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June 14, 2010

I Am Not a Teether

As soon as I felt that tooth through the gum, I knew that this day would come, the day when my little boy would turn the dairy farm into a teether. I knew that it would hurt and that I would be purchasing an obscene amount of Lansinoh with the prayer that it would dull the pain. What I didn't expect? Just how seriously I would consider giving up breastfeeding. Make no mistake, my boobs are not a chew toy, not even for someone I love as much as my little boy.

Nursing wasn't easy from the start; we had latching issues, but we stuck with it. As long as I was able to nurse, it was a priority to give it our very best try. And our persistence was worthwhile; we got past the latching problems and Nathaniel started guzzling milk at a rate that would strike fear into the hearts of a farm full of dairy cows.

It all went smoothly until this evening. The babe and I were sitting on the couch, snuggling together as he was nursing. And all of a sudden... BLINDING PAIN. He bit down on my boob, HARD. Hard enough where I let out a screech and tried to pull him away, but he wouldn't let go. It was like I had stepped onto the set of 'Dawn of the Dead' and I was being eaten alive by a horde of zombies.

And just before I was about to scream for the hubs to come rescue me from my baby who was playing the role of one of the hungry undead a bit too realistically, Nathaniel let go.

Now, I know that I'm being a bit of a wuss. I could suck it up and power through, hoping that my baby eventually learns that my boobs are not the same thing as his Sophie. But my little boy is only five months old.

How do you teach a five month old baby not to bite?

I thought I wanted to be Super Mom, to nurse beyond six months. I sincerely believed that I would continue breastfeeding until close to Nathaniel's first birthday but tonight, I'm no longer sure. I love snuggling with my son as he eats, something that will be gone all too quickly when he learns to crawl and wants to be exploring instead of sitting with mama. I love the convenience of being able to feed my baby without planning ahead and bringing a bottle everywhere we go. I love saving money for our family by choosing not to buy formula, but can I really endure this pain for convenience and a few dollars saved?

As I debate this, I can't help but to feel as though I'm simply being weak, as if I need to turn-in my Super Mom cape. As a mother, shouldn't I be able to endure this for my little boy? And given the fact that I am physically able to breastfeed my baby, how can I justify spending money on formula when I could choose a free option?

Because he loves me, the hubs will gladly support whatever I decide. But as I sit here tonight, I'm torn. I love my baby and I want to do what's best for him and our family, but is it worthwhile to continue to nurse through the pain?


  1. i took away the "food supply" when isabelle would bite me, and she quickly learned that biting meant NO food, so she stopped biting. I nursed until 14mo, and she had plenty of teeth. good luck!

  2. I've been thinking about that a lot too! If I can't get him to quit chewing on me, I don't think I'll keep doing it. I'll probably try to pump and give that to him as long as I could. I also have an insane freezer stash so that will help too. It's a hard decision but you have to do what's best for you! We are not chew toys! ; p

  3. My daughter had 2 teeth by 4 months (16 teeth by 13 months old!) and I panicked too when she bit me then. It took a few times of enduring the pain, but I also took away the food supply when she did it. She learned fast at just 4 months old. I nursed until she was a year old. You can do it! It only takes a few times and you'll be glad you stuck with it.

  4. I fear this day as well! However, like the previous comment said, I've heard that's the best way to "teach" them not to bite. Good luck, I'm sure you can get through this!

    (PS- I found your blog via the Bump and really enjoy it! I'm also in Minneapolis)

  5. You could alwasy pump! Also, go look on google for ways to stop baby's from bitting during feeding.

  6. I haven't had to experience this, as Sophia is slow in getting her teeth, but I read in a book about a woman who would pull a little bit of her son's hair when he bit her. I guess he correlated the pain with biting. I guess the idea is for the child not to see you do it and then he won't think you are hurting him. Kinda like training an animal. Hmmm. I am not sure how I feel about it or if I will even try, but I wanted to pass the idea a long.

  7. I would like to stick with it... I just can't have him chewing on my boobs.

    I've also heard of something similar to pulling the hair- I knew a woman who told me to "flick his cheek with my finger" when he bit me. I too have mixed feelings on that.

    I really like the idea of just taking the food away when he bites. But how long do I take it away? Do we stop nursing for 5 minutes? An hour? If he's still hungry, do we just let him cry?


    I have a baby almost the exact same age, and am getting really nervous about this myself! Just don't forget, on top of the convenience and saving money, you are providing him with the perfect nutrition. :)

  9. O my dear girl...This decision is certainly up to you and Jonathan. If you want to continue breastfeeding, I know you can train Nathaniel quickly. He is a very bright little guy. Both you girls had plenty of teeth by the time I stopped nursing. I would try quickly removing your breast when this happens (thereby interrupting his dinner...AND his chew fun). You don't need to stop for long...just long enough to have him realize it. I bet he'll catch on fast and learn that mom's need gentleness in this department.