Saturday, March 5, 2011

Don't bite the breast that feeds you

I have been nursing my children for over 6 years. I have nursed/nursing 3 children. I have nursed through a miscarriage and 2 pregnancies. I have tandem nursed twice. You would think I would be a good expert, some of my friends seem to think so and ask me for help and advice but sadly I'm not.

I started off to a rocky start because Monkey was whisked away to NICU moments after birth as she was having troubles breathing due to fluid on her lungs and swallowing meconium. My first opportunity to nurse was on her second day of life. I knew it was important to get your milk established so I asked for a pump, I didn't get the pump until her second day of life even though she had been born at 9:05 am. I asked for a lactation consultant but one never showed up. When I did get a chance to hold my child for first time and nurse. The nurses never showed me how to do it. Luckily she latched on right away, however I was told it was taking too long and that she wasn't getting enough. I was told that if I didn't supplement her with formula her sugars would drop and I wouldn't be able to take my baby home. I was a new mom, desperate to do the right thing and be able to bring my daughter home. You would think with such a rocky start we wouldn't have made it. I've heard of lesser things disrupting the breastfeeding relationship but we persevered because it was important to me. My goal at that time was to nurse her for 1 year.

At around when Monkey was a month old I went to a playgroup help by a local baby-wearing group. There I learned how to use my sling, about all sorts of baby carriers and how to nurse in them. It was there that I was first exposed to extending nursing. I saw a woman nursing her toddler and I thought wow good for her but I would never be able to do that. It didn't seem right to nurse once they could ask for it. Why didn't it seem right? Because that's what society dictated. I was blessed by these women, they exposed me to so many things and showed me it was normal.

I ended up nursing Monkey for 4 years, her last nurse was on her 4th birthday. It was a decision we mutually came to. I nursed her through a miscarriage and Muffin's pregnancy. I tandem nursed them for 10 months. I nursed Muffin for just over 2 years before Tutu came along and have been tandem nursing them for 11 months and counting. You would think I've encountered all, latch problems (with Monkey), thrush(with all 3, yoga toddler nursing (all 3) and yet I've never experienced biting. Until now that is.

I don't know what to do about it. It's the same breast he bites. I've tried different techniques to stop it but it still keeps happening. I don't want to end our breastfeeding relationship but may need to if this doesn't stop. It saddens me to write this but I don't know how much longer I can tolerate this. It only happens when he's teething but it seems like all his teeth are trying to come in at once. A set comes in and then boom we start all over again.

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