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I’ve weaned my son from breastfeeding at 9 ½ months old. (I know that’s young, but he still gets formula bottles so it’s not like I’m totally depriving him.) And I have a really good reason: He bit me. With teeth. While nursing. On my nipple. Not only did it hurt (a lot), but it bled and has taken over five days to heal. That wasn’t a little love nip, that was a full-blown bite.
I swore (loudly, at daycare no less, but it was more of a take-the-lord’s-name-in-vain type of swearing, rather than an actual naughty word), gently but quickly removed him from my nip, decided if he was feeling spunky enough to bite me then he was done eating, showed the war wound to hubby for sympathy (who was with me to pick up Max that day), and realized that the day had come. The last day that Max would breastfeed.
This has been coming for a while. Max is very food oriented. He was lunging for Spaghetti-O’s at three months old, before he’d even had a taste of puree. By his choice he moved on to finger foods well before his teeth started coming in. Sometimes the only gentle way to wake him up is to eat around him (true story – I usually use yogurt).
Even though I’ve been pumping daily since going back to work, I stopped getting any milk over a month ago. I wasn’t dried up, but I didn’t have the production I used to – mostly because Max was weaning himself. He only wanted to nurse before going to sleep, or in the middle of the night. He wasn’t really eating; it was more for the comfort.
So not only has he been weaning himself, but he’s been a nipple biter from the start. I’m not talking a gentle squeeze of the gums. I’m talking full-blown-chomp-down-and-leave-a-big-old-bruise nipple biting. It wasn’t daily, or even weekly, but every once in a while he’d surprise me. Knowing this, I was prepared that when he teethed, I was going to have to watch closely because I’m not prepared to have a nipple severed for the sake of him breastfeeding. Ok, severed might be a little bit of an exaggeration. But, you see my point. It took more than five days for that one, relatively small (compared to what it could have been) bite to heal.
So that’s two big reasons to wean, one spurred by him and the other spurred by me (though by his actions and my own self-preservation). I wish that it had been otherwise, and that we were able to nurse through at least one year. But, that wasn’t meant to be.
He was pissed for a couple of days, but it’s been over a week now and even though he still likes to check out down my shirt and he’s still pretty hands-y, he’s doing fine.
And me? I’m doing ok. The hormonal re-balance is interesting. My hands have swollen to sausage-esque-ness (I hope that goes away soon), and I’m still leaking a bit, but I haven’t gotten super engorged (thank goodness). I miss that closeness, the skin-on-skin time. But it was the right choice for us.