With Teeth

Peanut waited beyond the “normal” time to get her teeth. Quite honestly, it worried me a bit. Then BOOM! she gets 5 teeth over the span of one month—believe me, it wasn’t fun. Now, while I’m quite enjoying her toothy grins, I’m amazed at how many people expect me to stop breastfeeding.

For some it was the first response. I showed one friend her newly acquired first tooth and she immediately says “I guess your ‘relationship’ is done?” Of course, being the knowledge spewer I am, I go off into an inappropriately long explanation of how breastfeeding with teeth works.

How does it work you say? According to all of the internets I’ve read on the subject (because I was quite afraid of teeth before they started sprouting) your nursling shouldn’t be able to bite you so long as the latch is correct. It makes sense because so much of the nipple is in their mouth that they can’t really bite down (at least not very hard).

Even my mother-in-law has asked me whether or not we’ve had problems with biting. Yes, there have been instances of her starting to unlatch and accidentally biting in an effort to get the nipple back in her mouth. Yes, there are times when it feels a little weird because I can feel her teeth while she’s eating. Yes, there have been a couple times when I shout in pain and have to set her down for a moment.

From what I hear, it’s just another learning experience. We will eventually get used to these new teethies being involved in our breastfeeding relationship and avoid upsetting situations. I bold the word “we” because they’re new to Peanut too. It’s a learning experience for both of us.

I’m sure that teeth is just the beginning of the “Aren’t you going to stop breastfeeding because of (insert event)?” questions. When Peanut was six months old my mother’s friend asked when we planned on stopping. Six. Months. Old. In a month and a half, we’ll get the “Aren’t you going to stop breastfeeding because she can have cows milk now?” When she’s two I’m sure I’ll get “Aren’t you going to stop breastfeeding because you’ve reached the WHO recommendation?”

So a quick answer to all of you out there reading this—we’ll stop when we’re ready. When that will be, I don’t know. So. Stop. Asking.

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21 thoughts on “With Teeth

  1. LOVE this post! Some random stranger (a mom) and I were talking in the peds office a while ago, and we were talking about teeth. When I said he was teething she flat out said “Oh you should stop nursing him” I was so thrown a-back! I was like ‘who the hell are you to tell me to stop nursing MY child?!?!’

    Some people are just plain idiots and stick their noses where they don’t belong. It’s funny how some people think you breastfeeding YOUR child is THEIR business!

    *phew* okay, now my little vent is over, lol

    • I was pretty surprised when I was in the pediatrician’s office recently and he tried to tell me that if I let Peanut sleep in our bed beyond one year it would be “difficult to get her out.” Like it wouldn’t be difficult to get her sleeping by herself now? Ha! Not to mention that I wouldn’t get any sleep! I flat out told him “She’ll be in our bed at least until she night weans.” That was that!

      • Don’t you just love it when other people tell you how to parent your child? People are asking me when I’m going to put him in his own bed. My response–when we’re good and ready!

      • That’s the question I get, not nursing, but co-sleeping, when are we stopping. Well, let’s see, we’re going to be moving and staying at other people’s houses for awhile where there isn’t room for a crib. Is Daniel REALLY going to want to magically start sleeping in the pack and play? And even if he did, do I really want to take it down and set it up again every day? It actually seems quite convenient for this next few months and we’re moving around that he co-sleeps because we’re used to him in the bed and he’s used to being there, since he’ll pretty much have to be with us.

      • Babies aren’t made to sleep alone. I don’t know why this is such a weird thing to so many people when 70% of parents bring their child to their bed at some point in time. Not only is it better for a child to be sleeping with their parents, but I’m sure that I would be going insane at this point for lack of sleep if I weren’t co-sleeping. Now I’m all fired up. I think I might write a post on co-sleeping now.

  2. Wow! What amazing timing for me to read this post. R will be 6 months tomorrow and his first tooth is on it’s way any day now. At work I told a couple of clients and co workers and had at least 3 people ask or make snarky comments about when we’d be stopping nursing. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I will say that all of the people who said anything, none of them were moms. So, not sure if that means anything or not? Before I was a mama, even if I had my own opinions about how others were raising their kids, I would NEVER say anything to them. I wish others felt the same.
    Well, thanks for a great & well timed post. And as I know you will, keep nursing that adorable Peanut for as long is right for you two.

    • It kills me when people who don’t have kids give parenting advice. Half of the time it doesn’t make ANY sense! I wish I would have kept my mouth shut more when I was childless. I’m surprised some of my friends didn’t kick me.

  3. We’ve had the same experience- Q is ten months, has bottom teeth and the top 4 are coming in. I’ve gotten nipped/scraped a couple times, but now I know to unlatch him if he is acting done and starting to seem like he might get distracted and look around. I know it’s annoying when people act like nursing is freaky when they are approaching toddlerhood (Q is full on walking)- but it is a great chance to educate, so good for you for taking the time to do that.

    • Peanut is walking too! Okay, that probably sounded more excited than I actually am. Everyone acts like having a kid who is advancing quickly is so cool, but it’s just more hassle in my opinion. I’m sure I’ll start getting more looks as she walks up to me and pulls on my shirt though. 😛

  4. I had a similar experience the other day explaining how nursing works while pregnant- that you do lose some supply and the composition of the milk changes, and some babies will self-wean and some won’t. The person asked, “So don’t you think you should stop since your body is saying that?”
    “Well, it’s not saying it very loud because I do still have supply and Margaret is apparently not phased by it!”

    • Your body is “saying” to stop breastfeeding? Ha! Even if you weren’t producing a drop, there’s so much more to breastfeeding than the milk she gets! I hope that I’m still breastfeeding when I get pregnant (which we’re in no rush to do, so who knows) so I can educate people!

  5. My son slept with my husband and I until he was 16 months old, We loved having him in our bed, but I was tired of getting kicked in the face every night and not getting any sleep because he bacame a wild sleeper. It was didfficult to get him in his own bed, but it only took a couple nights and he got it down. Now where near as long as every one told me it would take. My mother in law used to give us crap about it ALL THE TIME! How she was so worried about us rolling over on him, or how it was bad for him. There are some nights now I will bring him in our bed and he does just fine going back into his. As far as the nursing goes, I nursed until he was 16 months old and had 12 teeth. He would only bite when he was falling asleep and started slipping off. They learn not to bite and nursing is not problematic at all. I hated the remarks I would get for still nursing him passed one year. I didn’t have anyone who understood why I did it. it helps me to read your blog and see that I was not weird for choosing to nurse those few extra months. I am expecting my secind child, and will do the same thing!

    • I totally understand the wild sleeping! She’s not very bad yet, but some nights I wonder if it would be nice for her to be separate from me. I’ve pretty much decided that even if she is kicking and hitting me (or like this morning, breastfeeding while kicking my husband) I’m still getting more sleep than if I had to try to get her into her own bed every night.

  6. Stinky breastfed well into 18th months, teeth and all! I felt rushed by a lot of people to ween her, which looking back, kinda ticks me off. I miss that special bond, but now she is a good deal more independent, so I won’t complain.

    We still co-sleep, and will until she’s ready to move. Sure we have a little spongebob bed at the foot of ours, but I won’t push her. I’ll sacrifice my pillow, or take a kick to the face for the team. 🙂

  7. I actually got harassed by my relatives at Thanksgiving…they complained that we “barely even let us look at Baby” because I kept dissapearing into a bedroom where there was space to nurse Baby (he’s highly distractible plus no one ever offered to give up their seat, so I was stuck standing the whole time!) They actually think that it’s rude to breastfeed around extended family or friends and you should bottlefeed when you have company or are visiting someone! I say no way!

    • I can’t imagine bottle feeding whenever people are around. That would be such a hassle! Not to mention that breastfeeding at the breast is healthier for baby because they can send signals to mom.

  8. Hi! I’m popping over from Top Hat’s blog, so my first time here.

    I think the weaning when teeth appear is absolutely ridiculous! First off, it makes no sense to stop giving them milk when they don’t have enough teeth to chew properly. Secondly, nursing actually HELPS with teething pain, so really you shouldn’t wean until all the teeth are in! (Ideally) Really, why would you stop unless there’s a problem, and it most cases, teeth are only a minor obstacle that is easily overcome.

    Anyway, I just told everyone right off that I would be nursing for AT LEAST two years, and so far only one asked me how long we would nurse, and she was only curious (and I like when they ask “how long” instead of “when are you going to stop”).

    • I totally agree. Though just to let you know, they can chew without teeth. Peanut didn’t get her first teeth until 3.5 months after she started eating solids (we did Baby-led Weaning which means no mushed food, just straight to table food) and she would just chew with her gums.

      • Yeah, but there’s a limit to how much they can chew. We started baby-led weaning around 6-7 months, and he didn’t get his first two teeth until he was 11 months, and he didn’t get his next two until 15 or 16 months, then a month later started working on his top molars. I notice three factors that affect chewing: age-related development, the amount of teeth (a very distinct difference for my child), and practice. The more teeth he’s gotten, the more efficiently he’s been able to eat…with only a few teeth he’s such a slow eater that he has to fill up on milk, but with more teeth he is eating more solids. For my kid, at least, I’m convinced he won’t be able to eat full meals without milk supplement until he has at the very least top and bottom molars, but I really think it makes sense not to wean until all the milk teeth are in. I want him to be able to chew nuts (because isn’t nut butter the same as mashed and pureed food?). Anyway, I know I totally went off, there–I think that’s the first time I actually wrote my opinion on teeth, eating, and weaning, so I may have gone overboard. (By the way, I’m a big believer in baby-led weaning. My son is 19 months and eats a great variety of healthy foods, of his own choice.)

  9. My 10-month old Alana finally has teeth! She’s got two little stubs on the bottom that haven’t fully emerged yet, but boy do they hurt when she chomps down. Between the biting, pinching and scratching, it’s a lot to deal with it. It’s been so frustrating, but I don’t want to give up. I made the commitment to do this and I’m going to stick with it.
    Thanks so much for this post. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. 🙂

    Kristi, Live and Love…Out Loud
    @TweetingMama

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