I wrote about my positive experience with breastfeeding here when Bella was four months old and I have also talked about my fears of breastfeeding a baby with teeth here. Back then, I was told that breastfeeding a toothy baby isn't that bad and I have personally found that to be the case. So don't be scared of those little pearly whites! Yes, I was chomped a bit on a couple occasions, but I gave her a firm (and startled), "NO!" and took her off. She hasn't bitten me since. Well, hasn't bitten me on the boob. Shoulders, arms, legs...that's another story. There was a period of time recently when my nipples still felt a bit sore adjusting to the toothy latch, but things have resolved and it's back to smooth sailing.
Can I pause for a moment to reiterate that I still think nipples are creepy? And that writing nipples in that last sentence of the previous paragraph felt pervy? And that I still think breastfeeding is a little weird in general? When it comes down to it, I remain a 12-year-old girl. That kind of thinking hasn't gone away entirely. But you know what? A little nipple/breastfeeding creepiness is nothing when you consider how I got into this situation in the first place. When one really stops to think about it, having sex, being pregnant, and delivering a baby is HIGHLY CREEPY. Even a word like creepy becomes creepy when you mull over it enough (creeeeeepy...creep-y....cree-pee....kah-reep-ee...See? It's gone all weird on you.) So, I guess I'm just saying a little creepiness with breastfeeding is no biggie when we live in a world of creep. And also - it's best not to over-think anything. (Oh wait, too late.)
These days I breastfeed Bella about 4-5 times a day. I weaned her off that pesky final night feeding just last week. She is still easily distracted while eating, so I have to feed her in a quiet room. She will sometimes let me read a paperback book while she's eating, but I have to be careful not to rustle the pages or she will stop and grab the book from me. Sometimes she will get giggly while I'm feeding her and will grin at me with my nipple still held firmly in place in her mouth, which often causes milk to run out. Other times she will be indescribably sweet, running her soft little hand up and down my side or perhaps gently patting my chest. Most days she will be pinchy and grabby at least a couple times. Occasionally there is the inquisitive feeding, which takes place when she isn't terribly hungry. During that feeding she'll pop off the boob and study my nipple very carefully before taking it in her thumb and forefinger and twisting it up and down (yup - the baby gives me a titty twister). There is also the sleepy feed, where she flops her arm over her eyes and it takes much effort on my part to keep her from nodding off.
I love breastfeeding these days and I am sad to think that I might have to begin to wean her when she turns a year old in order to get my period back so we can start trying for baby number two. If I could have my way, I would keep feeding her through next winter, even if that means feeding her while I'm pregnant. (I know! Weird!) I no longer feel a need to have a few months of having my body to myself between breastfeeding Bella and conceiving the next babe. Breastfeeding is such a cozy thing and I'm incredibly thankful that I've been able to keep it up this long without problems. Once upon a time I thought that my baby getting their teeth would mean the end of breastfeeding for me. Now I know that isn't the case at all.
Nursing at The Walker Art Museum