Friday, August 1, 2008


Ouch! The problem with kids getting teeth is that they use them. Not to do anything useful, like eating, mind you. No need for that when mommy purees everything nice and smooth. No, the teeth are being put to a far better and more amusing purpose -- biting mommy. While nursing. Hard enough to draw blood.

I'm really distressed over this turn of events. When Gabby was born, I was anxious about breastfeeding. I'd known so many people who had a hard time with it, and I wanted so badly to be able to do it, even for a few months. I was delighted when Gabby latched on like a champ right away, and breastfeeding has been easy peasy for us ever since. Until now.

Every time she bites, I pull her off and say, "no!" and stop the nursing session. It's hard on both of us, though, and tonight at bedtime we were both in tears. Even worse, the first time she bit me hard, I cursed, yanked her off me, and tapped her face with my hand. It scared me, because without thinking I had almost slapped her. I don't want to hit my child, especially not in anger. It worried me that it was almost a reflex to do so.

I don't want to wean her yet -- I'm not ready for it, and I don't think she is, either. I'm hoping this is just a phase. One that we're going to have to get past (please god) before she cuts any more teeth.


lindsay said...

Henry bit me once, and I automatically bopped him on his nose with my index finger. He pulled off and looked shocked (but not hurt). It was such a weird reaction for me, but when you've got a shark on your nipple I think you go into survival mode.

In the many months since I've never had the urge to hit the boys and he never bit again. I bet you guys will move through this phase quickly.

Kisses to Gabby!

Life in the Bend said...

It may be a very good sign that she cried when you yelped. Atticus and Norah have both gone through biting phases (granted not my nipples though). Norah doesn't react at all when I yell in pain and it's been much harder to get her to stop. On the other hand, Atticus burst into tears each time I reacted after being bitten. It broke my heart. He only did it a few times and then figured out the cause-effect relationship.

P.S. Family legend is that the only time I was ever "spanked" was by my dad after I bit his armpit one day. Yeouch! Those little baby teeth hurt!

Mama K said...

No blood's been drawn over here yet, but Django seems to think it's all a hilarious game when I nearly leap out of my seat yelping -- and his two teeth are just barely stubs. I can tell there are worse days to come...Another mom told me she had better luck with pushing her daughter into her breast when she bit, rather than pulling her off. May feel just as abusive as tapping her on the check, given that I think the goal of the move is to momentarily suffocate them so they let their little jaws loose, but if it works sooner...I don't know.

Good luck -- to us both! -- k. xo

twistedcat said...

a friend of mine had pretty much the same reaction (down to the horror). it's survival instinct. your horror at your reaction just means you're a good mom ;-)

((hugs)) to all

midlife mommy said...

I recall reading that you are supposed to pull the child into the breast when they bite until they release, but quite frankly, that would require thinking and a willingness to tolerate pain. And when my daughter used her little teeth on me, I wasn't thinking very clearly. I think I yelled, pulled her off, and stopped the nursing session. Fortunately, it didn't take many times doing that before she got the message.

You will get through it, but it does make you anxious just waiting to see if that little nip is going to come. I'm sure LLL will have some suggestions, because every kid tries it at one time or another. It must be great fun from your daughter's perspective.


Brittney said...

Hang in there! Every baby I know has gone through this phase. Elliot bit me while nursing for a long time, and we made it through to nurse until he was 3 1/2. You can do it! I would pull Elliot off and say "no" every time, like you're doing, and he eventually stopped doing it. Imogen is just starting the biting phase now, so I know what you are going through. You're a great mama and you'll make it!!

Binky said...

Wow! Thanks for all the advice and encouragement, friends! The intentional biting has diminished greatly (knock wood), and the occasional accidental scrape is pretty minor now that the chomping has stopped.