Breast biting epidemic

It doesn't surprise me at all anymore when I get a bunch of emails and end up in a conversation in the checckout line about the same topic. This week's zeitgeist problem seems a little specific, though, even for my weird world: babies biting the breast while they nurse.

The basic details seem shockingly the same: Babies in the 6-12 month range, on and off teething, biting while they nurse. It doesn't seem to be a matter of trying to stop or encourage the flow, but of just biting while they're there. Sharp biting, not gnawing.

In all the cases the mom has tried the usual things to stop biting: crying out in pain, stopping the feeding session, talking to the baby, etc. multiple times. It isn't working.

One mother is, specifically, concerned that her baby doesn't have empathy because the baby is laughing when the mother cries after being bitten.

I'm at a loss here. The only thing I can say for sure is that I don't think anyone's raising a baby psychopath. Kids are still figuring out emotions and how to express them and read them in others, so a baby who laughs when her mother cries seems like a normal mismatch, an error of reading and responding, not a lack of empathy.

But yikes! I guess I had it easy, because both of mine only needed to have the nursing session end abruptly half a dozen times before they stopped biting me. I would think it might be the same kind of frustration that sometimes makes just-verbal toddlers bite because they can't express their feelings in words, but the setting doesn't make sense for that.

So here I've labored over this issue--which is affecting at least the four of you who wrote me about it, but I bet more people--and I can't find an end to start unraveling. That makes *me* feel like biting someone.

Help. Who went through any kind of long too-much biting thing? I cannot believe the only solution is to wean, because I cannot believe this is an infrequent problem. So who's got something?