Saturday, March 7, 2009

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Tonight, one of my fears came to fruition. My nipples came under attack of Nate's newfound chompers.

Although I had predicted this day would come since the first tooth appeared, it was still a shock to me when I felt the pain searing through the tip of my breast. In my stupor, before I could even react appropriately, Nate unclenched his jaws, apologetically. I stared down at him and pondered what to do next.

I had always been told to push his face deeper into my breast if he should clamp down. This may seem counterproductive (isn't it instinctual to pull him off?) but the idea is to briefly inhibit breathing through his nose. As appalling as this approach seems, it causes him to gasp for air, hence opening his mouth up wide enough for the nipple to be released. But since, in this case, Nate had already unlatched after the great bite, I was dumbfounded. It's not like I could punish him, as he is an infant and unaware of the consequences of his actions. He is teething and doesn't know that biting is wrong. All he knows is that the pressure against his gums is soothing. Regardless if it comes from a frozen washcloth, a teething ring or mommy's nipple. I can't - and won't - practice negative reinforcement out of anger or frustration.

So, I removed him from the cradle position - no more cuddles - and placed him down on the floor near a toy or two while I accessed the damage. There was a small gash on the underside of my boob, but surprisingly, it did not break the skin enough to bleed. I was able to escape trauma. This time.

Granted, this is the first occurrence. And I realize it is likely to happen more than once. I'm bound to suffer more significant injuries along the way.

I worry about how this compromises our nursing relationship. I am already anxious about our next nursing session, fearful that the next time he decides to bite, I won't be so lucky to walk away relatively unscathed. I am concerned that the biting will become commonplace and nursing will no longer be the peaceful, bonding experience that I've come to know and love.

I really am not ready to wean - or to pump exclusively. The thought brings incredible sadness to me. I know all good things must come to an end eventually. But I hope the end is not in sight just yet.


Fertilized said...

I am sorry. I have been bit quite a bit. I suggest lots of extra lanolin to ward of the yeasties. Yes the first thought is a 4 letter word. Keep pushing his face inwards since that is what you did and put him down. Hoping He can learn cause/effect and stop the biting. It hurts! So srry. It does make the experience a new one. Made me gun shy

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

Yikes! That definitely doesn't sounds like fun. I've often wondered what will happen with my nursing relationship with Lemy when she starts biting. Granted, she is still toothless, which suits me just fine, but I know that once the chompers come in she will be biting me non-stop. Keep us posted on what you end up doing. And good luck, sweetie. ((HUGS))

Geohde said...


I wish I had something more constructive to add. I flunked BF.



Anonymous said...

Like most of the hard stuff in BFing, it WILL get better. TTG has 8 teeth and has bitten a handful of times. Mostly it was about the time he got his first tooth, at 4 months. I unlatch him the way I usually do - finger in mouth, prise gums apart and GET OUT. I didn't bother with putting him down on the floor or anything, just sat him up on my lap for a second, then continued feeding if he wanted.

I really think it's just experimental, getting used to having these new things in their mouths. They can't get milk out while biting anyway, and I think they figure out that pretty quickly themselves.

It WILL get better!