biting, breastfeeding, milk, nipple pain, parenting, teething
So, Babby’s teething. AGAIN.
Sure, his top two incisors just came in, but apparently his second two sets of incisors decided that they needed to follow the others, because they are apparently lemmings.
So I had about three or four days free of biting Babby, and now he’s BITING ME AGAIN.
It is difficult to explain to others, men especially, how frigging painful this is.
Let’s just say that biting my tongue hard on the same spot again and again would be about as painful… if I had sharpened my teeth.
Let’s just say I would rather be stung by a bee.
Let’s just say that my nipples and the area below them are bright red, and covered in flaky, peeling skin, like a terrible sunburn, and feel about as bad.
Let’s just say that the underside of my nipples are covered in greenish and reddish scabs in crescent-shaped lines.
Let’s just say that all of my white bras are covered in dark red splotches, and when I try to pump, bright red drops appear in the funnel.
Let’s just say that I have given birth to an angry piranha, and the big eyes and cherubic grin is just a clever mask.
Of course, every time he bites me I cry out involuntarily and remove him from the breast unceremoniously. If I am sitting in the chair, he gets dumped on the floor with “DON’T! BITE! MOMMY!”
(What is it with creatures wanting to bite my boobas? This has been a problem since long before Babby was concieved).
If I’m trying to nurse him to sleep, he ends up wailing disconsolately on the bed while I hunch over next to him, clutching my nipple and studiously ignoring him for a short while. Then I hold him while he screams. What used to be a short interlude between nursing attempts is becoming more and more protracted, while he writhes and signs “Milk!” at me angrily.
Babby went to sleep last night with a big dose of Advil and very little chomping. When he woke up, I went to nurse him back down and he bit me so hard that I not only cried out, but I burst into tears. PH came rushing in and took the baby while I sobbed helplessly in the gliding rocker for several minutes, clutching my poor right booba and wailing.
I’ve never been good at pain tolerance.
PH then proceeded to rock Babby to sleep without booba while Babby screamed and screamed in what felt like unending rage.
This is what we had intended to do over Easter, but PH was so stressed out by the screaming that we ended up backing out of the plan entirely. He hates listening to his baby cry, and it frustrates him so much that he can’t provide the comfort that Babby craves.
It took an hour.
…and a half.
An hour and a half of tea-kettle screams and vitriolic ah-hah-hah haaaaaaaas. It felt like a long time to me, and I’m sure it felt twice as long to poor PH.
Once he went down, he stayed asleep for about twenty minutes before he woke up and began to wail again. So I went in this time and offered him my other nipple, and he dozed off after about ten minutes of furious nursing. When I set him down, he woke right up again. I picked him up and rocked him to sleep on my shoulder, which only took about forty minutes or so before I was able to successfully put him down and collapse into bed.
All of this started at 10 pm. It was one in the morning when I went to sleep. I don’t know how long Babby slept for, but the next time he woke up I brought him in bed with me to nurse for the rest of the night, and he behaved well.
If any of you have suggestions, I’m happy to hear them, although I’ve trawled KellyMom and similar sites for help as well.
A couple of friends have suggested that I should just wean him if he’s going to make me bleed all over the place and sob with pain. But I love breastfeeding. It doesn’t normally hurt – it is actually quite satisfying and relaxing, generally speaking. Giving up breastfeeding entirely would be like giving up bubble baths forever, just because my hot water heater is on the fritz right now.
Considering that I have every intention of nursing him until he is ready to stop himself, be that two years old or beyond, and that I would really miss the closeness of nursing, not to mention the basic awesomeness of my superpower, I am not willing to give up the fight.
He isn’t biting for attention, or even out of boredom. In that brief hiatus between incisors, the biting dropped to nil.
So this must be temporary.
In the meantime, we finally have motivation to get him to sleep without booba, and I have discovered a new superpower:
I can make strawberry milk.
Oh Carol, I’m so sorry you are going through this right now. It very much reminds me of the first couple of weeks of nursing Violet, and also *her* biting stage when she was around Owl’s age. I came to dread feeding time. It was akin to putting my boob into a bear trap. Repeatedly. I cried too, and you know, I *do* deal with pain pretty well.
What worked for me with Violet is not reacting AT ALL, and just quietly take away the boob. She was looking for the reaction. It was funny to her, that she could elicit such a response from me, and she had no idea that yelling was supposed to be scary. When it would happen, I would gasp (because that was involuntary) but I would stop myself from yelping, and just slowly breathe it out instead, and quietly take the boob away. And then she just stopped.
Are there certain feeds that he’s more likely to bite than others? Is it possible to pump and give him a bottle for those feeds, at least until these recent teeth come in, or until they stop bothering him? That would keep your supply up, AND allow you to keep going after this rough patch is over. **hugs to you, and your boobas**
Thanks for the sympathy.
I know what you mean about enjoying your reaction. When Babby first started biting me, when he was three or four months old, I quickly discovered the same thing. He’s like a parrot – he loves drama so much that he’ll bite you again just to get a repeat performance.
That biting quickly resolved when I changed my tactics. I found the same as you.
This seems different. The feeds when he’s most likely to bite are when he’s tired and his teeth seem painful, and the nursing is for comfort (to sleep, etc). He no longer grins at my reaction, possibly because I’ve gone from a startled screech to a muffled “AHHHFUCKDON”TBITMOMMMY”. He cries, but given a booba again, he’ll bite again.
You’re right about the bear trap. Great description.
I am wincing in sympathy here. My 10 month old has 8 teeth and she bit me on the arm the other day and it REALLY hurt. I can’t even begin to imagine how much it would’ve hurt if it had been my boob. That’s one of the only benefits to weaning her early. My little one only ever cried when she actually cut the tooth (she cut number 7 on a commuter plane during takeoff – that was fun). But we know she’s getting another tooth when she bites everything in sight, or chews on her thumb. I’m hoping we have a reprieve before the molars come, and that they don’t cause her more pain than the other teeth because I’m wondering if wide flat teeth will hurt less than skinny sharp ones.What do you think?
I’m sorry I don’t have any advice for you, but I hope Babby stops biting soon. And you all get some sleep.
ps I almost barfed when I saw that “strawberry milk” picture. Not sure why I have such a visceral reaction to that one, but man, that is gross.
Corinne’s advice sounds solid to me. I had bleeding and intense pain when first breastfeeding, but never biting to this extent, so I have no words of wisdom. Just sympathy.
Boob sympathy is the best sympathy.
I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for your boobs. Both my kids bit me when nursing. Thing 1 did it once, I flicked him once and we came to an understanding. Thing 2 did it multiple times, to the point of giving my anxiety every time I sat down to nurse him. I weaned him at 7 months. I’m weak.
Good luck with whatever you do!
Thanks. My MIL told me that PH was weaned because he wouldn’t stop biting, but I’m determined to cure this baby!
Does the biting happen more when Babby is relaxing or drifting off to sleep? If so, it may actually be an involuntary thing. Since I was an infant, as I fall asleep my jaw will clench. When I was about thirteen months old I actually bit through my tongue. I don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about it, unfortunately – I still do it.
(Just wanted to say I don’t *remember* biting through my tongue at 13 months, just that I’ve been told the story so much that I know I did. Also, my doctors never seemed to think it was a big deal, but then I wasn’t breastfed so my mother never complained except when I hurt myself.)
Interesting phenomenon. Your poor tongue!
I don’t think that’s it, though. When he’s actually drifting and dozy – in between wakeups at night, for example, he’s fine. It’s mostly when he’s fussy and I’m trying to nurse him down to sleep. The tiredness seems to add to his tooth discomfort, and because he’s nursing more for comfort than for nutrition, he keeps trying to use me as a teething ring.
The worst part is that I’m so cut up now that even the normal nursing hurts – like rubbing a paper cut.
i understand your sadness. With Greyson it was a natural weaning… he was only 8 months old, but he was eating so much regular food, he just didn’t care to do it anymore. He only bit a few times. It was a wonderful experience with him….
Violette on the other hand…. I planned on nursing her as long as she wanted, not only was it cheaper, but relaxing. Until about 3 weeks in, we got thrush…. and we got it BAD!!! we did the medicine and everything, nothing helped. and she would grind my nipple with her gums, not quite biting, but with already raw bleeding nipples from the thrush just air moving over them hurt like mad! I gave it as much as i could for 13 weeks. Then after dreading each feed because of the pain, and crying over her as she ate i gave up. I felt robbed, i didn’t get the chance to feed my baby when i knew i could…
So in the end, it’s your choice. If you want to, and CAN deal with the pain, then all the power to you… and if you can’t handle the pain any longer, all the power to you! You’ve given him the best start any baby could ask for.
as for suggestions, try having a bottle, or a sippy cup, with water in it with you while you feed, if he bites you give him the water… then really snuggle him when he’s feeding nicely, and if he bites give him the water. he’ll realize that he’s doing something wrong by biting, and doing something right by not. sorry if that doesn’t help, just a thought:) good luck, and remember we can plan plan plan, but there’s always an extra wrench to be thrown in the mix.
Thrush is from the devil, I’m pretty sure. I sympathize.
You know the plastic mouth guards football and hockey players use? Two words: baby sized.
It took roughly seven months before our son started to use my girlfriend as a chew toy. She held out for another few months, alternating between feeding him directly from the breast and breast pumped. But she was in pain every day. She had planned on breast feeding, or feeding him breast milk, until he was two, and she was disappointed to have to stop, but it wasn’t hard to see the relief in he eyes when we went to whole milk and solid food.
I picked up a breast shield yesterday, which I think is supposed to function in just such a manner. We’ll see how it goes!
Wombat "Boobs hurt just reading that" Central said:
Ouch! That strawberry milk shivered me timbers as well. I only got a few bites from my boy, and they quickly stopped. I always had tooth marks on there just from his top front teeth resting there. Thank goodness that tongue covers the bottom teeth when they’re nursing. You are one determined lady! I’mma give you a two boob salute!
Best. Salute. Ever.
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