they don’t become a serial biter.

Here are ways to manage your toddler and help prevent future incidents:

💥 Identify any patterns you notice when your child bites (e.g. they’re tired) and create a strategy to avoid the issue to reduce the possibility of biting recurring. 

💥 Help teach them to control their frustrations and discuss their emotions with them and how to act in the future.

💥 If your toddler is biting for attention use fun incentives as positive reinforcements and give them plenty of praise for every day that they don’t bite. 

💥 Buy a children’s book about biting and read it to them so they understand from someone else’s point of view why what they are doing is not acceptable and how it hurts others in plain kid’s language. 

Now you’re equipped with everything you need to know to stop your baby biting. Enjoy these special, precious years and don’t forget to focus on all of the good stuff. This is all that you’ll remember in years to come anyway. 

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