All babies tug and clamp. Some occasionally bite. This is normal and usually a nuisance but not generally a major problem. Have your baby examined and weighed by a health-care provider if these behaviours do not settle.
1) Normal babies
This can happen if the baby is uncomfortable and:
2) Normal older babies
Some babies just misbehave a bit at the breast. Older babies may tug, clamp, or bite if:
- They are distracted and suddenly look around without letting go.
- They pull away from the breast without releasing the suction first.
- They just want to experiment and see what happens when they clamp or bite down.
- They have teething pain.
- They are self-weaning and are being pushed to breastfeed.
3) Other situations
If babies tug, clamp, or bite at most feeds, there may be a breastfeeding problem.
a) A low milk supply
A baby may act up at the breast if the milk supply is low. Other worrying signs include the baby:
- Being unhappy, frustrated, or whiny while feeding.
- Feeding frequently.
- Being generally unhappy.
- Showing other signs of not getting enough milk.
b) A latching problem
Tugging, clamping, and biting can be caused by:
c) Abnormal teeth
Babies with abnormal teeth may cause nipple pain and damage.