I have loved breastfeeding both of my kids and would always encourage mums who are able to and wish to do so to go for it.
Its great for baby, wonderful for bonding and has some serious health perks for you too. But other than the early problems most mums hear about, like the cracked nipples, difficulty latching and complications such as tongue tie and mastitis, once all is established and feeding is going well, that’s where the conversation stops. Until the weaning debate of course (that’s a BIG one I shall discuss another time!).
But why does nobody talk about the damn right weird and freaky shit that babies, especially toddlers , like to do when feeding?!
At first I thought maybe it was just my son who had some sadistic boobie tendencies, but then my daughter started doing all the same stuff. And I’m not alone, any mum I’ve spoken to who breastfed beyond 6 months experienced some of the same antics, and I don’t think they were just being kind to me so I didn’t realise my kids were big weirdos!
These things can drive you nuts, they get under your skin and sometimes have made me really want to dash my child straight off my nipple across the room (I promise I never actually did this but have definitely imagined doing it on many occasions!).
Which is why it’s important to have a good laugh about how weird and annoying it is!
See if you recognise any of these….
Operation Hostage Nipple
After ages feeding and patiently waiting for your little one to finish feeding and drift into the land of nod, they fall asleep and are no longer feeding. They are clearly asleep. You are thrilled, you fist bump silently to your partner and you make moves to put down the sleeping beauty and have some baby free time.
But wait, what fresh hell is this? My nipple is in a vice made of baby gums!
You try that little finger unlatch trick to prise your nipple free, and you find yourself stretching your nipple, like bubble gum, trying desperately to free it from the grip of those gnashers. It finally pops out, and you feel triumph, Ha, It is my nipple and I have reclaimed it! But then the sleeping nipple munching zombie starts moving its head towards it again, mouth opening and closing like a pirana and quickly latches back on with super speed before you can get your boob back into the sanctity your clothing. Then the feeding resumes with gusto and you are stuck there again for another 20 minutes waiting to repeat the whole process until you admit defeat and accept the nipple is no longer yours and the zombie baby has won.
Pretence num num
Like the previous one, this is an extension of operation hostage nipple, once babe discovers your attempts to remove your nipple from its grasp once the feeding stops. Your little one decides the only way to put an end to this nipple tug of war is to pretend to NEVER STOP FEEDING! This time when sleep commences, rather than deploying the clamp, baby develops a freaky vibrating bottom lip which imitates feeding. This is particularly weird when you manage to get your boob free without them waking and the num num motion continues sans nipple!
Kitten claw pin cushion
This skill develops early when baby is a matter of months old and decides to embody Kleins theory of the good and bad breast and wishes to punish your cleavage, or sometimes just one ‘bad breast’ by channelling their inner kitten and using their tiny baby nails that are impossible to cut in a way that does not resemble a shard of glass, and pin cushion the shit out of you. The end result is a breast and cleavage that resembles a Freddie Kruger victim.
360° cartwheel feed
Once your little one realises they can move and you can’t stop them, then feeding time becomes as good a time as any to get some exercise. Restful feeding has become mundane and the new gymnastics feeding programme is way more fun. These moves are easy to pick up for even the most inexperienced and beginner gymnast. Latch on and circle body round the nipple creating a circle motion like a cartwheel. Spoiler alert: This is not comfortable for us mums!!!!
The downwards dog
Often the precursor to the cartwheel feed is the downward dog. Like its yoga move namesake, your little one walks up your torso getting his body into an L shape downward dog pose all with your poor mangled nipple still in its mouth.
Sadistic nipple pinch
Gahhhhhh I think this one is the worst as it is sooooo irritating, makes you uncomfortable and once they start doing it they just don’t ever want to stop. Roo has been doing this for at least a year and it makes me want to ninja kick her off me!
Whilst they are feeding they have a perverse obsession with looking at, holding and then pinching your other nipple, because, you know, one boob just isn’t enough!
Nipple vs the 5 senses
This one is just plain wrong. My son used to do it and even continued to attempt some of these once I had stopped breastfeeding him. I would wake in the night to him getting my boob out like some freak for a little eye or ear action. My daughter has not done this yet and in the best possible way I’m hoping my son is just a weirdo and all kids don’t actually do this.
This little number is where your nipple is introduced to the child’s other senses and facial orifices. Sticking the nipple against their eye, often when they are very tired, in the ear (I can’t even speculate the purpose of this!?!), for a good sniff at the nostril (when I stopped BF Ravey he used to sniff my nipple really hard and say “Mmmmmm smells good” 🙈) or to lick it. WTF?!
Food good + milk good = both in mouth together and a small miracle if you don’t get bitten.
The nipple U bend
Its night time and you are feeding laying down in bed. They are latched on and feeding and you are asleep. They decide they aren’t quite comfy enough laying facing you and decide to face the other way with their back to you, only they decide your nipple is going with them. Your breast resembles a stocking after years of breastfeeding possibly more than one child and allows this bizarre manipulation momentarily before it pops out of their mouth and springs back to it normal resting position, that of a pop sock.
In glee and pure enjoyment your child sits facing your boob and mouth open proceeds to repetitively bang their head against it with their mouth open making an “ahhh ahhh ahhha ahhh ahhhh ahhh ahhh” noise which is continuously muted then continues each time their mouth makes contact with your breast. You can see this is the most fun for them. They are basically taking the piss with your breast now. It is no longer for nourishment and comfort alone. It is beyond torture that could be justified as unknown to the child. It is blatant in your face ownership that they are taking your titty for a ride and they think its hilarious!
Have you had any of these? Any freaky boob times I’ve missed? Maybe you have been spared such horror. Maybe you still have these fun times to come!?
One thing is for sure. Breast may be best but that breast will be put to the test!
Title image from Pixabay: Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
Statue of Yashoda with the infant Krishna
Stock photos from pixabay and unsplash.
Other images authors own.