Some Days, Parenting Bites!

It's not easy being the baby of the family.

Some days, it's just down right hard.

Just ask my third child.

She is carted all over town.  Many days, I have to wake her from nap time to pick up or take my older kids to their activities. 

She is exposed to toys and choking hazards daily.  Every person in our family has done the finger swipe to clear tiny objects from slipping into her esophagus.

She is not enrolled in a toddler music class or a tot program. Because I'm mean.  And let's just face it, I don't plan to, until she asks.

If her pacifier hits the floor, it's not even cleansed with spit.  Odds are, it's not even wiped off.

She can stand up to have her diaper changed, if I'm in a hurry.  Which I am.  In a hurry.

Her favorite food is fast and favorite drink is generally the one NOT in a sippy cup.

And her favorite phrase?  "Let's go."

Because we do.  All the time.

She has come up with a new way of getting some attention in this crazy family.  It stops us all in our tracks.

And oh, she makes her mark.


[insert picture here]  This is where I show you a picture of the BITE mark on my upper thigh area.  But if you think you're going to see my upper thigh, you're kidding. 

It's for your protection.  Seriously.

I thought she was going to hug my leg.

It turns out she was still hacked off that I pried her sibling's Capri Sun from her sticky hands.

And now, when our sweet baby leans in for a kiss or puts her arms up to be held, do you know what I do?


So, how do you stop an 18 month old from biting?   

Because being bit, bites.

I googled for an answer.  I came across these tips from here.

    1) Firmly say "No bite!" and remove the biting child offender from the situation. 

    2) Administer an appropriate consequence such as removal of the toy or a time-out for a biting child. 

    3) Lavish positive attention on the bitten person. 

    4) Use distraction between young kids and watch their interaction closely to avoid placing youngsters--especially one to be known to be a biting child--in a conflict situation. 

    5) Resist the temptation to bite a biting child back as a way to "show them" their wrongs. Use a positive approach instead. You don't want your toddler telling his teacher that he bites because that's what his parents do!
Yeah, #5 got me, so, we stopped biting her and that seems to help.  
For more great tips, visit Works For Me Wednesday.
P.S.  Between writing this and pushing the publish button, she bit me again.  On the shoulder.  Another fake hug.  So, I'm open to suggestions.


Brittany said...

Rawhide? Mouth guard? Bitter apple applied to your entire body? I wish I had an answer, in the mean time, want to compare toddler wounds?


Monkey Giggles said...

hi, found your blog through twittter. I will be back. I won't bite I promise.

cajungal01 said...

Oh goodness...I am SO sorry you are going through this. My son too was a biter for a while. Thankfully he DID grow out of it, but it was a painful time. All of the things you listed are the same suggestions I found, can't say that any of them worked any magic. I do think it helped that one time a little girl bit him, on the face, and hard. I think that may have helped a little. Other than that he finally caught on that he got in trouble when he bit. He's not a real quick learner though...
Glad you stopped biting back at least. That's a step in the right direction.

Dawn said...

Well, I was gonna say bite her back... but apparently that is NOT the correct answer!

Donna @ Thirsty? said...

I love brittany's comment about applying bitter apple to your whole body. haha! Thanks for the tips!

Julie said...


My son was a biter too, and this really worked for us:

Put your finger over the top of the bottle and shake it (so you just get a tiny drop on your finger). Rub it on her tongue.

She may never love spicy food! But seriously, this was easy and quick to administer, (you can even keep a little bottle in the car), and linked the punishment with the offense... in the mouth.

Good luck!

Daiquiri said...

I remember when my oldest went through a biting phase too. The first time he bit, my shocked respose was a lauging "He actually BIT me!" But this "positive" reaction just made things worse.

I remember flinching and getting goose-bumps up the back of my neck every time the poor kid would lean in for a kiss!

Eventually, we settled on swift and very angry voice "NO!", and then off to an immediate time-out.

If it happened again, we...okay...I'm gonna say the s word...ready?....we spanked. Yes, in certain situations where a child willfully chooses to physically harm another person, we spank. Not a smack 'em on the rear so hard that their feet come of the ground kind of spank...a walk to the other room for privacy, two controlled swats to a diapered bum, a time out, and then lots of hugs and kisses.

Don't call the people on me, please.

It worked for us...

Best of luck!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

OUCH!! I think Daiquiri's suggestion is the best. My son only bit a couple of times so I really don't have any good tips.

Kristen M. said...

I've tried all those techniques. Thankfully my son seems to have outgrown his biting (self protection mechanism?). One friend swears by washing her child's mouth out with soap. Her child may have stopped biting but based on other behavioral issues, I can't say it did the trick.

World's Greatest Mommy said...

We had a naughty corner that we would put my daughter in each time she bit someone. We also followed most of the other tips.

But I know what you mean about cringing when they lean in for a kiss.

Beachy Mimi said...

Ouch! Hope that works out for you soon.

P.S. He loves you... said...

That's so true..and I did use #5 and still do when I need attention!

Funny post girl, where do you come up with this stuff!

Kelsey said...

Ouch No suggestions here but I hope you find one!

Jamie said... suggestions from me, but I hope you can get it resolved soon. I'd hate for you to have to wear a swim suit with bite marks in various places on your body.

bunchofbull-ers! said...

Im sorry, but two of my three kids were biters! And with the first I tried all kinds of things & she stopped when I finally bit her back. So when my sweet son decided to latch onto my breast a few times with his teeth...I did it again. I bit him. Just once is all it took. (He was a toddler, not a baby BTW!!) Oh, and I obviously didn't take a piece of flesh bite, just enough to get their attention that biting hurts ;o)

Threeundertwo said...

My son was a biter for a while. I used to react really LOUDLY; "OUCH!!!! Biting hurts!!" and then "we don't bite!" I think the level my voice achieved really scared him.

No reason to grin and bear it. Let them know they've done something terribly painful. Wish I could remember which book I got this tip from . Dr. Sears maybe.

Kendrawolf said...

My grandson is a biter. His other grandma bites him back and this has not helped. I'm not sure what to tell you. I know that they outgrow it eventually. Don't see too many adults going around biting. Hmmm, that does make me wonder if Mike Tyson was a biter when he was a toddler.

Anonymous said...

Really, can you blame her?

Lorraine said...

The one thing that worked, for both my mom (when my baby sister bit her) and me (when the little guy had a problem with biting) - pop on the head. Not hard... but enough to get the kid's attention.

See, my sister bit my mom while she driving. Back in the days when it was cool to let your 3 yr old sit in the center of the front seat of your station wagon, esp since you had a car-load full of daycare kids. As they were driving down the road, baby sis bit into mom's arm. Mom didn't think, just reacted. She swatted my sis on the head to get her off the arm. Later she said she would have reacted differently if she wasn't driving and had had time to think. But it was effective. Sis didn't bite anyone else, ever again.

My turn, when the baby (again with the youngest... I think you're onto something with the craving attention thing) started biting, we tried everything, time outs, talking to him, the whole bit. I could never bite him though, he's just too sweet. but one day he caught me off guard, and I just instinctively reacted. A swat on the top of the head, and he never bit again. Again, not something I would have done if I had been thinking clearly, but it was very effective. He stopped biting.

Good luck with yours.

Happy Mommy said...

My second child was the biter in the group... I was a horrible time! I didn't know what to do, time out never worked, spanking him didn't either. It took some time but after a few weeks and a few bruises later he stopped. I hope your cutie stops biting quick!

Kim @ What's That Smell? said...

I'm really glad my son never did this!
I still have my daughter to look forward to.....
Good luck figuring this out, and make sure you let us know what WORKS!
I need to gather as much info as possible for future reference!

Christie O. said...

my infant had a biting problem while nursing (ouch!) for a little while. i would say "no bite!" then turn him around facing the other way. one time i did this, and after i said "no bite!" my two year old came over and bit me on the leg.


anyway, the biting in our house has since stopped but the no bite and turning the baby around seems to have worked so if a 5 month old got the message, it should work for yours! Hopefully?

MoziEsmé said...

I'm the youngest of five - now I know why I turned out the way I did . . .

My baby bites, too. And the worst part is afterwards she looks up at me with a grin, shakes her finger at me, and says "Ba[d]" - just like I was doing with her. And it makes me laugh, so of course she doesn't take me seriously.

Let us know if you come up with a solution!

Anonymous said...

The first couple of times, we said "No biting!" and then we just started ignoring it...which was really hard. But once she stopped getting a reaction, the novelty had passed and she stopped...

Rena Gunther said...

This is going to shock those who know me...but I was a biter.

Don't attack when I say this (I'm ducking...)- my Mom used hot sauce.

My biting apparently had gotten out of hand. No mothers would let their children play with me. Not even the little boys' moms! I didn't seem to care. Just carried on with my stuffed animals and baby dolls.

I'm not necessarily saying this is the best choice. I will say this: when putting something in the mouth, make sure it's food, or biodegradable or whatever. No soap. Can you say, "diarreah"?

You don't have to use hot sauce, you can use vinegar. It will not burn, but it won't be very tasty!

Just keep praying on it. Different things have obviously worked for different people. And not all children are alike. God will confirm to you what to do.

Remember, "this, too, shall pass".

Rena Gunther said...


Just read through the comments...I see my Mom wasn't the ONLY mom to use tobasco.
I like what was said that it connects the offense to the mouth.
And spanking, though it is very controversial. Well, "foolishness IS bound in the heart of the child. AND, the rod of correction WILL drive it far from him."
Yes, the rod could mean many things.
What I learned through the years is that consistency is KEY. Nothing will work if we don't stick with it.
Knowing your child best, and knowing that God is faithful to confirm to you what to will find the best choice for her. Just stick with it! She will likely buck at first.\
But again, it will pass...

Memarie Lane said...

LOL I remember reading all those chintzy tips when my son was biting at about 12 months. "No bite" indeed. Ha! How 'bout a nice firm smack on the tush. Works like a charm.

HomeSchool Mommy said...

I just posted about this yesterday...basically, because everyone at the OTHER site that had posted about biting was commenting 'bite them back'!! I HATE that and do NOT believe it works.

Anyway...I posted about biting, if you're interested...

Angela said...

Hi. Found your blog through a friend's. My middle child was a biter and a hitter. I couldn't find anything that worked until one day I lost it and started crying. For real. A mommy fit. She was devastated that she had really hurt me! It worked. I've also noticed that when she starts to act out in this way, she is really needing some extra attention. Which is hard to give when you are scared of physical harm but worth it when it works! BTW, she is not so physical now but has developed a very loud whine/scream to get our attention and it makes me want to climb the walls...almost wish she would just hurt me...Just Kidding, I think.

Mom of TWO Princesses said...

LMBO... don't you just "love" this stage/age? Thankfully, my oldest didn't bite & my youngest, bit once... my scream was all it took. Thankfully!

Now, can you tell me how to stop her from spitting & sticking her tongue out!? LOL

Tara said...

Ack. Sorry to hear about your dilemma.

I'm equally sorry to hear that there are so many "bite her back" supporters out there. That was my mom's solution, too, when our baby started biting (hard! as you well know) around 9 months. I don't follow the "bite her back" logic at all, so I found my own solution. It was important to me to that model good adult behavior, while still making her stop biting.

People laughed at me, but I did pretty much what your tips suggest. When she bit me, I pulled her (five clenched teeth) from me, said "NO BITE. HURT MOMMA." in a stern voice. I made sure no one laughed or reacted at all. I sat her down a few feet away and totally ignored her for two whole minutes. That part was tough. After the two minutes (that felt like an eternity), I would say something like "You hurt Momma. Don't do that again." and then go on as normal.

I did that consistently, starting with the second time she bit me. She did it six or seven times total before she quit.

Lisa J said...

I thankfully did not have a biter baby, but I do NOT believe in washing the mouth out with soap. I don't believe in that at all. But I think a swift spank either to the leg or bottom will let the child know right then, that what they just did was wrong. It is hard to "reason" with such a young child. They are so precious, and you are a good mommy, so I know you will find the right way to deal with this. And then you will once again share your wisdom with the rest of us. Thank you for sharing. And good luck!

misty said...

I went through the biting phase as well, with my toddler. I think she got me good about 5 times. Once, even brought blood. I did the 'NO' bite thing. It worked after about a month. lol. Good luck.

Runningamuck said...

I soooo feel your pain! All of our kids have gone through the same biting stage, at about the same age. I take that back, I think Poppett was never a biter but that is probably because she was the first child and had no need to bite for attention! She got everything handed to her on a silver platter (just kidding!)

Anyway, what we always do is flick their mouth with our fingers while saying "No!" in a very stern voice. The flick on the lips can offer a nice sting without doing it hard. And it's easy to do, your fingers are always on hand. Get it?! "on HAND"! Man I crack myself up this morning.

It's worked for us. Hope you can nip this in the bud before you get too chewed on. =0)

Suzie said...

As a daycare director I deal with this all the time. My advice is... nothing... there is nothing you can do. It will pass until then leather chaps may help protect your leg or Brittanies suggestions of a mussel(although we cant do that here). I hope it passes quickly

Anonymous said...

Well....good luck! :)

What I did was actually GASP and kind-of SCREAM loud enough to scare my kids and they didn't like that so they never ever bit me again.

It worked for me....might was well give it a try! :)

SAHMmy Says said...

I feel your pain--literally. My 21-month-old throws herself against my legs and clamps down right on the thin inner thigh skin. I'm a flincher now too. Hilarious post!

Stacey said...

Hi there...Love your blog - it is precious!

Not sure if anyone has already suggested this or not, but as cruel as it may seem...I've always heard that a small bit of Tabasco sauce on their tongue (each time they do it) will break them of biting.

Best wishes!

Stacey @ Kisses from the Father

Cindy said...

I'm with Daiquiri (now several comments back).

We believe that negative behaviors should be addressed, even if there is a "reason" why they may be happening. A child needs a definite message that certain things are not appropriate or tolerated!

However, any time our children exhibit acting-out types of behaviors, we do take a step back and make sure that we, as parents, are meeting their needs for love and affection in a way they best receive. (I recommend "The Five Love Languages of Children" by Gary Chapman for more on this).

We need to make sure that we are doing our part in proactively addressing needs AND teaching and training our children, thus circumventing many negative behaviors.

And of course, sometimes biting is just a phase and hopefully this one will pass quickly for you. :)

Anonymous said...

Bardolf bites. Still. And he is nearing three. *sigh* Muirne was neer aggressive so I have been beside myself with B. We put him in time out. We do use those techniques and they do help. He is biting less frequently now. IN fact up until about a week ago he hadn't bitten in quite a while. M gets most of the bites though, poor thing. Good luck!

gina said...

Our youngest bit- I'm sure for all of the frustrations you listed but her sisters were getting HURT! We tried TWO months of the positive attempts- but it was attention she wanted and attention she was getting -at her sisters' expense. Daddy finally bit back. Once. just hard enough- because she never bit again.

Mrs. Querido said...

My youngest son, Mr. Independent used to bite his brother all the time. Poor Mr. Dramatic would have bruises and bite marks on the inside of his tender little arm. We tried swatting him on the butt, time out, and a swat to his cheek (at separate times of course). None of it worked. In desperation, I called my mom for advice. Her words of wisdom: bite him back. So every time he bit his brother, I would bite him (not hard enough to leave a mark...but hard enough to smart a little) He was headstrong, so it took about five separate times before he quit. Also, I think more aggressive children pick this up when they can't express what they need or want. Mr. Independent would bite others when he was frustrated. Helping him learn to express himself PROPERLY in ACCEPTABLE ways WITH HIS WORDS(lol) rather than biting helped a lot. Now when I hear him getting frustrated with his brother, I remind him that he can use WORDS rather than his teeth!
I believe that if you are just biting her out of anger (which is completely understandable given the painful circumstances) she sees that as an acceptable form of expression. However, if you preface the bite with "You bit so-and-so (or me) and that HURTS a lot. I told you before not to bite and so now I am going to bite you so that you know how it feels." Then as with any form of discipline, administer it, then scoop them up for a hug afterward.
Most of all, PRAY! That is the best advice of all :)


Mrs. Q

LifeatTheCircus said...

ouch!! I remember when my oldest was 10 mths old and decided he was done nursing and would bite every time I went to nurse him. I too flinched every time I held him and the pediatrician told me, "I think he's trying to tell you he is done nursing." OUCH!! It's awful when you flinch when your baby is near you.

Hope you find a solution soon!!!

BTW I loved your comments about everyone in the family doing the finger sweep... we are the same way with our baby. I remember with our first no choking hazards were EVER in sight...

auds at barking mad said...

LOL @ Brittany and the rawhide comment.

The Little Imp has been my only NON-Biter. For that I am eternally grateful, especially considering we are STILL nursing. Uhg.

When my next youngest who is now 15, would bite his elder siblings, the twins who are now 18, they bit him back. It didn't take long for him to stop biting. Although I didn't condone it, it worked. Except having to explain all those bite marks to everyone else. Oiy!

I'm not sure what the solution is to your problem with the exception of using the naughty seat/time out. Toddlers are funny little creatures. What seems like abhorent behavior to us, seems completely normal if not outright amusing, to them.

Took a break because my mom called. She said I was a biter. Also told me that a little Tabasco sauce did the trick. Yikes.

Bahama Shores Mama said...

I'm sure my bunnyboo will now be a biter. Why? Cause I couldn't stop laughing at your post. And you know the law: When you laugh at someone else's situation or say "my kid will never" that's EXACTLY when it will come back to....... BITE you!

My2Gs said...

I am laughing out loud right now! :)

3cookieday said...

Our 17-month-old has only bitten me a couple of times. When I react with a "No! Don't bite" in a stern tone, she listens (and sometimes feels bad and starts crying). So I read through the comments to be prepared in case she does start biting on a regular basis. Because it does hurt. The last time she bit me, I almost started crying!!

Kristin Amato said...

Can I just say I LOVE YOU?! You are so real, and your stories remind me so much of my own home. I am so glad that I am not alone. I have 2 little girls (3 and 18 months) and a little boy who should arrive in the midst of all of this chaos on Sept. 15.

Thanks for always sharing your heart, and just keeping it real with us! Your honesty is so appreciated.

Love, Kristin

Anonymous said...

Do what you do to dogs - Put your thumb in her mouth, under her tongue,hold with your fingers under her chin and squeeze just a little bit, not to hurt, just to get her attention. I've also found that a loud heartfelt "OW!" conveys your real pain to them pretty well.

Overwhelmed! said...

Our 16 month old foster daughter bites sometimes and we've been trying the, "Don't bite, not nice!" scolding and lavishing attention of the one she's bitten (usually our 3 1/2 year old son). This seems to be working. She isn't biting as frequently as she used to. My son is leary of her though.

Valarie said...

Ugh!!! I typed a comment, and then my computer went flaky and kicked me out!! Lets try this again!!

Ok, my sister used to give my nephew a teaspoon of vinegar if he ever said a "bad" word. Maybe you could just put it on your finger and give her a taste of it when she bites you. You better be quick though or she might bite your finger! :) I have also heard that it helps with joint health and arthiritis, even though she does not need that. :o)

Karen said...

That made me laugh out loud. I've been bitten on the thighs, the shoulders, the arms, the fingers (just today, in fact), but the worst is being bitten on the nipples. I know you know what I'm talking about ...

Amanda said...

OMG! Ethan does the same thing. He has left major bruises on Madeleine's chest and just today he went for my leg while I was on the computer- I yelped before he could bite down-so he stopped. I have spanked, done time out and screamed my head off- but the kid still bites. I did notice the other day he is cutting 4 teeth on the sides and his gums are very swollen. You know I may just have to resort to what he did with our dog when she would bit. Spray "bitter apple" on our bodies hee hee

Kari Wright said...

My daughter was trying to become a biter, I used a dot of hot sauce on her tongue to teach her mouth not to bite. It worked. we also use hot sauce for talking back and lying...whenever the tongue/mouth need to be tamed. ( I keep a glass of water or cracker handy, if it burns more than seems necessary to make the point...after all, it is a correction, not torture!)

Tonya said...

I don't know if this will help but we talk about what our mouths are for. Eating, talking, kissing...etc. We ask if people are food to eat? Then when I get frustrated I make them bite a bar of soap! That usually stops them :)

Vintage Dutch Girl said...

Bubbalu is just getting over his biting.

If he bit me, I would scream/screech (mostly to scare him) and hold his mouth/cheeks and say "WE DO NOT BITE". After a week he finally caught on. Mostly.

Faerie Mom said...

My youngest bites too. If you come up with anything.... let me know. My middle child spits. I almost prefer the biting to the spitting.

Shannon said...

I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I think the only thing that stops biting is time, they eventually grow out of it.
I had one who loved to do the fake hug and bite. I finally told him I couldn't hug him because he kept hurting me. It almost killed me, because I just love to hug them. Each time he bit me I would refuse to hug or allow a hug the rest of the day. The next day was a fresh start. I admit to giving the siblings extra hugs in front of him so he know he was missing out. It only took a few times to make his stop biting me, but it didn't do much for the teeth marks on his brothers.

marky said...

I too left a comment that isn't here? Oh well..
Sorry to hear about your biter.. I only had one child bite me, during a nursing moment.. I screamed He cried and it never happened again.

blessedwith5 said...

Now magic words of wisdom here. My five year old went through a biting phase - a very long one before he was two and then another about a year later. Nothing would deter him from biting. I think he just finally grew out of it.

Now # 5 has taken to biting once in a while. We of course do not allow him to bite and he has to sit by himself for a few minutes if he does bite. We know from past experience this too will pass!

Muthering Heights said...

Hmmm, maybe you should just paint your skin with Frank's Red Hot? Unless she's into spicy...

I don't know what to tell you, but I wish you luck!

Marianne Thomas said...

I feel your pain...literally.

My youngest (third child, too) went through a biting stage from about 18 mo - 2 years.

The worst part? He'd set up other kids by going up to them to "hug" them...then he'd lay on the chompers.

I can't tell you how many times I went flying across a room when I heard some unsuspecting mother of a toddler say, "Awww, how SWEET! He wants to be your friend!"

Uh, NO!

I did many of the things listed here but what finally worked was telling him, "You want to bite someone? Bite yourself!"

After drawing blood on his own arm, the lightbulb blinked on.

Good luck!

Beautiful Craziness said...

Yeah, mine bit me while I was nursing him (whole body shiver from teh remembrance). I screamed and almost threw him out of my arms, but luckily his father came running in enough time to take him away. He was crying, I was crying. He never bit again. So...maybe you should scream and cry and scare the child out of her wits!

Tammy said...

Yikes! I am so thankful that neither of my kids were biters. My twin sister was a biter and my mother put an end to it by biting her back.

I know, I know....but we all turned out just fine!

Can't wait for 'Fro Thursday!

Bina said...

Thank GOD I never had a child that bites, so I'm not sure what to do about it, but I'm also thankful you have quit biting her! LOL

Wow, are you the only one she bites? Maybe you should change your perfume! Ha Ha!

J.Danger said...

oh I could use your help! I posted a blog looking for advice on how to get my toddler to sleep through the night.

little help?



Heather J. said...

Ummmm, I tried not to laugh.
But I did.
A Lot.
I'm sorry that she bit you, but wasn't a blog post worth it!!!?

Darla @ UltraBeautyBoutique said...

Bwahhaahahahah dang, the last comment I posted on your blog (just 5 seconds ago) I was puddling all over the place, now I'm doing the same but laughing with it. Good lord, what an emotional roller coaster ride.

Joy said...

Ack! Yeah, I too flinch when my 15 month old laughs into my shirt (I'm afraid she'll come away with part of my shirt and skin).

I, too, laughed heartily while reading this blog post! Especially the beginning!

Trinka said...

Spanking is not abuse ... no need to work so hard to avoid it. It's a judicious use of force to demonstrate that an action is unacceptable!

You can't reason with a toddler, and carrying around a bottle of hot sauce seems like a great deal of work to accomplish something that would just as easily be handled by a calm, rational, use of a hand on a bottom!