I’m lucky enough to know really helpful and amazing women who are comfortable talking about just about everything. When I freaked out, yesterday, because my son, Walt, hurt me, again, while nursing, my friend Avi responded to my exasperated tweet with some fantastic advice and an e-hug. He has been scratching and pinching me, so she suggested holding his hand and firmly stating, “That hurts Mama” and stroking his hand softly. I was freaking out, so I didn’t do that at the time, but I’ve tried it since and, to my shock, I felt better. And, because I was holding his hand, Walt had to stop pinching me.
Until now, I haven’t had any trouble breastfeeding. I’ve been so blessed. The first weeks of Walt’s life, about half his diet was actually donated breastmilk, so that we could give his little body time to adjust to whatever amount of my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication makes it into my own breastmilk. Even though I pumped an ounce for every ounce Walt got via bottle, I think that the bottle feeding must have given my body and skin time to get used to the whole thing. I never had the kind of soreness I’ve heard about. I just assumed that everything would continue to go on without like it has–drama free.
I’ll just say it: breastfeeding has been easy.
Until now. I am now being bitten, scratched and pinched until I am red, black and blue. My son is teething s l o w l y and bites down on anything and everything he can get in his mouth. He recently decided to start fighting with the nail clipper, and at the same time, began exploring nearby textures by scratching at them in a repeated motion. Finally, he has figured out how to pinch things between thumb and forefinger.
I don’t know how, but I managed to snip those razor-sharp little nails, today. Even so, look what he did to himself before I finally could clip them:
I’d show you my wounds, but I don’t want to put pictures of my nipples online and I can’t photograph the place on my arm where he pinched me hard enough to leave a bruise. And the big scratch on my neck has pretty much healed.
I’m just trying to be real and show all the sides of this mom thing. It’s really hard to be the main source of nutrition for a seven-month-old who has, on several occasions, clamped his gums down on my nipple and then turned his head. I’m frustrated. I’m a little skiddish. I’m starting to wonder if I should be pureeing food to spoon-feed him, rather than letting him eat whole foods, like we have been. (Baby-Led Weaning. It’s definitely the coolest. Until breastfeeding starts to get hard. Then, I kind of wish my kid was dropping a feeding or two due to calories consumed via spoon. More on that later.)
So I’m having a tough time. I panicked last night, because I thought maybe I couldn’t power through or follow through on my commitment to nurse until Walt was ready to stop. I want to nurse him until he’s at least a year old, like the AAP recommends. I’m not giving up on that. But this is a bump in a road that, until now, was really smooth. I believe in sharing the tough stuff, not just the pretty things.
Has your child ever hurt you? How did you respond?