Since I hadn’t had any problems nursing Miriam since birth (except for oversupply but I was already used to that from Rachel) I thought it would be smooth sailing from here on out.
I thought wrong.
We’ve had a lot of changes in our family recently. For starters, we moved halfway around the world. Need I even go on from there? I’m sure if you don’t know firsthand about all the changes that involves that you can use your imagination.
Due to the stress or the plane ride or mere happenstance, both Rachel and Miriam caught a nasty cold and they just can’t seem to kick it. Fevers, chills, coughs, throw up, diarrhea. And we don’t even dare go to the doctor because we aren’t insured yet, thanks to the glorious free-market economy and the “fabulous” idea of letting private companies run the “business” of health…but I’ll spare you a political rant for now.
Anyway, things were fine until yesterday morning when Miriam latched on to nurse and instead of sucking she bit me.
“Don’t do that!” I told her, quickly unlatching her and tapping her mouth with my finger tips so that she would know that it was her mouth that did the bad thing.
This gravely offended her. She screamed and screamed and screamed like perhaps I had been the one to bite her.
The next time I tried to feed her she turned her head away and began the screaming again. I apologized for hurting her feelings and tried to latch her on again. No go.
Again and again and again I tried.
She twisted away from me, screamed, pushed me away with her hands, and blew air at me with a “p-hoo, p-hoo, p-hoo!”
She was downright miserable. And so was I.
Eventually I was able to trick her into nursing by coaxing her to sleep with her thumb in her mouth and then pulling it out and latching her on but there was no way I was ever going to get her to eat while she was awake.
My mom had a friend who did the same thing to her baby when she got bit and her baby never nursed again. Not once. I was kind of scared that would happen to us and was really sad about this because everything has been going so well. So I went online to see what was happening and if there was anything I could do about it.
After reading dozens of articles I found out that sometimes babies start biting while nursing if they’re really congested. Who knew? Not me. Another article suggested that sometimes babies bite if they’re stressed out and to make sure that nothing had “changed” for the baby—shampoo, soaps, bedtime schedule, new people…like I could do anything about that. It was also possible that I startled her a little when I reacted to her bite but Andrew said that I didn’t react too strongly—he was right in the room with me and assured me I didn’t yell or anything—so it shouldn’t be that I scared her away from nursing.
Still, it was hard not to feel guilty for not being able to feed her. She was sad and sick and hungry and sometimes I could tell that she wanted to eat but she just couldn’t or wouldn’t latch on.
I’ve spent the last however long coaxing her to eat.
Feeding her right when she’s falling asleep seemed to work alright, especially if she was still sucking her thumb. Once I even grabbed her from her crib in the still of the night and latched her on while she was sleeping soundly. Still, I had to pump for her and was still so engorged I felt like I could hardly move.
When she was awake I would just let her snuggle with me until she started rooting around, and root she did, but she never really nursed. Sometimes when she was distracted with a toy she’d latch on for a suck or two while examining it.
Mostly I just fed her expressed milk from a sippy cup all day, unless she was ready to fall asleep.
It’s been a frustrating (and painful) 36 hours.
Then this evening she was down with Grandpa (who is now also sick) watching a little Star Trek when she suddenly got incredibly bored and started fussing.
I went downstairs to retrieve her and when I picked her up she latched onto my chin and started ravenously sucking.
“What?! You want to nurse?” I asked.
I couldn’t believe it, but she did. She latched on without any fight and nursed for about ten minutes before falling asleep. And later she nursed during family scripture study, too.
Two successful nursing sessions doesn’t necessarily mean the strike is over, but I would sure be happy if it was! A day and a half of little to no nursing is long enough for me!