Breastfeeding, Exhaustion, and Teething Questions

Sleeping and eating at the same time! Wouldn't it be awesome if I could sleep while he nursed, too?
Sleeping and eating at the same time! Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could sleep while he nursed, too?

My baby is nursing ALL OF THE TIME. Growth spurt or teething, it’s exhausting to create food for him. Yes, he sleeps well. Yes, I get naps. Yes, we have a wonderful nursing relationship. No, I haven’t had any physical problems with breastfeeding. I know, I live a life of luxury many moms dream about. It’s just never enough, for any parent.

I have a list of really cool things to do and things I have done. Things I am excited about. Here’s the thing: being a parent is exhausting. People brag about sleep deprivation, so this should be obvious, right? But I forget to cut myself slack. Also, producing milk takes energy. It’s physics; in order to turn something into something else, energy gets expended. That’s why I lost the “baby weight” quickly, right? People realllllly love to tell me so! More to the point: exhaustion and anxiety really don’t go together well. When I’m exhausted, I can take care of the anxiety, and I can’t do much of anything else.  I don’t want advice. I’m really happy with how we are parenting Walter. I just really miss that time about a month ago, maybe less but I’m losing track of time, when he was nursing a little less and seemed to plateau into a really nice pattern. I also miss that four and five months aren’t really milestone ages, so people just say “Are you loving it?” And I would say “YES!” Because we had hit a stride. There’s a lot of writing that isn’t getting done, and I’m feeling stabby about that.

These days, I’m likely to be at the computer (if I get here at all) with the Boppy across my lap, across desk chair arm rests, with a baby who is nursing, sleeping and waking up to protest every time I move or cough or sneeze or, God forbid, make him switch sides.

But here’s what really makes me stabby: other people are obsessed with my kid’s teeth, and I don’t have the energy to talk about it. Can I just have a sign that says “I see no teeth!” for every time someone asks me how old he is and, on hearing his age, if he’s teething, yet? Here’s how it goes, with every stranger from my landlady to the lady at the Italian grocery with the yummy imported lemon soda,

“He’s so cute! How old?”

“Six months.”

“Is he teething?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t see any teeth, but they can take time to show up.”

“Well, this is the age!”

“Yep. I don’t see anything. Maybe, though.”

“He’s drooling a lot.”

“The doctor says that’s normal for his age, teeth or no teeth.”

“He’s spitting up. My kids did that from all the drool with teething.”

“He has always spit up a lot.”

“[Skeptical look.] Well, he doesn’t seem too fussy.”

“Depends on the time of day, but he likes seeing new people.”

“[To the baby.] Are you getting a little tooth? A tiny itty bitty tooth?”

Why is this so fascinating? I could tell you about his adventures with food. Hilarious. I could tell you about how he’s so cute and wobbly when he tries to sit up. We could wonder together about why he wants to be on his tummy when he wakes up in the morning but not any other time of day. His “talking” is also really, really cute. The giggles? Awesome. But you just want to talk about teeth. I don’t have the energy for hypothetical teeth. He’s biting me while nursing, but not often (holy moly, does that hurt! even with no teeth!). He’s fussier than usual, but not crazy. He’s waking at different times, but not crying when he wakes. I just don’t know if there are teeth coming!

All we know is this: he just wants Mama. And milk. Lots of milk. I want him to be ok sitting in the little baby chair he can now actually sit up in for long enough to make myself a real lunch. I try telling him that I’m planning to share with him. So sometimes, he has to wait for Mama and milk. Neither of us seems to like this phase much… At least if I can get food made, he is totally entertained by helping me “eat” it!

Painting with baby yogurt.
Painting with baby yogurt.

5 Comments

  1. Lindsay Okruch said:

    My girls teeth FOREVER before any actual teeth pop out, and I’m sure that’s exactly what you want this comment to be about, your baby’s teeth. lol. Six months is a growth spurt though, it’ll taper off again things will be like they were. Hang in there mama, this will pass. xoxo

    April 27, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Actually, I have been wondering if teething behavior can start and stop without teeth actually showing any outward signs of appearing. So this is helpful! I think what bothers me is the arguing. “He must be teething!” I’m sorry, stranger lady, I just. don’t. know. <3

      April 27, 2013
      Reply
      • Lindsay Okruch said:

        Lol! How is it that strangers think they know the people we spend EVERY MINUTE with more than us? hahaha. Miss you darlin’. <3

        May 9, 2013
        Reply
  2. Jane said:

    At some point I realized, after pregnancy and having a small child, that most people just suck at the art of conversation, especially with strangers. We don’t usually realize it because either we are discussing completely mundane topics like the weather and “may I take this chair from your table?” Unlike those things, pregnancy and parenting are highly personal and are a big deal to us, in both good and bad ways. Which is not to say that we can’t have great conversations with strangers that are pleasant, but it means that when people don’t know how to ask questions, listen to the answers, and pick up on social cues (you’re getting one word answers – leave the poor mama alone…), it shows much more quickly.

    I don’t know how to deal with this – I wish I did. I never have figured out how to get people to stop asking me unnecessarily personal questions about pregnancy. But if it helps, it’s not you. I’m pretty sure it’s them. :)

    April 30, 2013
    Reply
  3. Nicole Reeb said:

    My son didn’t get his first tooth until a week after his first birthday! People started telling mere was teething at six weeks.

    May 3, 2013
    Reply

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