Back in December Harper had to undergo dental work in the OR, under anesthesia. The oral surgeon assured me that her decay was a result of my night nursing and that if I were a good mother I would knock that shit out.
Being “nurse shamed” never feels good and coming from some one with a doctorate feels almost worse.
I argued my point about studies and he trumped me with “I was on the team of dentist who ran the study PROVING breast milk destroys teeth!” I just shut down at that point and listened to the after care instructions.
I did not, however, believe a word he said about breast milk and tooth decay. My husband on the other hand, felt that the doctor knows best. Its his profession after all to know about tooth decay.
I reached out to my mamas on Instagram to find out how some of them night weaned gently. One mama, who also has a boob obsessed toddler, suggested Dr. Jay Gordon’s gentle night weaning program. We started down that path of long nights filled with tears and NO sleep. By the fourth night I said fuck it, and kept nursing my baby to sleep.
In April I noticed that nursing started to become painful, like some thing sharp rubbing. Her main biting tooth, one of her only front teeth left, was looking messed up. Like it was starting to wear down like her other 3 that had to be removed.
We took her back to Dr. Know-it-All and he said not to worry, its a normal wear pattern. Because its her only biting tooth its just wearing faster and more noticeable than if she had all of the other teeth to help out. I noticed he did NOT say that her teeth were following the decay pattern of night nursed babies and toddlers……
Now its August, 9 months after my first attempt at night weaning. Back in December she was still nursing as much as she pleased, day and night. Sometimes up to ten times a day! Slowly over the months I started cutting feedings out. She was only nursing right when I got home from work and at night. I decided to cut out the after work nurse. This was sad because it was her favorite nursing of the day! Right when she got her mama back from work. It took 3 days to transition. I was shocked. I thought it would be weeks of screaming.
Saturday night was just like any other, nursed all night. Sunday became a different story… when I went to lay her down for a nap, sharp pain clamped on my breast! Her tooth had wore down like a needle on one side and it hurt!!! I kept trying to adjust and get it more comfortable. The only way it didn’t kill me was if she were laying right on top of me. That night I sucked it up and nearly cried from the pain. Monday morning I noticed her tooth had punctured my nipple and drew blood. I knew the time had come to wean her completely.
Monday night I told her she had a sharp tooth that made mommy’s boo boos hurt and she could not nurse. This did not go over well. I tried to nurse her a little bit through out the night but had to make her stop. We got little sleep that night. I woke up with comically huge breast that put Pam Anderson’s to shame. They also hurt all over now due to all of the backed up milk.
Tuesday night while I was brushing her teeth she asked me to take her tooth out. This broke my heart 😦 She knew it was her that was hurting me. I told her mommy’s boo boos were sick and couldn’t give milk any more. Tuesday night was the first night since she has been born that she did not nurse.
Wednesday I couldn’t even wear a bra and this pain was almost worse than nursing. It looked and felt like strings of pearls were under my skin all the way up under my armpits. I bought a cabbage after work and cupped a leaf around each of my girls. The coolness felt great but I don’t think it took any swelling down. I slept with an ice pack too which helped with pain but again nothing was gonna make it go away.
She didn’t want to got to bed last night and it was a struggle to remain calm as she tried every trick in the book and then threw a fit when I wouldn’t let her get up to play. My husband took over and she only got worse. At 10:30 I figured I should just go to bed myself, I was exhausted from the last few nights. She told me a long story about her day and fell asleep snuggled up close. She only woke up once and started crying. She won’t ask to nurse, but I know that’s what she wants. Again my husband took over and she fell right to sleep. My breast still hurt today but not as bad.
I NEVER wanted to force wean. I wanted her to choose when she was done. I do feel super sad about never being able to look down at her happy face, smiling up at me. Or watch her little eyes flutter off to dreamland in my arms. Or just being her ultimate comfort when she needs me.
I guess I feel a little happy I will be done only because for approximately the last 880 nights I have been the only one to put her down to sleep and no one else could. She still only wants me but at least we can work on it .
An Awkward Mother