I’ve been a bit MIA the past week. That’s because I’ve been on and off the phone with the breastfeeding center lactation consultants–my one-year-old has been biting.
The poor thing is teething and is taking it out on my nipples. I was unprepared for this as my older son ever bit me a handful of times. I was able to just smoosh him closer into my chest, he’d laugh, let go, and life carried on. But this guy? Ouch.
He started sort of nicking me every now and again. Ok, fine. I’d say, “Ouch!! Don’t bite Mommy! That hurts me!” and pull him from my breast for a bit before trying again.
He progressed toward clamping down each and every nursing session, multiple times per session. I got so I was afraid to nurse him–sitting very tensely with shoulders up practically to my ears. I had to watch his face every second, waiting for his jaw to tense and signal he might clamp down before I could stick a pinky in there to save my nipple.
(We know that when a baby is latched on properly, he can’t bite because the nipple is positioned too far into his mouth, so a clenched jaw is a telltale sign something’s about to go wrong)
By the time my breasts were bloody, my husband handed me the phone to call some professional help.
The plan we came up with was for me to keep offering the breast when Felix got hungry. I could bear two bites per nipple before I needed to end the nursing session, and after each bite I was pulling him off to look him in the eyes and explain that he was hurting me. Little mime that he is, he took to yelling, “Ouch!” before I could explain it to him.
Not wanting to compromise my supply (because after several days of each nursing session cut short, my body was sort of on the fritz), I chose to pump after getting bitten and my husband fed our son expressed milk while I applied a warm compress to my breasts. It took forever! Setting up the pump, pumping, cleaning my stuff…all this after I thought I was done pumping!
Eventually, I noticed we made it through a late-night session with no biting. Such relief! Then, the first nursing session of the day was pain-free as well. It seemed like he bit me more during his wakeful, active nursing sessions, but before naps and nighttime sleep he drowsily nursed away.
I used Neosporin on my poor nipples, but had to wash this off before nursing sessions, so that took a lot of time as well. What a hassle this teething jag has been!
I am happy to say that, even though the tooth has not sprouted from Felix’s gums, the pressure seems to have shifted and he’s back to pleasantly nursing. I certainly hope to never experience that sort of biting ever again.
Did your nursling ever bite you? Leave us a comment to share how you managed the pain!
If you’ve been following along, I trained for and ran a half marathon last weekend after my friend (and fellow nursing mother) had a prophetic dream that we did it.
Since January, I’ve worked to return to some semblance of my former, very fit self. I shifted my perspective about my workouts and am proud to say we completed the race! I’m prouder to say I registered that very night for a 10k in September, so I know I’ll stick with the workouts. But, first, some observations about the logistics of long runs plus lactation.
I felt so great about my training and shifted perspective–I let go of the idea of running the whole race, feeling ok about doing a walk/run combo–that my main concerns were getting to the start line and managing engorgement on race day.
My son turned 1 two days before the race and we’re starting to introduce cow’s milk while he is separated from me. So, I was neither worried about him starving nor about my supply being affected. I was, however, worried about being uncomfortable and maybe leaking all over the place.
Since his usual wake time is 5am, I felt pretty certain he’d sleep in on race day. This ended up being accurate (obviously!), but before I went to bed that night, I had set up my breast pump alongside my sneakers and running clothes. I sat down and pumped a startling amount of milk at 5:30, got dressed, ate breakfast, and popped out the door to meet my ride.
Never underestimate the power of a supportive mama friend! Becky and I are “Runners of Steel.”
I was right to be anxious about getting to the start. 30,000 people crammed into downtown Pittsburgh, where there is no grid system and all the start corrals were over-full. They also, for some reason, were not lined up alphabetically. It was really a cluster fart trying to find where we needed to be and we only crossed the start line around 7:30.
My body is used to nursing my little booger every 2 hours (yes, even at 12 months), so by the start gun at 7, I knew I was already full of milk. I did not bring a pump with me to the race, though. I chose to rely on adrenaline and a very tight sports bra. And it was fine!
It was actually more than fine. Becky and I ran almost the whole race, only walking through water stations and a few bits of the bigger hills. We finished right around 10:30, just like I’d expected. By then, it’d been 5 hours since I pumped and I was starting to feel it. My baby, though, was home with his grandparents and I realized I underestimated how long it would take us to get out of the finish line festivities and navigate road closures.
By the time I sat down to nurse at my house, it was 11:30 and I was about to burst! I didn’t even shower first, just sat down right in my race funk and put baby to breast. Aaahhhh, relief!
I will share that we ran alongside a mama who was running the full marathon. Heather has a 3-month-old at home and an abundant milk supply to begin with. Despite nursing before heading to the start line, she was full to the bursting point while we were running. Not even a double sports bra was helping her out by mile 20. Since her house was along the marathon course, she dashed home quickly to pump mid-race, and then ran right back out to finish the last 6 miles.
So there you go. Turns out it’s not that big a deal to be away from a nursing 12-month-old for 6 hours while running a race. A bigger deal for a nursing 3-month-old, but not insurmountable with access to express milk mid-race.
Did you complete a fitness challenge while you were nursing a baby? Leave a comment to share your memories of your milk supply on the big day!
This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, the breastfeeding blog hop is talking about mini Mamas–kids of nursing moms who wear and nurse their “babies.”
I love talking about my older son’s nurturing. I don’t like calling him a little “mommy,” mostly because he is very careful to assure me that he is going to be a Daddy when he grows up. While he may be an aggressive child and very interested in active, rough play, he is great at nurturing his babies. And not all his babies resemble humans!
I remember when Miles was about two, he started insisting I check out the rubber frogs from the Toy Lending Library. He just loved tandem nursing those frogs, lifting up his little shirt and holding one to each of his nipples. He got a baby doll for his first birthday and still spends a lot of time making believe Patrick Dowd (named for our City Councilman, who once gave Miles a sticker and earned a top spot in my son’s heart) is his own child.
Miles wearing Patrick Dowd in a back carry while eating breakfast.
Sometimes, I’m told I have to whisper in the living room because Patrick Dowd just nursed to sleep. I’ll find him wedged under a few pillows, buried in blankets. I’m just as likely to find the doll face-down in the rice bin “playing trucks.” My favorite moments are when I’m nursing my baby, Felix, and Miles snuggles up close to us on the couch to nurse baby Patrick Dowd.
Felix just turned one, and I asked Miles if he would help me pick out a baby doll for his brother’s birthday present. He took this job very seriously, selecting a soft-bodied doll wearing pink fleece. He tells me Felix’s doll is named Patrick Moonrise and my new problem is trying to shoo Miles out of the way when I’m nursing Felix–Miles keeps trying to wedge Patrick Moonrise against his baby brother’s nipples so he can nurse, too.
He also tries to relate to me when I lament Felix biting my nipples. “Oh I know!” Miles will say in his fake grownup voice. “Patrick Dowd bites my boobies, too. Look!”
For me, what’s most exciting about my sons (I use the plural because I sure hope Felix starts making believe he’s nurturing his babies, too!) nursing and caring for their toys is the chance I get to see them imitating how they see me parenting them. I love spying on the conversations Miles has with his dolls, the way he says, “There, there” while stroking a forehead or singing “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean” while nursing someone to sleep.
I see Miles taking this same sort of great care with his brother and always giggle if I’m working upstairs and to hear Miles responding to his brother crying. “Give him breastmilk!” he yells to his babysitters. “It makes Felix feel better!!!”
One day not so long ago, my mother was taking care of my boys for me and Felix began to fuss. Miles insisted my mom give Felix some breastmilk and she explained that she couldn’t do that. Miles scowled and asked, “Are you going to give him love??”
I love how much my son appreciates that the two are the same.
Do your children ever nurse their dolls and toys? Leave us a comment to share your favorite “mini mama” moments.
Ever since I started posting about jury duty, I’ve been getting lots of questions about deferrals, getting outright excused, and the difference between those terms. So, for Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County specifically, here is what we know.
Jurors will receive a summons in the mail. The summons will include a questionnaire that needs to be mailed in and also has a phone number to call with more information. Allegheny County actually has a really great website for juror information. It covers everything from childcare to parking.
So, the most common question I’ve been fielding is similar to this: “I just had a baby, I’m still recovering from birth not to mention breastfeeding constantly. I can’t serve on a jury! Are you crazy? I haven’t slept since I went into labor. What do I do??”
In Pennsylvania, you have to decide whether you will chance it that you’ll not have to go in, seek a deferral, or try to get excused from service. What is the difference?
Deferral means you are putting your jury service on hold for a few months. Instead of serving in, say, March, you’ll go in for jury duty in, say, May.
Here is what the Allegheny County website says about a deferral: “A first request … may be granted for many reasons including, but not limited to, adult care, work issues, vacation, or a pursuit of educational opportunities; however, only the summoned juror may request a postponement. Requests made by employers or other individuals will not be acknowledged.”
Deferral is so common, you can even do it online. You can even defer more than once, it seems, though subsequent requests must be made via postal mail instead of online. But most nursing moms won’t be in an improved situation in two months.
That’s when you want to attempt to be excused from service. When a juror is excused from service, her name goes out of the lottery system for 12 months, at which point she may or may not be drawn again, just like every other citizen of the county.
Seeking an excuse from service is a bit trickier than a deferral in Pennsylvania, but from what I’ve heard, not insurmountable. I can’t speak from first-hand experience because I wanted very much to serve on the jury.
Another nursing mom, Lauren, was summoned recently. As she’s home with an infant, a deferral won’t do her much good. Here’s what she learned: “I called and they send to send in my questionnaire with a letter requesting 1 year postponement due to breastfeeding.”
Remember that all citizens are technically eligible for jury selection every 12 months. Rather than have to defer again and again every 2 months, Lauren can send in a letter to be excused from service for one year. Will Lauren’s name come up again next March? It’s just the luck (or not) of the draw.
Bottom line: if you are concerned about serving jury duty due to breastfeeding or stay-at-home-parenting, call the number on the back of your juror summons to learn about policies in your county. In Allegheny County, it seems like the courts do a pretty awesome job supporting nursing families.
Has anyone else had experience with a deferral versus getting excused from service? Leave us a comment to share your experience.
The big day is finally here: my half-marathon takes place this Sunday! I’m excited to announce my main problems this week are worrying about getting to the start line (most of the roads leading to/from my house are along the marathon route and will be closed) and…what the heck to do about my . . . → Read More: Race Day Lactation Logistics
Lately, I’ve been talking with a lot of new moms about getting the hang of nursing in public. I remember how challenging that was, when I had my first son. In addition to feeling totally vulnerable about everything in the world, you’re out in public with a crying, hungry baby. In my case, . . . → Read More: Nursing in Public: Utilize Pack Mentality
Remember last week when I wrote about my concerns that my body stopped producing enough milk? And it was actually just a broken breast pump? I was alarmed by my speedy jump to distrust my own body and its biological processes.
This week, there has been quite the hubub online regarding a product . . . → Read More: Products That Prey On Moms’ Fears