Yesterday during our nap time feeding, Aiden was almost asleep when his little jaw clamped down on my nipple-harder than ever before. OOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! I controlled my urge to SCREAM LIKE CRAZY and took some deep breaths to calm myself down. This has happened a number of times and is just an accepted part of breastfeeding a toddler with 8 teeth. Usually I just use my finger to pry open his little shark bite and de-tach him but this time his teeth dragged on my nip on his way off. Then I saw blood spots on my arm as I moved him to my other breast. Where did this come from I thought? I looked all over Aiden frantically to see where he was bleeding from. Then I looked down and saw the big, red spot of blood on my bra and screamed silently in my mind. OMG there was a LOT of blood. YIKES! But now he was almost asleep, nursing happily on my other breast so I let him finish and put him down to sleep before I went to inspect my hurt breast.
When I checked it out, there were bite marks on my areola and my nip was still bleeding slightly. This was different from the bleeding from sore, cracked nipples during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. That was just from my breasts getting used to being used to feed on with a tiny, toothless marathon sucking champ. That was painful of course, but this, THIS was EXCRUCIATING! Immediately I thought, "OK I'M DONE!!!!! NO MORE!!!!!!!" Even though it clearly wasn't intentional because it happened while he was sleeping, I thought how am I going to make sure this doesn't happen again?
FAst forward 6 hours to bedtime and there I am, happily nursing him to sleep on my wounded booby praying his mouth doesn't decide to chomp me again. And he didn't. And I decided to press on and not give up so soon. Besides, I endured 2 MONTHS, yes 2 months of severe nipple pain in the beginning of our breastfeeding journey just to get this far. Oh and plugged ducts, a false diagnosis of thrush for which we paid $50 in meds for, and did I mention the BLEEDING, cracked sore nipples? After those initial two months I felt like I had climbed to the tippy top of one of the biggest mommy-mountains of baby's first year. Why give up now? I have grown to have a deep respect for breastfeeding because I now know the potential PAIN involved to get to the sweet, enjoyable part.
But then, this morning he chomped on me again as he was drifting off to sleep. And there was blood, this time MORE.
And now I am back to square one, contemplating whether or not I will continue our nursing. I am very sad at the thought of ending this sooner than I thought. I was planning on at least 2 years. I am not ready to give this up and I KNOW he's not either, in fact we've got some rough nights ahead of us at the Bishop house if we do stop right now... But I would like to keep my nipples in tact, I kinda need them for the next baby. But I'm sooooooo not ready...What to do? Anyone have any advice out there? Preferably those who have breastfed their child for at least a year, and like myself have an understanding of the high value and importance I feel with this time of nursing?