Breastfeeding isn’t the easiest task a mother commits to. So, we bet you feel a sense of pride when you hit each milestone: 6 months, 9 months, a year, or even 2 years.
From that tiny newborn, struggling to find the perfect latch to your nipple, you’ll soon find yourself struggling with an active toddler who still wants to nurse, but has decided that flashing you at the same time would be even more fun.
Indeed, there are plenty of “nursing nuisances” that breastfeeding mums have to contend with, that sometimes makes you wonder, “Why do I even put up with this?”
“She uses her super-sharp nails and digs them into my chest, on the skin of my boobs.”
Just for laughs (we hope!), we’ve put together a list of the most annoying things your baby does when breastfeeding!
One of the most painful things that bubba is fond of doing is biting while they nurse. Says Chow Su Ting, mum to Nigel, 1, “I always loved breastfeeding him, but since he turned 1, he’s started biting down hard on me! He would look up and see my pained expression and laugh!” As frustrating as it can be, Chow says she will still continue breastfeeding him “until he weans himself off.”
Fonnie Lo, assistant director (clinical) and lactation consultant at Thomson Medical, notes that nursing babies bite for several reasons, including teething, being distracted or unhappy with the milk flow, or just want to draw your attenttion. “They may not even realise that they are causing you pain!” she explains.
2. Slapping your face
Yours is one of the most familiar (and not to mention, favourite!) faces that bubba loves, but you wouldn’t have known by the way he’s been swiping his hands across your nose, or slapping your cheeks as he nurses. “Even when I’m out in public and I’m using the nursing shawl, he’ll stick one hand out and have it plastered all over my face. It’s as if he needs to make sure that every part of me is there,” says Jo Anne Tan, mum to Sebastian, 6 months.
3. Scratching and pinching
Your C-section scar isn’t the only battle scar you’ll earn in early motherhood. Karen Tuscano, mum to Avril, 5 months, says her chest is now riddled with scratch marks ― some of which have even bled. “She uses her super-sharp nails and digs them into my chest, on the skin of my boobs,” she describes. “I’ve recently started wearing a teething necklace, so she will play with that instead, but somehow, she just keeps going back to scratching me after a while.”
4. Twiddling the other side
Some nursing babies just have no idea what to do with their wandering hands, and they often start fiddling with their mummy’s hair, buttons, jewellery, or whatever they can get their hands on.
Some babies though, find the other nipple. Lillian Lim, a mum of two, says that both her kids did it. “My youngest is now 2, and from the time he was 1, all he wanted to do was to hold it and squeeze it while he was nursing. Sometimes, he would even dig his fingernails into it, and that would hurt!”
Another mum, Michelle Kew, says that she would be comfortably nursing, when she would suddenly notice tiny warm hand working its way up to her chest. “She would yank down the other cup of my bra and just hold on to it, sometimes even exposing me,” she laughs.
“She would yank down the other cup of my bra and just hold on to it, sometimes even exposing me.”
5. Kicking you in the groin
Do you enjoy lying down on your side to nurse? It can be one of the most comfortable positions, since you don’t have to carry bubba in your already aching arms, plus, you can easily cuddle up next to each other. But Anna Selvaraj, who co-sleeps with her 10-month old baby girl, Kyra, says she’s recently been subjected to late night “attacks”, since her sweetie discovered the joys of kicking. "She’s small but she kicks so hard, I would often get woken up!”
6. Pulling away
Oh, isn’t it awesome when you’re nursing and notice that your baby is slowly drifting off to sleep? Nuraidah Hamid, mum to Sofi, 11 months, dreads that moment though, because that’s the moment when her daughter would suddenly pull away with great force, so she can “sleep properly”. “Of course, it’s painful, but what’s even worse is that sometimes, the milk is still coming down, so when she pulls away, it sprays! It’s so embarrassing,” she laments.
Kew adds, “And when she’s distracted and wants to look at something, she will turn her head superfast to look, even though the nipple is still in her mouth! So, it would stretch, which is painful!”
7. Making strange noises
Ideally, breastfeeding is a time for you to bond, reconnect and just relax with your baby. But what happens when your little one is a super-noisy nurser? From laughing loudly, to grunting, many mums complain of the embarrassing sounds their babies make while they’re on the breast.
“When Avril was just about 2 weeks old, she started grunting loudly whenever she nursed. It sounds a bit like a snort, a bit like a snore, and people would be wondering what in the world I had under the nursing cover!” says Tuscano.
Whatever annoying habits your baby has while nursing, it’s a good idea to start discouraging the habit early, especially if it really bothers you. Use a firm but gentle voice to tell your baby “No, that’s not right,” and redirect the behaviour to something else ― like a small blanket, or a teething toy.
If the behaviour still persists, you can stop breastfeeding, offer some water or a toy, and say “I can’t give you milk when you do that”.
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