Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Help us out here...

So, since we now have a new readership of hard core breast feeders, perhaps someone can advise on what I should do about my 5 month old biting me? He doesn't have teeth yet, but he is teething, and he is quite enjoy a chomp and pull maneuver which makes me scream out loud. He tends to do this towards the end of a feeding, when he is getting bored and playful.

Also, loyal reader K is having a problem with whining with her two year old, especially when they have been travelling on the weekend, which they do frequently. Do kids fall for that line, Mommy can't understand you when you talk that way? Any other tricks she might try?

Thanks friends!


Joanne said...

When my son got teeth, at around 5.5 months, he started biting me. I would just pop him off and push his mouth a little bit and say no. It seemed to work. I stopped breastfeeding him when he was nine months old (long story) so I'm not sure how to handle anything after that.

B-Mama said...

Our own T-baby was quite the biter, yet ended up on "nursing strike" due to my adverse reaction. I scared him so, poor thing!! What stressful times as I remember.

A friend of mine would take her daughter off the breast, say a firm "no", and not resume feeding for a minute or two. At this point, you could assess whether the little guy is still hungry or just playing. My response was to recoil and yell, which I don't advise due to the above reaction! :)

As for whining, well, if you get any good tips, I'm reading away! I definitely notice a link between the kids' fatigue and their tendency to whine. Her son is probably overly tired on the weekends due to the travel, which only makes the problem worse and harder to deal with! We have lately been handling it with "We don't talk that way, could you please try to ask Mommy again in a nice voice?" which sometimes works and others, not so much. Blessings K! :)

Right Said Red said...

My advice on the biting--a firm no (not a yell, but firm) and end the nursing session. Also, try breaking him off once you feel he is finished sucking, because if babies are going to bite, they tend to bite toward the end of a nursing session.

As for the whining, oh, I wish there were an easy answer to this! I simply say "mommy can't understand you when you whine." If it continues I do a time-out for "hurting our ears." This usually works, and if it doesn't at least they get some time in their room and the whining isn't within earshot from there.

Juris Mater said...

Wish I could help, MaryAlice. Unexemplary as it is, I stopped nursing Bella on a dime at 10.5 months when she first bit me hard with a mouth full of teeth(I was 5 mo. pregnant and my supply wasn't that great anyway). B-mama, it was a peaceful Sunday morning nursing in bed, Bella bit me, I dropped the F-bomb, my husband jumped from his sleep, and I pronounced the end of our nursing relationship--do you think that was too strong of a reaction?

k said...

thanks for the whining advice so far...keep it coming.

it is already much better after a few days of sleep.

as for biting, I got the advice and is hard to do, but try pushing their heads in if they bite...they don't like the sensation and tend to open up pretty quick.

also ditto red's comments on being aware of the end of session and cutting it off as soon as you feel like he is done.

good luck with that, jack got his teeth earlier so it was tricky for a while there.

Mary Alice said...

How about any advice for things I can give him to bite on, since he does seem to have this need? I bought a playskool teething ring and my newly minted granola of a husband pronounced that neither he, nor the baby, liked it because it smelled like plastic.

My 90 year old aunt recommended a piece of ice tied in a clean mens handkerchief, but then unsurprisingly no one at that party had a handkerchief...

Joanne said...

I like to give a frozen pancake or waffle while they're teething.

Jennifer in MN said...

The thing that's worked the best for all 6 of my biting nursers, is to say no firmly and put the baby down for a minute or two. If you think baby is still hungry, then try again, if not comfort baby and distract with a toy or activity.

As for teethers, when we lived in MI a local bagel shop made "teething" bagels--which were very hard bagels. Our children loved chewing on them and they are so hard, they really don't get bit off of them. Magic Cabin has wooden baby toys that would make good teethers. Frozen wash rags are another good way to go.

If whining is due to tiredness, the child needs rest. If the whining is due to normal childhood whining :) ignore it. The minute you respond to the whining the more you reinforce that it works....and oh, is it hard to ignore, lol. If they cross the line into sassy comments, discipline for that and ignore the whining.

Mary Alice said...

These are great tips, thanks!

Funnily enough, I had some whiners on my hands this morning, so I got to experiment.

Red reminded me that in some boys schools they make the boys take a lap or do some push ups or other physical work if the boys are acting out, distracted, etc. This made SOO much sense to me, I know that my boys are like puppies, they just need to run sometimes. I think that teens and toddlers have alot in common, so I am sure this will work well for older kids.

Anyhow, my 5 year old daughter was very whiny, floating from one activity to another never settling on anything, so finally I said, you need to put on your boots and go romp around in the yard. This was a huge help. After about an hour in the yard she came in and helped me mopped the floor and then sat and colored for a while, she is much better able to focus.

This also had the helpful effect of getting the grumpy whiner away from the rest of us so that she did not bring us down -- this is crucial, because bad behavior is definately contagious!

ekbell said...

I also say no and put biting babies down for a bit. As far as I'm concerned biting at the breast has been the first serious disiplinarian issue for all of my children.

Since none of them (my first four) liked being abruptly put down (generally until mommy's breast stopped throbbing!) the behaviour normally ceased fairly quickly. Popping the baby off when he's starting to get playful is also not a bad idea.

As for things to chew wet, cold washclothes have had some success, frozen foods when old enough (my mom liked using yogurt popsicles but her babies all had their teeth late).

As for whining, insisting that they use a 'nice voice' for requests can work if applied consistently (for me this goes along with saying please) although like every other technique there is a better chance of it working with a rested child.

I've also noticed that excessive amounts of time in the car can make whiners out of all my children (although this is partly due to the fact that they tend towards motionsickness, something that I know from personal experience is particularly annoying at the level where it's not quite bad enough to throw up).

Things I've noticed, at least one of my children will become whiny if I haven't been paying sufficent attention to her lately. With her the best technique has been for me to work on responding quickly to her legitimate needs before she starts whining and to make sure she's getting enough sleep.

Another child BADLY needs to have proper mealtimes and to be fed in the morning before any demands are placed on her.

And yes spending too much time cooped up does not sweeten tempers.

Maria said...

Like a previous poster, I found pushing the baby into my breast when they bite to work well for me. Since it cuts off their airflow, they immediately let go and you don't have worry about futher biting/scraping as you pull them off the breast.

loveyourmother said...

I've always done the pushing baby into breast thing - they have to release to breathe. I know it's so hard, but avoid yelping or any reaction the baby might find interesting, and try to remember the child has *no* idea he's hurting you, or even what that means - at 5mo, he only knows that *he* experiences things. At that age, I don't know if pulling him off (consequences) would have any effect; I might try that with a child over 1 who got into a biting phase. I've always found biting lasts 2 or 3 or 5 times and then the child is done doing it as long I don't reinforce the behavior w/ my reaction, but I'm sure other children do differently!

For whining - first I try to remember to look for causes - tired, needing more mommy time, etc., and then I re-state our rule: "Whining doesn't get what you want." If the child needs reminders of an example of polite requests, I can give that.

The more children I have, the more I understand age-appropriate behavior and it gets easier not to get worked up about various things like I used to ... ah, what a newbie mommy my oldest had! :) Another help for me is to offer all struggles w/ my children for the cause of their future chastity - that's a battle that needs all the sacrifices I can make!

Mary Alice said...

Wow, so pushing his head in towards the breast totally works, if he is finished eating he opens up and if not he gets back to proper sucking. What a great tip, thank you all!

loveyourmama said...

Just wanted to mention that in case there are any out there reading who *are* interesting if seeing if ecological breastfeeding will work for you, you should be aware that unlatching the baby before he's done suckling on a regular basis will greatly reduce the amount of time you nurse overall and takes you out of the category of ecobf and into the "exclusive bf'ing" one. The amount of LAM you will then have will be completely dependent on individual factors such as diet & genetics - you may still get a long LAM or you may get none.

That is *absolutely fine* if it's important for your circumstances! I just wanted to express that caveat in case someone might be trying out ecobf but also unlatching to end most feedings. Informed decisions are good decisions! :)

Mary Alice said...

Thanks, even though I am not ebfing, my baby loves the extra suckle, and I do give him one of what you described as a nap/hold/extended feed a day, as well as letting him stay on for as long as he wants when he can, including his early morning (5 am, ugh...) feeding, so the solution of just pushing his head a little into the breast has worked great, he doesn't unlatch, he just stops biting.