Biting the Boob that Feeds You

Mona Hickey

Posted By: Mona Hickey

I went back to work at eight weeks. The biggest fear I have is that my milk is going to dry up. I can't stress out because it zaps milk supply! How do I keep zen about something I have become obsessed with?

I'm reading this book about management strategy and it says to look at the bright spots, what small glints of success are in the work you do. The authors also explained that laziness is often a disguise for exhaustion and boy, oh boy am I exhausted! So exhausted that I melt into the couch and exert only enough energy to press the buttons on the remote control, or enough energy to open my mouth and tell my four-year-old to find the remote for me.

One bright side of breastpumping is that there are no teeth involved. Since my baby's teeth emerged -- two small white nubs on top and two sharp square bits on the bottom -- there are some moments of hesitation before feeding begins. There are some days when he bites down as he's nursing and it feels like I'm not so much breastfeeding a baby as I am a sink disposal, the switch flipped on and the metal blades whirring away. I grit my teeth instead of yelping and I do everything in my power not to yank my boob away, which is my instinct when something is hurting me and that something is my darling baby's mouth of pain.

I don't have this experience while pumping. Even though I don't get to rub my son's head nor do our eyes meet as I nurse, I am not in incredible pain because my son is gnawing on my boob as if it's a rib bone and he's trying to consume the last bits of fat and gristle. The pump has never physically hurt me the way my son has. As uncomfortable it was in the beginning to sit and pump, I have never muffled a scream because someone has bit down and then laughed! The pump has never used my body as a chew toy, a loose bag of skin that is full of food and nerves and attached to the person who gave you life, baby!

When I am pumping, I am in control. I can choose how long to pump, where to do it and what I want to surround me -- fruit baskets, vanilla candles, or Sir Mix-a-Lot's Christmas album. I don't have the same luxury with my baby. He needs a soft environment with little light, few sounds. Basically every time he feeds, I have to transform wherever we are into a European spa -- right after I nurse him, he will be treated to a revitalizing scalp treatment, seaweed body masque and spa smoothie while my only luxurious massage is when my four-year-old walks on my back.

Every pumping session I may be reminded that I am away from my sweet, sharp mouthed baby but there are enough bright spots in those moments that it makes it worth it. Plus, this will provide fodder for my pretend parenting book entitled: BABIES THAT BITE!

12:00pm on Monday January 31


2:58am on Friday February 3


samantha ford
5:04pm on Thursday February 24

something to look forward to!

Jessica Lackey
1:40pm on Thursday February 24

I returned to work at 12 weeks and was pumping, still am pumping at work and my baby is almost 8 months old. Its not always easy for me to go pump but I have to make time, and most of the time its frustrating and leaves me behind in my work, but I just think of why I do it and it calms me, and I always get caught up on work after. I still pump 3 times at work or about every 4 hours for a 12 hour shift, I too had the same worries of my milk supply decreasing but despite my fears I have had no problems! As hard as it may be try to relax and don't worry about that until and if you come to that road.

Lili Hill
12:51pm on Thursday February 24

I had issues with my son biting and had to pull him away and say 'owwie' a few times before he caught on that biting is unacceptable. He cried and got upset that mommy was upset, but he got over it after maybe 3 days of random biting episodes. I had MAJOR issues with pumping, so it wasn't an option for me to stop nursing and go for the pump. Spent money on a pump I thought would be good but hated every time I had to use it and simply could not afford to buy a different type after splurging on what should have been a decent one. Live & learn I guess.

Leah Lowe
12:20pm on Thursday February 24

My almost nine month old only bites the boob on occasion. However, the way her teeth are coming in are making it painful to feed her. As she sucks, she pulls my nipple against her teeth and yow! I've had to switch her to the football hold when feeding on the left side as I'm pretty sure that nipple's just going to come right off one day.

She bites everything else. My left shoulder in particular.

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