My Beautiful Baby Boy Is Now My Beautiful Biting Baby

149317672If there’s one thing you don’t want your baby to be known as, it’s The Biter. There’s always one in daycare or pre-school or a playgroup, isn’t there? When my daughter was in pre-school there was a boy who was a biter. Whenever my daughter mentions his name, to this day, I’ll say, ‘Oh, The Biter?’ And it’s been eight years!

Let’s face it. If your child is a biter, all the other parents know that your kid is a biter, probably because your kid is coming home from day care with bite marks and you will find out who the kid and their parents are.

And, now, I’m the one who has The Biter. FML. I have proof of this in the form of a photo of baby teeth marks that had remained on my cheek for three days after my own son bit me. So far, my baby has bitten almost everyone in my house.

One night, he was like a pit bull and not only bit my stepdaughter’s finger hard, he refused to let go of her finger. She, too, had teeth marks for the next couple of days on her finger and talk about the mayhem when you see your baby biting your stepdaughter who is crying in pain and parents trying to unlock their baby’s clamped teeth from their other child’s finger. Who knew that when a baby bites and clamps hard, it’s really almost impossible to get them to let go!

The Biter also attacked my daughter. He bit her on her chin, which also left a mark. Biting babies really, really hurt. They are brutal. The Biter does not just take a nibble. He bites, like he’s attacking a well-done steak. So, of course, we couldn’t let this go on. We were running out of Polysporn and Band-Aids and also, it’s just plain wrong to bite.

So, every time, my son looks like, or does, bite someone, we have to yell at him, “NO. NO. NO!” It’s so strange how babies can be so different from one another. My daughter never bit, so I was not prepared to have a Biter come out of me and that I’d be answering questions with, “Yeah, my baby bit me. Yeah, at least his teeth marks are straight.” But, alas, I do. And because he’s not so smart – “No, that is a dog food bowl! That kibble is not for you!” – I don’t think he’ll understand if I tell him, “Just because you have mouthful of teeth now does not mean you can bite humans!”

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You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • FF4life

    Leave it to a mother in law to say all unwanted behavior is your fault.

    • drinkpepsi

      Maybe the mother-in-law feels the baby is neglected because he was allowed to roll off the couch and crash into a glass coffee table.

      And Rebecca blamed the baby instead of herself.

      So much for six people watching him at all times.

    • rebecca eckler

      drink pepsi, are you up for making a new years resolution to stop bashing me? Or at least stop reading me since I seem to get to you so much? In return, I’ll make a resolution for you. And, yes, he is watched all the time. Accidents happen. And his scar makes him look so manly! Happy New Years!

    • FF4life

      Are you sure that isn’t your IRL mother in law cyber stalking you? Drink pepsi is kinda creepy.

    • rebeccca eckler

      My mother in law adores me as I adore her! Drinkpensi stalks me and lies about me constantly. Welcome to the wonderful world of mommy blogging! Most are decent folk! Welcome!

  • Asia Woodley

    Holt the Bol. Love it

  • DoctorMom

    Never had a “people biter,” but my son has major sensory sensitivities and tends to want to bite/chew when he is overstimulated or understimulated. Biting helps him self regulate. Most of his biting/chewing is directed at his sleeves, cuffs, collars and toys. So we got him a “sensory chew tube” (google it) and it has made SUCH a difference. Now he knows he has an outlet for the biting/chewing (he is 3, so is able to say he needs to use it, etc). I am a clinical child psychologist and have seen in my practice as well. Some kids are really sensory-oriented. At this young age, it is OK to give them an appropriate alternative. Saves you from the constant “policing” of the behavior. Check it out! Good luck!

  • pineapplegrasss

    I’m laughing so hard. One of mine was a biter too. And we’d see him going in for the Chomp and all start yelling NONONO! He usually did it when he was excited too. He rec a few baby mouth patpatpats, not hard, but shocking to him. He used to seem so surprised, like he couldn’t understand why we didn’t like it, since it felt sooo good to do lol
    If you pinch that little nerve on the top of their shoulder near the neck, the clamper will let go. It sounds mean, but its not really that painful, just more shocking. I never bit him back and used to get so mad when others suggested that. Maybe that technique could work for an older child idk, but I would never do it. He’ll still freeze in his tracks if he hears me say ‘no bites, no bites, no bites’ in the way I used to. Ahh mommy memories..

    • Annie

      lmfao! That’s awesome.

      Toddlers who bite scare the hell out of me. I was a nanny for a few years with different families, and nothing was worse than having a little person sneak up on you and get you right in the meaty part of the thigh! Damn those vicious little kitten teeth.

    • pineapplegrasss

      Luckily he wasn’t too much of a sneak attacker, but he’d get you on the back or shoulder when you were playing with him and OHMG! How do you shake a baby off your back who’s got a biteful of your flesh clamped between his teeth?

  • Anna

    My grandmother bit my uncle back. He was her fourth child and she just said he wouldn’t stop biting and nothing worked and one time she just bit him back. Nothing scaring and he didn’t cry or anything.

    He never bit anyone again either.

    • Natasha B

      My mom did that to my little sister-once! She was 18mos and bit me hard enough to bleed-mom bit her arm (not hard-no marks) and she was so shocked she never did it again. We still tease her about it lol

    • Alicia

      My Mum bit me when I was younger after I bit my brother quite hard. Certainly not condoning the behaviour and it probably doesn’t work for every kid but I never bit again.

  • Annie

    Just when I was about to suggest covering yourself in hot sauce! That’ll learn ‘em.

    I grew up on a ranch. If one of the horses bit, or tried to bite, we always bit them back.

    • pineapplegrasss

      so funny picturing somebody biting a horse back. I so hope this is a joke :)

    • Annie

      Well, during my dad’s day, they would punch the horse in the nose for biting. He felt bad about it and always taught us that good horsemanship is finding a way to meet the horse halfway when it comes to communication.

      When a horse bites another horse, it’ll either get bitten or kicked. A lot of people “nip back” by cupping their hands and giving the horse a light slap. It’s done in such a way that the noise is startling but doesn’t hurt. We, well, went ahead and used our teeth instead.

      It’s still something I do as a knee-jerk reaction when a horse gets nippy, haha. I don’t bite them back, but I bare my teeth at them and kinda lean forward the way that they do when they’re defending themselves against a nipper. Unless it’s aggressive (which is rarely the case with a bitey horse), they get the message and back off.

      Babies, I’m not so sure about. I’m still sold on the hot sauce option.

    • pixie

      Whenever one of the horses I try to ride tries to bite at me, I’ll usually give it a smack. Not too hard, I don’t want to hurt them, but enough so they know they can’t push me around. If they’re in their stall and grumpy from being kept in because of bad weather it’s just a swipe to the nose (like the noise thing) or if they’re in cross ties and don’t like the girth, it’s more of a smack above their front shoulder at the side, which at times also helps them release some of the air they sucked in. Most of the horses are good, but they have their days, and I’d never hit them for any other reason than if they try to bite or kick me (and really, if they can take a bite or kick from another horse, my open hand isn’t going to do anywhere near the force of that).

      I’m also not really into getting horse hair in my mouth. :P

    • Annie

      lol ikr?

      I use body language with the horses in my life now, but we’ve known each other for so many years that we have that luxury. When I’m riding at someone’s house or with a rented horse, it’s like using someone else’s computer and they use the same OS, but the settings are all weird and not at all what I’m used to.

    • Kay_Sue

      I worked with a trainer that swore by using a hot potato. Wrap your arm in cloth, attach hot potato, encourage horse to bite…

      Don’t think I’d use that on a toddler though.

    • meteor_echo

      I do this with cats. One of mine is a lovely critter but he will always try to chew my hand off. I bite him on the ear and he lets go and looks at me like I just insulted him forever.

    • Jessie

      Yes, I am not the only one who bites my cats back! My husband is convinced that I’m the only psycho in the world who uses my cats’ own body language and behaviors to set them straight.

    • meteor_echo

      I think they at least understand you better when you use their own behaviors to communicate. I hiss at my cats sometimes when they piss me off, I headbutt them when they’re in good mood (the bitey cat loves this), I greet them with a “Mroww” and they respond. Fun stuff :)

    • Jessie

      I do all of those things, too! :) I am a firm believer that animals understand you better when you use their language. It just makes sense, like speaking French to a French person in France. I’ve even begun to pick up canine behaviors from working in a dog kennel for five years, so if my husband thinks I’m a bit crazy NOW… Just wait til he gets that dog he’s always wanted! Ha!

    • meteor_echo

      Lol, I’ve always been that one weird kid who talked to cats. I remember how once I greeted a big fat street cat like that, and he stared at me with wide eyes – “OMG the human just spoke!” :)

    • rebecca Eckler

      My daughter talks to pigeons! So I get it!

    • jendra_berri

      I totally headbutt my cats to say hi. I also lean my nose into theirs with my eyes closed. And I meow at them too, and one particular meow seems to mean, “I’d like to see you,” and they come running.
      Eh, sometimes you have to meet the lesser-brained beast at their own level, whether they be cats or toddlers.

    • Alexandra

      I was thrown off once by a “stopper” (full brakes right before a jump) and according to my dad, I got up and slugged my pony in the face. He thought it was hilarious, but I was always taught not to hit horses in the face, they become so face-shy it’s hard to even get bridles/halters on without them freaking out and thinking you’ll hit them.
      Babies – no idea! Maybe some of that “sour apple” anti-cribbing spray LOL

  • momma425

    My grandma swore by cayenne pepper- she put it on tongues for biting, swearing, and spitting. None of my siblings or I were biters.

    • arrow2010

      These days that would be considered child abuse by the CPS.

    • Andy

      No kidding…it may be effective, but you couldn’t do that now.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      No, no, no, no. My college roommate was given a spoonful of Tabasco every time she was bad, and to this day she and her brother have problems with certain spicy foods – not just disliking it, but being actively anxious about it. Once I made a potato dish with a hint of Tabasco in it and she wouldn’t touch it! Food as a punishment just seems like a really, really bad idea.

    • Simone

      Works with dogs who steal food! Fill a sausage with pepper and leave it temptingly out…

  • Gangle

    I remember when daycare contacted my sister over a biting incident involving her son.. she was soooo relieved when it ended up that her son was the bitee and not the biter.

  • Alicia Kiner

    My mom was of the bite him back school. Luckily I never really had much issues with biting once beyond the initial exploring a new ability phase. I did a firm single finger tap across both lips while saying no. Obviously, slapping a baby does no good, but this technique worked for my kids, and it definitely didn’t hurt them at all. It just gets their attention when they are doing something unacceptable.

  • drinkpepsi

    “So, every time, my son looks like, or does, bite someone, we have to yell at him, ‘NO. NO. NO!’”

    Your generous use of the comma is entertaining.

    Is there no one capable of editing your blog?
    Or would that be too labor intensive?

    • Andy

      Eh, I just read that as emphasizing “No” each time. Sometimes it’s the only way to get through to the little minions.

    • drinkpepsi

      I was talking about the commas, not the periods. There are six commas in that one sentence alone.

      The fact that you have mixed up commas with periods leads me to believe that “Andy” is really the author.

    • Andy

      Nope, not the author, just a sleep deprived new mommy who clearly needs to swap out for new contacts, as I didn’t even see the commas. Now that I see them, I agree it’s overwhelming-although I can see the point she was trying to make.

  • Frances Locke

    “I would certainly never bite my son, even though he looks delicious.” –

    This cracked me up! I don’t get the whole biting your kid back thing, I totally agree with you.

  • Kay_Sue

    I may occasionally consider eating my three year old, but I could not imagine biting him. Weird? Maybe.

    Good luck figuring it out–my little sister was a biter and my mom had a helluva time breaking her of it. Those were dark times for all of us.

  • meteor_echo

    I used to be a biter. This, coupled with mastitis, was the reason why my mother switched to formula – because if it bites the tit that feeds it, it can go eat from something else.
    Also, the biting habit stayed in a dormant form – in elementary school, we had this little sociopath who tried to set my face on fire with a lighter (and had a shit-eating grin as he did so). I kicked him in the balls and bit him on the forearm. Never again did the little crapsack try to do anything to me.

    • Simone

      Let’s be friends.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    I think screaming out of the shock of being bit is fairly effective. Her advice book said not to panic/scream, but that’s dumb. Panic! Scream! They should know if they bite a human, that human is going to scream like a fucking siren. It should startle them out of it, and after a few times of that, they’ll learn not to bite. (We did this with my kid; it worked).

  • Tresj

    Sorry, you lost me when you compared your precious little biter to my dog, a Pit Bull, who has never bitten anyone in her life.

  • thenangelasaid

    If he’s biting and won’t let go, pinch his nostrils shut. He’ll let go right away so he can breathe. I was scared to try it on my little one, but it worked right away. He hasn’t bitten since either, it really just surprised him and then went back to playing.

  • Jack

    I would like to read a study on biting babies. The information might be useful. Do biting babies growup to meaner adults or does it increase the chance they might be psychopaths?

    • Simone

      What? WAT

  • jendra_berri

    The bite your kid back thing… well, my BIL was a biter growing up and his parents asked their doctor what to do. He told them as bad as it sounded, to bite him back so he’d A. know what it felt like when he did it, and B. realized it wouldn’t be worth it to do it again.
    My FIL did it, bit his son (Without breaking the skin, mind you) and the kid never bit again. Personally? I think it’s fair enough advice. It worked, didn’t it? And anyway, it’s a good life lesson that you can’t be a dick to people without payback.
    Sure, as human beings we’d like to be more evolved and reasoned and such. But this is parenting. Give high-minded things a try and then just do what works.