Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Breastfeeding battle weary

This is one of those evenings where I just couldn't get Sister and Bean into bed fast enough. Thankfully, they're both sleeping now. Husband is off at his running club's annual pizza party, so it's just me, the Christmas cookies, and the gin. Alone at last.

Something happened today that made me really confused as hell about the whole breastfeeding thing. My sweet little baby who began her little biting habit a week or 2 ago? Remember her? Well, today she actually drew blood, she bit me so hard. Not much, granted, but I have 2 bloody little bite marks on my right nipple as we speak. (Imagine me sighing sadly and taking a big swig of my gin and tonic here as I remember this.) My original plan was to nurse this baby for at least her first year like I did her older sister. I even thought I might do it longer since I'm staying at home and had no reason to rush weaning. Sadly, it seems like my plan is being thwarted. I think Bean might be biting me because she's bored with nursing. Her pattern seems to be that she'll nurse for 5 minutes on one side, bite me, and then stop (and grin). I'll tell her firmly "No biting!" and put her upright for a minute, then we switch to the other side. She'll nurse happily for another few minutes, bite me again, and then I'll be so pissed I'll put her down completely. At this point, she crawls away happily babbling to herself. I'm torn between hating nursing and physically cringing in dread when I put her on the breast, and wanting her to stop this NOW, behave herself and just finish out the year, for chrissakes! Just a few more months, child!

She's only 8 months old at this point. Babies don't wean themselves this early, do they? I'm willing to wait out the biting if it's just a phase that she'll grow bored with, but what the hell do I do if biting is her way of telling me she's bored with ME? I so don't want to be strapped to a breast pump for the next four months. I mean, do babies have to have formula if they don't nurse at this age? I don't really want to go that route either. Sigh. Perhaps gin will tell me what to do.


Erin said...

Hi! I found you through CubMommy. My 11 month old started biting me a few weeks ago also. I have bite marks on both sides! His older sister NEVER bit me.

Anyway, when he starts biting, I pull him off, wait a minute then let him try to nurse again. If he bites again, I just stop feeding for the time being.

What's with the biting?? :)

cubmommy said...

Big Cubby only bit me a couple of times and when he did I would tell him no biting, put him down and stop nursing. I did this a couple of times and he got the hint and stopped biting. He weaned by his first birthday.

Little Cubby really hasn't bitten me.

I have heard babies weaning themselves at 4 months.

Does she use a sippy cup yet? That might help. Sorry I can't help more.

Piece of Work said...

My nephew self-weaned at nine months. I had to stop nursing Vivian at 9 months because she was not gaining any weight, and when I supplemented, she would take a full bottle. We went to formula--which is expensive, and smelly,and a pain in the ass with all the bottle washing etc.--for the 3 months until she turned 1. She never blinked, and she gained a TON of weight (I can't remember now how much.)
Sorry you are having such a struggle with it. I was really sad to give up nursing Vivian, and I resented the hell out of those bottles. But in the end it was better for her. Not that this is in any way the same circumstance you are having. I guess my point is that formula is perfectly good for them, and sometimes battling them is not worth it in the end.

Sugarmama said...

No, of course formula is fine. I'll be the last person to judge any other mama's use of formula. As a wise friend of mine once said, we've all got to do what works best for our families, not some other person's family. But I hate to give up nursing before she's a year old for a number of reasons really. Actually, today I talked to her pediatrician who said it sounds like she's just needing to nurse less these days, especially since she's eating as much solid food as she does these days. (She's part Hoover, I think.) She also weighs 20# at this point, so the child is not starving one way or the other! I nursed her today MUCH less and she bit me much less and was still her same cheerful, non-starving self. So maybe she just wasn't as hungry as I was thinking she was!

Moonface said...

my friend's baby refused to be breast fed at 7 months, so maybe it is possible for wean themselves off so early.

when my 9 month old started with the biting a few weeks ago, i did the same kind of thing you did - sitting him up and telling him a very sharp "no" - to which he would grin mischeviously. and if he bit me again, that was it, feeding time was over. that seemed to have worked fine and thankfully there is no more biting.

good luck to you!

Lauren said...

A friend of mine gave her daughter a pacifier before nursing, for just a few seconds, and then the baby was ready to nurse and not bite.

Mommygoth said...

Bad Bean, bad. I reiterate my offer to come put her out on the porch. Sounds like you've gotten some good advice overall from this group. Isn't it nice to have access to so many other mommies?