Mommy Week in Review: Biting nursers, scheduling snafus, blogging for more birthdays

BlogHer Original Post

So, at nine months, breastfeeding has become so painful, thanks to the baby’s four extremely sharp teeth. This is a common story: Christina at a MommyStory even nicknamed her baby “fang.” It’s not even that he bites me, although he has, it’s that he can’t nurse without cutting me.  His chompers are so sharp and he is so busy while nursing, grasping, moving around. So I feel guilty about wanting to wean him.

Kellymom says, “If your baby is nursing properly, then you should not feel teeth, even if baby has a mouthful of them. And keep in mind that it's physically impossible for baby to nurse and bite at the same time, because the tongue covers the bottom teeth/gum when baby is nursing.” iVillage agrees: if baby is “properly positioned” you shouldn’t feel teeth. First, the thought that after almost nine months of nursing we’re doing it wrong makes me want to cry.

Second, yet again, the “shoulds” of parenting advice lead to nothing but guilt and anxiety. Should I get nipple shields? Wait it out? This video, for example, is helpful but only deals with active biting, not the fact that the mere existence of teeth can hurt!

Another piece of parenting advice today from the New York Times’ Jane Brody: stop talking on your cell phone or checking your iPhone while with your little one. Brody quotes a child development expert, “Parents have stopped having good communications with their young children, causing them to lose out on the eye contact, facial expression and overall feedback that is essential for early communication development.” I can see the danger in this, and I try to monitor it. This comes down to boundaries, in my mind. I have so few boundaries between work and home time right now, it’s really dangerous. It’s the negative flip side of working flexibly.

My life has become a gumbo, and sometimes I think it’s beginning to stink. To belabor this metaphor, the various ingredients—work, baby, family duties, housework, writing, and what I lovingly call “ventures”—do not synchronize very well because the physical space for them is not separated, and I work at home. How do you structure your life to create the proper boundaries and scheduling? More important, how do you create your schedule and stick to it? As I’m writing this, I realize it sounds clichéd but it’s so true, for so many of us. Someone is always annoyed at me because of a scheduling snafu. I work for myself, mostly in a home office.  I have childcare from 9-5, three days a week, and for three hours on Mondays. Childcare never covers all work time though, so you get the “checking laptop while playing with child and making dinner” situation. The largest challenge, by far, is maintaining a coherent schedule where work and home don’t bleed together. I welcome advice! 

One of the many things I’m most lucky about is that I get to choose who I work with. And I work with amazing clients, like the American Cancer Society. They are a client, but I think it's important to write about this new effort, especially since many of us are thinking about breast cancer awareness. Today marks the kick off of an effort we’re calling Bloggers for More Birthdays. I work with the Society's Blogger Advisory Council, a small group of volunteers that advises the Society on its social media strategy. Part of our mission is to spread the word that we have power in the fight against cancer. The first step is to build awareness and engage women: who are usually the caregivers as well as cancer patients. I’ll never forget when fellow BlogHer Nordette Adams noted that so many people she knows just don’t want to talk about cancer. They just don’t want to deal with it- and it makes sense, except that if we deal with it, there is so much we can do to prevent cancer. I don’t think this is the case for the BlogHer community, but still, we can take the message outwards. So we have started a blog "chain" to spread the word among women bloggers.

You can join Bloggers for More Birthdays by dedicating a blog post to someone you love who's been affected by cancer. Momocrat wrote an incredibly moving post, which I’m linking to here. It's a simple way to celebrate those you love. Just write a post, host our badge, and know that whatever you write, you’re raising awareness and inspiring others to join American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer.