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Kids Health QA: Biting Baby

Q. Our 11-month-old has started biting us. She even bites her dog. We tell her no, but she just laughs. What can we do?

Take a deep breath! This behavior is really common. I've found that if I bring up biting at checkups between 9 and 15 months, many parents will say they've had trouble with it. There are usually two reasons babies this age bite: frustration and fun. In either case, it's important your reaction isn't amusing to her. A quick, firm, stern "No!" every time she bites is best. If she's being held at the time, put her down to make it clear she won't get cuddles if she chomps. It can take a while, but if she consistently gets the message that biting is bad, she will most likely stop. If you think frustration is her typical trigger -- common when toddlers can't yet express their feelings and needs -- do everything you can to encourage language development (talking, reading, singing); you can also consider teaching her some simple signs. If things don't get better over the next month, give your doctor a call.