Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trying not to quit my boob job

I am in a breastfeeding nightmare. If I wasn't so committed to giving my daughter the best possible start in life, I probably would've switched to formula a few days ago.

I wasn't exactly sure what was going on until two open wounds showed up on the same spot on each nipple. Allison had been using me as a teething apparatus.

The problem started when I discovered her top front teeth were coming in. As they began to poke through, each suck scraped and agitated one spot until I was forcefully biting my fingers to distract myself from the pain. When she was done, I realized that I had been holding my breath and clenching every muscle in my body.

Now I have two cracked, bleeding blisters that reopen with every feeding. Imagine taking a stapler to your nipple and punching down on it just enough to break the skin for about 20 minutes at a time. Then do it on the other nipple. Then repeat the process at least eight times a day.

Wonder what you'll end up with?

Excruciating pain that sends such strong shockwaves to your brain that it takes every ounce of willpower not to scream in agony. It's like placing your hand on a hot stove burner and forcing yourself to resist the urge to take it off. Because you know it's good for your baby. And you love her so much you'll find a way to deal with the pain.

But when it got to the point that I was actually crying while feeding her, I knew something had to give. It was only going to get worse if I didn't come up with potential solutions.

For now, I've repositioned Allison so her top teeth hit the other side, but it's still so painful that even the thought of it makes me tense. Plus, it's awkward and cumbersome, but I'm hoping I'll notice an improvement in the next few days.

In the meantime, I keep telling myself that I'll be rewarded for my perseverance. That because I'm dealing with this, my daughter will somehow skip the "I hate my mother" phase.

And if she doesn't?

I'll try to resist the urge to coat her entire bedroom in formula powder.


mercurial scribe said...

I had to stop because of my meds. :-( I admire you for your determination!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you use the breast pump and start bottle feeding her breast milk?

My mother stopped breast feeding my sister and I when we started teething, maybe you need to check with your doctor to see if it is okay for you to consider weening her away from breast milk?

Anonymous said...

What about pumping your milk and then feeding it to her?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, putting open sores in your child's mouth can't be good. if you are committed to giving her breast milk, give it to her in a bottle. It's booby juice either way.

Kathleen said...

Something tells me that having a tense, crying mother detracts from the whole experience for Allison, too. Babies are very perceptive and she's probably picking up on the fact that something is wrong, which may even be leading her to be more aggressive with her sucking/nibbling.
I think pumping is the way to go. That way she's still getting all the nutrients and other good stuff she needs from her, but you don't have to go through agony. That kind of thing, even if only on the most subconscious level, can lead to you resenting her.

Lioncloud said...

I agree with everyone above. She's gonna pick up on the tension because it's interfering with the intimacy of nursing. A happy, relaxed mom bottle-feeding breast milk beats a tense, tooth-gritting breast-feeding mom any day. Ask Allison.


Anonymous said...

I have expierienced the EXACT same thing first hand with both of my kids. They have a salve that you can use called Lanisoh that is not harmful to Alli. Maybe you can use that and cut back a little on the nursing until you heal up? Good luck. I feel for you.

jsi said...

The first brand new teeth are painful for her and for you, for good reason - they are very sharp. Once they progress through their full-fledge eruption, they will not be used as weapons, inflicting sores and pain.

Let your pump help you out, and others to be able to help you feed her. Has she taken well to a bottle at all? This can be the time a bottle helps you both. When the new teeth arrived, I pumped exclusively for a week, collecting and freezing, warming and giving in a bottle. It helped preserve a milk supply (actually it even boosted my milk supply) and prevented injury. And it was beneficial that solid food had been introduced, so little one was getting full.

Hopefully these wounds are not in the same region in which the pump latch on will be. If so, man alive, you can't get a break.

She'll begin to figure out those new teeth, but you can't ignore the mommy pain which feels beyond sacrifice. Protect her reservation at Restaurant Cleveage by healing her unintentional wounds - do the best you can.

Candi said...

I had a hard time with breastfeeding and ended up with the same problem. You will get a lot of advise from well-meaning mothers, grandmothers, etc. but ultimately it's up to you. Lansinoh cream is the best thing for soothing the dry cracked nipples and if you put it on right after every feeding it makes a huge difference. Good luck. :)

Bitchy Mom said...

Yup, I'm going to have to agree with the majority on this one. Pumping is the way to go. No need to be a martyr. Once the boo boos heal, try nursing again and make sure she latches properly. Teeth should not interfere.

And consider consulting the la leche league about it.

Please keep us updated on this new situation!

Anonymous said...

Try using a breast shield. That way at least her teeth could not penetrate your skin.

Ray said...

Awww, Kelly I'm sorry you're going through this. I don't know anything about breastfeeding, but maybe you could pump instead. But since you have those cuts, it would probably hurt just the same. Maybe you could call your doctor and ask for some advice. Hope you get this all settled out.

Take, care.

Wendy said...

Could you pump and then bottle feed (as everyone else has asked)?

Traci said...

Have you thought about a nipple shield? It might help until her teeth stop bothering her.

You could call La Leche League and see if they have any suggestions.

Marsha said...

I have nursed both of mine until all of their teeth (I mean up to two year molars LOL) came in and never had that happen.

I'd check with an lc, sounds her "latch" might need improvement. Honestly, that shouldn't happen. I've been a soothie for two teething babies and never had them bite or leave sores.

But then, I'm kind of a breastfeeding junkie. If I'd gotten sores, I bet I'd feel differently. And you've already given her a great start, so whatever you choose to do, do it with pride!