Thursday, September 03, 2009

If You Can't Play Nicely

I hadn't really thought about how long I was going to nurse Lucy. Anna self-weaned at 6 months, and I suppose I was expecting another gradual dwindling of interest. At the very least I thought it would be my decision..........

Lucy has been happily continuing her love affair with the boob, and I had a mental tally of breastfeeding pros and cons, resulting in the following scattered list:

  • Mother and daughter bonding time.
  • It's free!
  • Assisted weight loss, or rather, no weight loss but guilt-free eating.
  • So much easier - never caught without baby food, and no faffing around with bottles and formula.
  • 15 minutes of down-time twice a day at work while I pumped.
  • No saggy post-nursing boobs
  • Quite possibly our last baby so huge amounts of sentiment involved.
  • Lugging the breastpump to work and back. That thing weighs a tonne.
  • Cleaning and sterilizing the pump bottles and sundry pumpish items. Every. Chuffing. Night.
  • Al fresco boobs in the office. Even behind a locked door it made me squeamish.
  • Giant boobs - only having two bras that fit.
  • Giant boobs - made all t-shirts look like crop tops.
  • Giant boobs - having to jog in two sports bras.
  • Giant boobs - look but don't touch!
When you look at that list we had an obvious winner. Nursing is free. Formula is expensive. In these fiscally responsible (desperate) times the bottom line is the bottom line. I was game to keep nursing til she went to college. One less kids meal at Macdonalds!

Oh, and I will be honest and admit that it was lovely to hold her and nurse her in to a blissed-out milk coma. I mean really, look at that face! What a little cherub.


Don't let her deceive you! In fact, keep all hands, feet and loose clothing away from her because that tiny angelic human is a BITER and I am her poor chewed-upon victim.

She only has her lower teeth right now, but let me just say that 'only' was not the word ricocheting round my brain as she clamped down. I squealed and tried to prize away her vice-like jaws and oh how she laughed! How funny! The noises you do make Mummy! Let's do that again!

And because I'm a muppet we did. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, several horrendously painful times. I think I kept trying because I couldn't quite believe it would end like that. I was the lovestruck teenager wailing "It's over? But we were so good together!"

I was deflated, and so were my boobs. Pfffffffttttttttt.

In her defence, she is teething, but this girl is in such a rush to grow up. She is already standing and creeping between pieces of furniture. She started crawling at 5 months. She's already bristling with teeth. Slow down!

I was actually surprised how deeply affected I was by the abrupt end to nursing. Maybe it was compounded by hormonal fluctuations as I went from 60mph to 0mph in 1 day. I felt really flat and depressed. I even googled 'biting babies' and 'breastfeeding a crocodile', and that really cheered me up.. Thanks internet! Because the advice that was given was so asinine, so breast-feeding Nazi-ish that I had to laugh. Seriously:

"Don't flinch or scream when your baby bites as they will enjoy this reaction".

Honestly? You try it. I will punch you repeatedly in the balls or ovaries and watch you try and keep a straight face.

"Stop giving you baby a bottle as chewing on a plastic nipple only encourages this behaviour"

Great so now I have a hungry and pissed off biter. Not such great advice.

In the end we compromised. No more breastfeeding during the day, only a touch of comfort-nursing last thing at night when she seems to sheath her tiny fangs.

I'm not yet sure who needs the comfort most.


seadragon said...

I was going to say that you should give it time and see if it gets better, but you've probably already thought of that.

I nursed my son for almost 15 months (!), so I've definitely gone through this. After a little time, I thought that he had stopped clamping down with his teeth. Well, maybe he did lessen it, but I realized he never actually stopped because after nursing I would have little red bite marks!! So I guess I must have just gotten accustomed to it.

I'm sure that makes you want to continue breastfeeding for several more months, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Good plan with the last thing at night route. This is what I did for the longest time with Alexandra. HOWEVER, beware the sleeping biter. Scenario: baby suckles while half asleep, Mom drifts off in a doze, only to be RUDELY awakened by the sleeping bite. They don't know they are doing it....really! But just at painful nonetheless. I had to train myself not to doze off and when the time was right, pull the nipple out at lightening speed (so as not to wake up the sleeping biter). Been there, done that. Those little tiny white teeth no bigger than a grain of rice peeking out the gums is probably the most lethal weapon known to motherhood. I feel for you, my dear. Cynthia (aka Mama Cynthia to Laura and Michele)

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry nursing has come to a near-end. I could point out the upside of almost having your body back to yourself, but in this case, it doesn't make accepting it any easier.

Dayne Gingrich said...

I totally feel you... ok, not really FEEL you... or even understand... cuzz I'm a guy. BUT Liane is having this same conversation, and is just going to let Logan do what she does -- although I have heard some,

"Logan... what the!!! Dayne, she just bit the crap out of me!!"

LMAO at your post. Loving it!

Marc & Siri said...

I've been following your blog for a while now and I love it. Thanks for that!
I stopped nursing when baby was 3 months old (my decision, although I loved nursing). I found it emotionally very hard to stop, though. But once she was fully weaned from breastfeeding, OMG! It felt so good to have my body back to myself! So, don't worry, it is hard now, but it will definitely get better.
Some good advice for quick weaning (to avoid the swollen, painfull breasts): drink sage tea (or water with sage powder). Only do this if you really want to stop, because it is irreversible: it will stop you from lactating.
Good luck!

Virtualsprite said...

It's hard to stop no matter when it happens, it seems. I have no advice... my son weaned himself at 10 months and I was nowhere near ready. He was fine, but I was a total mess. So your tears are probably a little for you, and that's okay.

Daffodilly said...

Do what feels right. I found that in America the pressure to breast feed from the doctor through to friends was enormous. In England very few people breast feed and if you do they put you on a pedestal.

I did breast feed all my 3 but stopped at differant times.... when I had had enough.

The guilt & sadness from stopping is soon replaced by pretty underwear instead of boulder holders.

We all know that the babies survive & the feeling of having your body back is wonderful. Plus you can have a good drink!

I have to admit though when they burp on formula ....its not a pleasant aroma!

Do what feels right to you. Good luck!

AliBlahBlah said...

Thanks for all the great advice. It seems it must have been teething because she's stopped for now - although nursing her is still like carrying around a grenade, will-she, won't-she etc etc

..and you're all correct, after the initial devastation was over, I did start thinking positive about getting my old figure back. Or some semblance of it at least..

Hyphen Mama said...

Why isn't any of this in the "What To Expect" books?

The ONLY reason I persevered through the biting was because my Mother-in-Law told me there was NO WAY I could continue to breast feed through teething. How's that for motivation?

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