Last week, Eli cut his first tooth. His right mandibular central incisor. And my cockiness of being a super-breastfeeder slapped me in the face.
He’s been drooling and chewing on things for months, but the past couple of days he’s been drooling like a faucet and gnawing on things like a dog would with a bone. He has some pimples on his rosy cheeks and his nose has been extra snotty. He’s waking up more frequently in the night. He is also acting a little squirrely: extra clinging, rubbing his face (burrowing?) into me constantly and squealing (not crying) a lot. He’s definitely working on a second tooth.
Normally when he makes a certain noise, I know he is telling me that he is hungry. Yesterday morning, I was starting to feed him as normal, and oooooouuuuuuuuchhhhhhhhh!! CHOMP! I got bit. And i yelped. And he let go – startled. I knew I would get bit one of these days, but that tooth is mighty sharp and it surprised me. Elijah laughed – he wasn’t actually hungry. I have now learned that his hungry noise is also his “I need to chew on something. ANYTHING. Right now!” noise.
Ok. I can do this. I’ll be prepared. When he shows signs of hungry, I’ll feed. If he bites again, I’ll pull him towards me to get him to unlatch. I’ll have a teething toy ready. I’ll tell him “No biting” gently but firmly. And then I’ll let him feed again if he is really hungry. That’s what all the websites say to do.
It happened again. I brought him to latch, he clamped down and would.not.let.go. I shed some tears and got him to unlatch. He did that a couple of times. At that point, I got tense and was afraid to try again. I gave him some extra pears.
No, I am not planning on stopping breastfeeding anytime soon. “When your baby is latched on correctly and nursing actively, getting milk from your breast and swallowing, it’s physically impossible to bite. This is because your baby needs to stop sucking in order to bite. When latched on properly and nursing, your nipple is far back in your baby’s mouth. In order to bite your baby has to adjust his tongue and allow your nipple to slide forward towards his teeth.” – La Leche League International
Which tells me that Elijah isn’t biting because he is hungry, he is biting because he is teething. He’ll eat when he’s hungry and bite when he’s not. If he’s hungry, he’ll cry when I unlatch. If he isn’t hungry, he will laugh and move on to something else.
We will get through this. [everything is a phase]. My mantra for the next little bit.
Nursing will not be my automatic baby soother anymore – I’ll try to read his actions and sounds more closely (perhaps a finger first to see if he sucks or chews?). I’ll keep cold teething toys/cloths nearby. A hungry tummy doesn’t rule the world of a 7.5 month old quite like it did for a newborn. He’ll be okay.
When I offer to nurse, I’ll be extra careful about positioning, listen for the sound of drinking and pay attention to mouth movements. No pinning or chatting or sudoku-ing! I will enjoy and savour our time together.
I will offer smiles, hugs, and kisses. Try not to yelp – Even if I am in extreme pain. The last thing I want is a nursing strike.
I’ll be extra careful with unlatching.
I will try to relax (but know that shedding a few tears is normal until we become champion breastfeeders again.)
(thank you kellymom.com and llli.org)