Bug,  illos

The Many Faces of the Nursing Baby Bug

When it comes to nursing, you’d think Baby Bug and I had completely different agendas. I want to get the baby fed, she wants to make it into a big production. The bigger and fussier, the better. Baby Bug likes to fake me out with all kinds of tricky moves. Here are some of them:

The first face of Baby Bug is what I like to call “the sneaky weasel”. We usually start out our battle with this face. This is what she does when I place her smack dab in front of my boob. If it was a bear, it would bite her. But no, she cannot see in front of her face. She pulls to the left, she pulls to the right…anywhere but where the boob is. The boob that is practically dripping milk right on her nose.

The second face of Baby Bug is the “flailing mad badger” face. This is the most common face of Baby Bug and what she resorts to most of the time. This is the “I’m-so-hungry-I-can’t-even-keep-my-head-still” face. She sputters and wails and chomps at the air. When I do manage to get her snarling mouth somewhat near my nipple, she bounces her head off my breast like it was some kind of skull trampoline. Or if I’m holding her head, it looks like I’m trying to dribble it off my chest like a small basket ball–which I’m not! Bob, bob, bob goes her head. Flail, flail, flail go her fists pounding me
on both sides wildly. Spittle and milk fly everywhere. It is a messy job being the badger baby.

After about five minutes of the “flailing mad badger” face, Baby Bug wears herself completely out. This usually happens at exactly the same moment that she has finally found my nipple. Right when she’s about to take her first sip of milk, she falls into a deep instant sleep. It’s as if she couldn’t find another calorie of energy to make another move. She lays there like a possum playing dead, not moving a muscle. This lasts for about a minute and then goes immediately back into “flailing mad badger” face. Rinse, repeat.

Occasionally Baby Bug does manage to latch on and when she does, she reveals her most stealth secret move: “the invisible shark teeth” face. She’s a tricky one. You would never guess this is coming as she looks up at you with loving eyes, shaded by long beautiful eyelashes. But just when you let your guard down, she goes in for the kill with a razor sharp bite to exactly the spot on your boob that is the most sore. This always sends me through the roof screaming. Never underestimate the power of a well placed shark bite.

The last face of Baby Bug is “the zen baby” face. This is also a trick. Baby Bug will relax and assume a peaceful blissed-out face. Do not fall for it. It does not mean she is happy and full. It does not mean she wants to be put to bed for some restful sleep. She is just stalling while she saves up energy for the next go around of “the mad flailing badger” face. Either that or she is just telling you that she is, “so over it all already and Mommy needs to chill for five minutes, sheesh!”

But things are going better. Really. I’ve figured out my biggest problem is that my milk lets down too fast. The streams of milk squirting all over and running down my sides into my pants should have been a clue. But what can I say? I’m new at this. I read up on kellymom.com and figured out that expressing somemilk first into a towel and then offering a dry (not a slippery slimy) boob to Baby Bug is much more productive. She doesn’t immediately pull off, as I try to smash my poor boob into her face, if she isn’t getting gushing mouthfuls of milk that make her choke.

So! We are making progress, we are! Onward! Onward! (I’m so jealous of my friends who are using formula. Arrrrrrg.)


  • Gretchen

    I stumbled across your website awhile ago – really enjoy it!

    Something else to think about – try a different hold while nursing – football, laying down (takes some practice), and the universal cradle… Changes the pressure points that the shark teeth hit. Also, if you don’t have some, invest in Lanolin for sore nipples.

    Golly, reading your writing takes me back to my first…

  • bethany

    Hoo-boy, I can relate! When my daughter was a newborn, I had the same conflicted feelings of “I WILL succeed at nursing but I am SO jealous of moms who formula-feed!” I assure you that the day will come when you will be happy you stuck with nursing, and when you will see other moms bottle-feeding and think to yourself, “What a hassle that must be, breastfeeding is so much easier!”