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Teething Time

Janice Uhlin-Rowe
Kannapolis NC, USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 17 No. 6, November-December 2000, p. 210

We provide articles from our publications from previous years for reference for our Leaders and members. Readers are cautioned to remember that research and medical information change over time.

My first child, Evan, stopped nursing when he was just weeks old. I think it was the result of my return to work because he started to take a bottle. I also feel that I didn't recognize a nursing strike when I encountered one. I didn't know half as much then as I know now, although I thought I was well educated about breastfeeding. Though I was reluctant to wean him, he just didn't seem to want me anymore. Thus, our beautiful nursing relationship ended.

By the time I gave birth to our second child, my daughter Schuyler, I had become friends with other women who breastfed their children for longer periods. They introduced me to La Leche League. From the time I knew I was pregnant, I was determined to nurse this baby longer than I had nursed my son. Thanks to all the wonderful, enlightening information I received from the LLL meetings, the support from the Leaders, and my friends' own experiences with nursing, I have now been nursing Schuyler for 16 months with no sign of weaning in sight. I am incredibly glad that our breastfeeding relationship has lasted this long, because it's teething time!

Schuyler got her first teeth long before now, but these were never much of a problem for her. She always seemed to get through the eruption of each new tooth with ease—no fevers, no drooling, and no pain. Now, however, her molars are coming in. Lately, she has just not been herself. My happy, lively bundle of energy who always has kisses for everyone has turned into a sleepy, weepy little girl who longs for nothing more than her mother's lap and breast. It has been such a comfort for me knowing that through the simple act of nursing my child, I am fulfilling two of her incredibly important needs. Not only am I providing the majority of her nourishment, since the pain makes her unwilling to eat, but nursing also gives Schuyler the opportunity for many warm, comforting cuddles, reassuring her that she's okay and I am always there for her, especially when she's feeling crummy. Just sitting and holding her, watching the tears ebb and her eyelids close as she finds soothing comfort in my milk is enough to make me smile. It reassures me that, for many reasons, a long happy nursing relationship has been the best thing for us.

There will always be the old familiar standbys—the cold washcloths and teething rings and biscuits for little ones to chew on in hope of finding some relief for sore little gums, but none of those things can provide the soothing reassurance of mother's milk. Nothing makes me happier than when I can ease my child's pain, making her feel secure and loved. As we rock in our rocker and I nurse my precious baby during these terrible "teething times," I know in my heart that is exactly what I am doing.

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