When I first started breastfeeding, all I wanted to do was to make it through the night without crying in pain. It H.U.R.T!  I was in the hospital balling hysterically (thank you hormones) to the La Leche League Lady about how I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. Just days before I was contemplating if I even wanted to really do it. But after I thought I might not be able, I suddenly felt like a giant failure and I got truly sad.
We made it through those first few months (not days…MONTHS of pain) and then it became pure bliss.
The boob truly does cure everything, you know?
Crying for no reason? Boob.
Hurt herself exploring? Boob.
Bored? Boob
Tired and cranky? Boob
I particularly loved the end of the night nursing session and the early morning.
Those times were truly sacred. Just me and her, all snuggled up, staring into each others eyes.
And then…just like that, one day, she clamped down. And she didn’t stop there. She kind of thrashed from side to side with my nipple stuck in her teeth, and then she did a pull away maneuver while she was still clamping down. It looked like a cartoon. It was expanding flesh taffy between two “titty bitty” teeth.
“YEEEOUCH!” Insert “For the love of God and all that is Holy…make it stop” face.
Nothing hurts quite as bad as that. It’s a white hot pain that shoots to your toes.
I became super fearful to feed her.
She would act hungry and I would burst into a riveting rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus”.
I started to become a stealth observer when she did feed..not enjoying the moment, but looking for clues that she was about to chomp.
I was so anxious.
It was miserable.
One night, I tried to feed her and she did her clamp and pull routine and I sat up in bed and lost it.
I ugly cried for a half an hour. All I could think was, “I’m not ready for this relationship to end!”
But I had to do something. I offered a pacifier (something she had always refused in the past) as an alternative when she was just wanted to play. I was consistent in my trying. I looked up an article by Dr. Sears that said animals show affection by biting. Some animals even bite do hard they take a hunk of flesh and leave scars. So, there you go, she was being affectionate! I changed my perspective and assumed the best about about all of it. And when she bit, I calmly removed her and gave her something to chew on.
Feed. Bite. Repeat.
I did that until the biting became extremely infrequent. And as a result, she started to feed less. We survived. And the relationship changed.
After my boobs healed, I had a chance to put things into perspective and I realized that this experience relates a lot to relationships in general.
It actually teaches 3 things.
# 1. It’s hard so you need to assume the best
I know this sounds simple. But I think we expect our relationships to be easy. we even hear people say things like,  “If it’s hard, it’s not right.” I think two people coming together to get to know each other is hard. Even with a flood of feel good chemicals to help. We each have ways of doing things that may hurt each other. I’m not talking about purposeful hurt. I mean accidental hurt. My Daughter did not set out to hurt me. And that’s what happens with people. We hurt each other. Even when we don’t mean to. Sometimes we need to back up and assume the best about each other. Odds are, we are just trying to get our needs met, although the methods are unfavorable. When we assume the best about each other (‘you’re not doing X behavior to hurt me on purpose), you get the fuel you need to drive on and find a solution. It’s hard to find a solution when you’re mad.
#2. When something is amazing enjoy it.
Relationships experience Seasons. Sometimes things are amazing. It’s like Spring, things are blooming. Sometimes, it’s like summer. It’s hot and steamy. Sometimes it’s like Fall, you reap the harvest form all of the seeds of love you planted and other times, it’s like a barren Winter. COLD. COLD. COLD.
Enjoy the bliss when you can get it. While I was feeding her, I wasn’t waiting around anxiously for her to chomp down. If I had been, I would have missed the wonderful teeth free moments.
Relationships are a series of moments that make up a life. Are you savoring the moments?
#3. Things change
The only constant in life is change. That’s the truth. What we do is fight it. We say things like, “I want things to be the way they used to be.” Or “I can’t wait until things are different.” Or worse, when something shifts in our relationship (and it always does) we take it as a sign that it’s OVER. What if it wasn’t OVER? What if it was just changing?
Since I have accepted things changing with my Daughter,  I have made way for a new type of relationship.
And so it is in our own relationships. Things change. When we don’t resist, we can see the good in the new normal.
How about you? Can you relate? Did you have a chomper? How did you survive? What did you learn?
With Love and Laughs,
Heidi

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