Seriously, Look Away

If you are squeamish, look away. If you don’t want to hear about my breasts, look away. Seriously.

So, Alden has a cold and has been nursing more than usual — several times through night rather than once. Usually he nurses for just a few minutes and then flips over and goes back to sleep. But for the past few days he’s wanted to pretty much sleep at the breast. Which, you know, fine. He’s sick. A few days ago he and I had both drifted off when suddenly I leapt backwards. He’d bitten me in his sleep. It was a right hard bite too. I know it wasn’t intentional, he was obviously out cold. So it was sore for a few days, which I expected. But, disconcertingly, it was getting more painful rather than less. There was a clearly-visible cut, exactly the width of a baby tooth. It didn’t look infected and my hope was to just power through it until it healed. But, again, the cold. Alden wanted to nurse all the time and the stretching of the tissue was making it really difficult.

I went into overdrive trying to distract him. I offered delicious snacks, dancing, toys, bribes. If none of that worked, only then would I nurse him. And things began to improve.

What about the other breast, you reasonably ask? Hasn’t made more than a few drops of milk in months. I keep starting him on that side, both to distract him and to get the most aggressive nursing out of the way, but it isn’t like he is going to stay there. He isn’t one of those babies content to nurse for the comfort once the milk stops flowing.

But that’s okay, because my efforts to cut out a few drive bys seemed to be doing the trick in terms of allowing for some repair to take place.

Until last night. When he bit me again. I knew that was a possibility, but wasn’t sure how to prevent it. He was sleeping again. I’d been making an effort to ease away from him once he drifted off, but my timing didn’t work out.

So I was very sore again today. And tonight, just before dinner, I was nursing him on the no milk/no injury side when I felt my milk let down and my shirt got a little damp. I thought that odd, since I haven’t had any leaking in ages. I investigated only to find milk seeping from the bite mark. *I warned you not to read this if you’re squeamish. Aren’t you sorry you’re still here?*

After a few moments of dumbfounded staring, I told Damon and we decided that we’re going to have to take aggressive measures. Before, you know, anything even MORE awful happens. Tonight I’m going to sleep upstairs and the boys are going to power through on their own. I feel terrible about it. Alden is getting better, but still not fully himself. I believe a sick baby should get all the nursing and attention he wants. And now I won’t even be there. I know in terms of the larger picture this really isn’t any big deal. But I’ve slept with him every night of his life until tonight. It was not my intention to change that any time soon. Night weaning was still more an idea on the horizon. And I’m not sure that’s what we’re doing here. I just need a few longer stretches of time for the bite mark to heal. Still, we spent more money than I care to admit flying Damon along on all my business trips just because I was unwilling to sleep away from Alden. So it hurts to break the streak over an injury.

**I’m arming Damon with a bottle of plain soy milk. Alden has had a few sips of cow’s milk by now, but not much. I don’t want to test his belly in the middle of all this. Also, I am a firm believer that having a cold means dairy is off the menu. I figure soy milk is kind of sweet and I won’t worry if it sits for hours next to the bed. But if anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to hear them. Not that I gave you any time to offer them, since it’s 10pm now.

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52 responses to this post.

  1. Ow! Ow! Poor thing! (You, not Alden, although I’m sorry he has a cold.)
    On the other hand, breastmilk does help heal wounds…

    Reply

  2. Ow! Ow! Poor thing! (You, not Alden, although I’m sorry he has a cold.)
    On the other hand, breastmilk does help heal wounds…

    Reply

    • You know, I thought the same thing. No matter which direction it’s coming from it must be good. It also occurred to me that could be the reason I haven’t had even a shade of infection.
      And yes, Ow!

      Reply

      • And I know this is hard, but you aren’t abandoning him. He’s past one, and does not require milk during the night. You aren’t evicting him, and he will be with his daddy, who loves him. You HAVE to let it heal, and it’ll even be better tomorrow without him chewing on it.

      • I’m with Lemon on this. The two of them will be just fine, you will get a good night’s sleep, and you’ll be more ready to tackle this thing in the morning.
        I am alternately grossed out and thinking this is totally cool. But–isn’t the milk bloody? If cow’s milk is bad for colds, what must blood do to the poor little bugger??
        With the advent of tooth #15 (yowza!) Bonzo has gotten to be more of a biter… it’s a long slow clampdown instead of a quick bite. I hardly notice until it’s pretty dramatic. Errgh.
        We finally had to put Bonzo to sleep in his crib cold turkey in the middle of an ear infection. I was convinced he’d be totally miserable. He was, for about two nights, and then he got much better sleep. He forgave us. 🙂

      • I love a success story, thank you. I keep reminding myself that, if I can get a grip, this could be my first full night of sleep in over a year.
        It is both gross and fascinating. The weird thing is, the milk isn’t bloody. I haven’t seen a drop of blood. (Which is not to say he hasn’t gotten any when he was nursing, I know.) It’s just a clean cut and the milk kind of weeps out when the letdown reflex kicks in.
        When Alden is awake and nursing he has tried the slow bite a few times. I definitely appreciate the chance to get away. Plopping him firmly on the floor when he did it generally made him knock it off. This was much more like a jaw spasm.

      • The cut sounds absolutely bizarre… you ought to take it in to the doc, not for medical advice but so they can take a picture for some textbook. I work for a medical office, we would just flip with glee.
        Yes, the biting while awake is so much easier to control–Bonzo’s slow bite usually happens when he’s about to drift off to sleep (yes, we still nurse to sleep EVERY NIGHT) and I keep thinking, “I can deal with this for two more minutes if he’s really going to sleep. I can deal with this for one more minute…” until I can’t deal, and I pull him off. He wakes and yells, I tell him not to bite, we both pout for a few minutes, and then we go at it again. (sigh)
        Don’t waste your big sleep opportunity online. Go to bed!

      • I love the thought of being a medical oddity. If we were in the same city I would happily come in for photos.
        You’re right. I’m going to sign off and try to remember what this is like.
        Damon offered to leave the monitor upstairs with me so I wouldn’t wonder what is going on. I was sorely tempted, but ultimately decided it was a Very Bad Idea.

      • Thank you.
        Sometimes I wonder if the night nursing isn’t as much about me as him. I have to be away from him so much during the week. I like to feel like he needs me, specifically. And I like to be there for him in the wee hours.
        But knowing that he is fine frees me to deal with my own stuff. As long as he’s okay then I should be able to cope. And once I’m all healed up we can have a nursing marathon that will make us both happy.

  3. Could you try a nipple shield until the wound heals?

    Reply

  4. Could you try a nipple shield until the wound heals?

    Reply

  5. That’s pretty amazing that it leaked from the wound and not the actual, er, orifice.
    I have nothing else to offer on this topic.

    Reply

  6. That’s pretty amazing that it leaked from the wound and not the actual, er, orifice.
    I have nothing else to offer on this topic.

    Reply

    • I know! I kept saying, “Damon, LOOK at this!”

      Reply

      • I hope he was suitably impressed?
        You realize if milk can get out, germs can get in? Maybe you should put some neosporin on it.

      • No, you don’t want Alden eating neosporin.

      • I didn’t mean while she was nursing, of course, I mean tonight, if she’s not sleeping with him anyway.

      • Right now I’m counting on the antibacterial properties of the breastmilk itself. But, I am also watching obsessively for any signs of irritation. In which case I will hie off to the drugstore without delay.
        Famous last words, I know.

      • I can’t imagine you’re not scrupulously clean or that you go around exposing your breasts to salmonella or such so it shouldn’t be an issue at all.
        I very seldom get infections (aside from those ones in my sinuses, but that’s more of a hobby, actually), but the two times I’ve had them for skin things, they’ve ended up septic, so I’m a little bit of a nut about things like that.
        Now I’m all tickled at the idea of you exposing your breasts to Legionairres and the like. What an assault on the senses for them!

      • I’m suddenly feeling flush with possibility!

  7. You know, I thought the same thing. No matter which direction it’s coming from it must be good. It also occurred to me that could be the reason I haven’t had even a shade of infection.
    And yes, Ow!

    Reply

  8. That’s a great idea. I’ve never used one, so it didn’t leap to mind. I will investigate a place to buy one tomorrow. Thanks!

    Reply

  9. I know! I kept saying, “Damon, LOOK at this!”

    Reply

  10. I hope he was suitably impressed?
    You realize if milk can get out, germs can get in? Maybe you should put some neosporin on it.

    Reply

  11. No, you don’t want Alden eating neosporin.

    Reply

  12. Owowow!
    Oughtn’t you have someone look at that? (I mean medically, not suggestively).

    Reply

  13. Owowow!
    Oughtn’t you have someone look at that? (I mean medically, not suggestively).

    Reply

    • You make a sensible suggestion, and Damon feels strongly that you are correct. I actually have an appointment with my new doctor already on the books. As you likely know, it takes forever to get the first appointment. But if I sense anything other than rapid healing (I’m an excellent healer) happening I will call her and beg for an early audience.

      Reply

  14. I didn’t mean while she was nursing, of course, I mean tonight, if she’s not sleeping with him anyway.

    Reply

  15. And I know this is hard, but you aren’t abandoning him. He’s past one, and does not require milk during the night. You aren’t evicting him, and he will be with his daddy, who loves him. You HAVE to let it heal, and it’ll even be better tomorrow without him chewing on it.

    Reply

  16. I’m with Lemon on this. The two of them will be just fine, you will get a good night’s sleep, and you’ll be more ready to tackle this thing in the morning.
    I am alternately grossed out and thinking this is totally cool. But–isn’t the milk bloody? If cow’s milk is bad for colds, what must blood do to the poor little bugger??
    With the advent of tooth #15 (yowza!) Bonzo has gotten to be more of a biter… it’s a long slow clampdown instead of a quick bite. I hardly notice until it’s pretty dramatic. Errgh.
    We finally had to put Bonzo to sleep in his crib cold turkey in the middle of an ear infection. I was convinced he’d be totally miserable. He was, for about two nights, and then he got much better sleep. He forgave us. 🙂

    Reply

  17. Thank you.
    Sometimes I wonder if the night nursing isn’t as much about me as him. I have to be away from him so much during the week. I like to feel like he needs me, specifically. And I like to be there for him in the wee hours.
    But knowing that he is fine frees me to deal with my own stuff. As long as he’s okay then I should be able to cope. And once I’m all healed up we can have a nursing marathon that will make us both happy.

    Reply

  18. Right now I’m counting on the antibacterial properties of the breastmilk itself. But, I am also watching obsessively for any signs of irritation. In which case I will hie off to the drugstore without delay.
    Famous last words, I know.

    Reply

  19. You make a sensible suggestion, and Damon feels strongly that you are correct. I actually have an appointment with my new doctor already on the books. As you likely know, it takes forever to get the first appointment. But if I sense anything other than rapid healing (I’m an excellent healer) happening I will call her and beg for an early audience.

    Reply

  20. I love a success story, thank you. I keep reminding myself that, if I can get a grip, this could be my first full night of sleep in over a year.
    It is both gross and fascinating. The weird thing is, the milk isn’t bloody. I haven’t seen a drop of blood. (Which is not to say he hasn’t gotten any when he was nursing, I know.) It’s just a clean cut and the milk kind of weeps out when the letdown reflex kicks in.
    When Alden is awake and nursing he has tried the slow bite a few times. I definitely appreciate the chance to get away. Plopping him firmly on the floor when he did it generally made him knock it off. This was much more like a jaw spasm.

    Reply

  21. I can’t imagine you’re not scrupulously clean or that you go around exposing your breasts to salmonella or such so it shouldn’t be an issue at all.
    I very seldom get infections (aside from those ones in my sinuses, but that’s more of a hobby, actually), but the two times I’ve had them for skin things, they’ve ended up septic, so I’m a little bit of a nut about things like that.
    Now I’m all tickled at the idea of you exposing your breasts to Legionairres and the like. What an assault on the senses for them!

    Reply

  22. You can find them at Babies R Us with all of the Medela items.

    Reply

  23. Oh, ow. 😦

    Reply

  24. Oh, ow. 😦

    Reply

  25. The cut sounds absolutely bizarre… you ought to take it in to the doc, not for medical advice but so they can take a picture for some textbook. I work for a medical office, we would just flip with glee.
    Yes, the biting while awake is so much easier to control–Bonzo’s slow bite usually happens when he’s about to drift off to sleep (yes, we still nurse to sleep EVERY NIGHT) and I keep thinking, “I can deal with this for two more minutes if he’s really going to sleep. I can deal with this for one more minute…” until I can’t deal, and I pull him off. He wakes and yells, I tell him not to bite, we both pout for a few minutes, and then we go at it again. (sigh)
    Don’t waste your big sleep opportunity online. Go to bed!

    Reply

  26. I love the thought of being a medical oddity. If we were in the same city I would happily come in for photos.
    You’re right. I’m going to sign off and try to remember what this is like.
    Damon offered to leave the monitor upstairs with me so I wouldn’t wonder what is going on. I was sorely tempted, but ultimately decided it was a Very Bad Idea.

    Reply

  27. Thank you!

    Reply

  28. I’m suddenly feeling flush with possibility!

    Reply

  29. I don’t suppose kool-aid is a viable alternative. It’s probably best I don’t have kids. Sorry to have missed you guys while you were in Atlanta

    Reply

  30. I don’t suppose kool-aid is a viable alternative. It’s probably best I don’t have kids. Sorry to have missed you guys while you were in Atlanta

    Reply

  31. No problemo! I really hope they help to get your healed up quickly!

    Reply

  32. I think how viable it is depends on which one of us you ask.
    Next time!

    Reply

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