Biting, or to be accurate, mouthing, may occur in infancy, when your baby uses her mouth and gums to explore things. Some infants also champ down hard on their mother’s breasts, perhaps to relieve sore gums. But true biting, with a set of sharp little teeth, can become a problem between the age of 18 and 30 months.
At this stage your youngster has very little verbal ability and uses biting as a form of communication-no different in her view from pushing, patting or kissing-except that it gets your attention a lot more quickly. To her biting may also be a way of dealing with stress, anger or frustration.
If your baby bites, the best way to discourage her is to respond with an “ouch “and immediately put her down. Quickly removing from your physical contact will generally bring an end to a baby’s biting. A toddler, who is ready to learn other methods of communication and other outlets for aggression, should be told in plain language that biting hurts people and she must not do this.
Place her in a brief time-out. It is best not to scold or get angry, simply turn back on the attacker and comfort the victim. As soon as the bitter is in control show her that there are better ways to communicate and be noticed. If you feel that frustration is the cause of biting, engage her in some simple activity where she can shine.
Try to pin point the events leading up to episodes of biting. If you detect the pattern to the biting, you should avoid those situations, if possible. One point on which all child experts seem to agree is no matter how distressed you may become at continued biting, one method of correction that is strongly discouraged is biting back just to teach her a lesson.
Your child should cease for the most part when she begins to master language and can use words to express herself. This usually occurs around the age of three. If biting continues to be chronic problem beyond this age despite your attempt to intervene, both the underlying conditions that is upsetting the child and the behavioral expression may need professional attention.