My 9-month-old son has started teething (well, he's onto his 5th tooth) and as a result he is biting - whether it be the table, toys or fingers. The issue is he was never one for a dummy, and from a young age he would simply suck on your finger to fall asleep - trust me, it wasn't to my satisfaction needing to have my thumb sucked!

So going forward, naturally he thinks that it's okay to put our fingers in his mouth and to bite - yikes! I do not want to yell/punish him because, well, not only is it self-inflicted, he is far too young to understand what he is doing is wrong. Of course, we usher "no" and try to demonstrate this is not acceptable behavior, but at the same time, we do not think it is making a difference.

We've tried dummies, rings and other toys and whilst he does play with them (albeit short) it doesn't stop him from trying to bite me.

What method(s) can we use to demonstrate that what he is doing is wrong, without "punishment" (as in, growling or raising/changing our voice) for our son?


1 Answer 1


Based on your comments, I would still focus on trying to get him to teeth on teething rings or other similar toys. Get that redirection going and pretty soon he won't be interested in your fingers anymore.

In the meantime though, there are some steps you can take to make sure he understands it's not OK.

Nobody laugh.

It's funny. Everyone gets that; the baby trying to bite the fingers is hilarious. It's so funny, it has over 860 million views. However, it's not funny to the person being bit. If it happens, no one there at the moment should laugh, especially the person being bit. This only encourages the behavior.

React strongly!

OUCH! That hurt really bad! Bring out your best acting skills. Overreact a little bit. Hold your finger. Put him down if you're holding him and nurse your finger. Pour it on a little bit. Show him that it's not a comfortable feeling to be bitten. I like to think kids are empathetic. If he sees that he's hurting you, he would be encouraged to not continue doing it.

Look into his eyes

Immediately after you're done nursing your finger, look into his eyes. Make sure you have his full attention. In the sternest voice and with the most serious face, without yelling, say "No. We do not bite. It is not OK. If you want to bite, bite this."

At this point pass him the teething ring or toy he can chew on. Continue doing these things and hopefully he will get the idea that this is not OK.

  • 2
    Your answer was thorough and from all reading the most applicable.
    – DankyNanky
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 7:19

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