Monday, December 6, 2010

Parenting Challenge #1

I already miss LuLu's rubbery gums. I am at a loss. She has had sharp little tooth nubs for a week and a half now.  Immediately, she bit my nipple. I was prepared, I screamed, shoved her face into my breast (just until she let go). She looked surprised and then she resumed nursing. She has bit me every day since then. My poor nips are bruised, and yesterday, she actually broke the skin.  I continue to scream, yell an I even tried giving her a little flick on the cheek. 

Up until last week, nursing was one of my favorite things to do. I looked forward to the excuse to sit down and spend uninterrupted time with her.  To cuddle and hold her in my arms. To look at her, to be with her, with no other demands on my time and attention. But now it is different. It hurts. I am a little anxious. I was never anxious before.  Her choices had never caused me pain before. I doubt she is doing it on purpose. She is just now learning about object permanence, of simple cause and effect.  She may not connect my screams and yells to the contraction of her jaw muscles.  I know she needs to gnaw on things right now, and we have been giving her plenty of teething objects.  Our relationship had been so straightforward.  I miss those innocent days. I had hoped a behaviorist model of no-bite nursing would help. BF Skinner, you let me down.

Dutch suggested that I simply stop nursing her, but I am not ready to switch her to formula now.  Besides, I have a jury summons right after Christmas, and my excuse hinges on nursing her, plus it is flu season, and I want her to continue having the support of my immune system. She is not ready for weaning, and neither am I.

I have to laugh at myself. I am sure this little drama is nothing compared to the complexity that will come as she grows and her world expands. Soon, I am sure I'll be hearking back to these uncomplicated days.


Nori said...

Benji went through that stage, too. Parenting is tough. Good for you for sticking with breastfeeding. Benji would sometimes laugh at my pained looks, so I had to do a lot of self talk ro keep my patience.

Camille said...

La Leche League published a handy FAQ on their website, which I found after LuLu started biting. It was very helpful. They said babies sometimes bite when they are bored and they recommended pulling the lil' biter off when she is done. Voila, no more bites (24 hours of bite free bliss so far!) Here is the link.

Nori said...

Yay! Glad your problem is solved. I'm also glad Benji eventually stopped, as he now has all but 4 of his teeth

M. L. Benedict said...

Doctor Spock recommended putting a finger in the corner of their mouth to break the suction, and then if they bit again, to stop nursing them for a little while until they make the connection.

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