In addition to not sleeping ever, my son has been scratching the absolute crap out of my boobs. I look like I've been in the middle of a cat fight. It's been going on for a couple of months. Over this time I have tried everything (nursing necklace, keeping hands occupied, redirecting, etc) and he throws a horrible crying tantrum every time his hand leaves contact from my boob and won't eat for hours afterwards.
I'm so fed up with natural parenting. I want to switch to formula. He is currently CIO because I just cannot take it anymore. It doesn't help that everyone in my life is encouraging me to formula feed and CIO.
I'm just at the end of my rope. I'm really sick of online resources that act like everything works perfectly and that everything is so perfect for them. I've joined mothering.com out of desperation.
I'm sorry you're so frustrated!
Do you have anyone in your life that you can turn to for help without them denouncing your parenting style? Any one who understands where you are coming from to talk to, or even leave your DS with for an hour or two? How old is he? Here at MDC the good gets discussed right along with the bad and its great to have somewhere to let off steam.
As for scratching, my DD did that for a few months and I eventually had to just suck it up and do her nails every night while she was sleeping. I needed to clip them and then file them afterwards. To the point where they were *almost* to short. I realized when she wasn't hurting/scratching me my temperament was much better. I hated all of those little cuts and it just made me angry. Now she likes to pull on my nose or close it so I can't breathe but that's a different story
As for the hands, I've read that babies direct and orient themselves with their hands so maybe try moving his hands along your skin to somewhere else instead of just taking them off (I'm looking for an article about it now, but I remember reading that it starts in the womb, before their eyes open).
And just remember while FF seems easier, there are all of the bottles to wash, you have to go out and buy the formula, and make sure you have enough whenever you go out. He is also more likely to get sick, which would just be more stressful for both of you. And for a lesser reason: stinky formula poops!
I hope it gets easier for you and you are able to find some resources to help you through your rough time.
I second the suggestion of calling Le Leche League. Even if you do not attend a meeting, just talking on the phone to a leader will help.....you will know you are not alone in breastfeeding and wish for natural parenting style.
My son scratched the heck out of me also, I had overactive letdown, I'm not sure if it was related. My milk came down so fast poor baby was sputtering and gasping. Sometimes I turned the sleeves over his hands (the fold over type).
My son also did not sleep much, it was very unnatural. It turns out he was actually over tired much of the time, so overtired he had trouble settling his body in order to relax and sleep. My husband was worried about having him in bed with us so he stayed in a co-sleeper side carred to my side of the bed and he slept terribly. He needed my body next to him to feel right, to feel secure, and I knew that . The first night I did keep my son in bed (to my husband's dismay), my son slept beautifully. The next day, he slept on and off, he was actually relaxed. Life changed from then on, and my husband had a change of heart. Daytime sleep was much better, starting the very next day after a good night's sleep next to my body.
Good luck to you, hang in there and ignore the unsolicited advice from people around you. There were very few people I actually trusted to ask advice of when my son was an infant, actually the only place I felt at home was here on MDC or at Le Leche League meetings. It was upsetting how the mothers around me in real life had the gall to offer advice to me (unsolicited) and try to derail my mothering style.......oh and unnurturering, unintuitive advice.......completely against maternal instinct.
Hang in there, I hope you can find some support somewhere.
I don't know how old is your child but I am assuming that he is doing it not because of the meanness
or for fun but you actually might have low milk supply for his needs and he is trying to do something to
make it work for him. I remember my daughter doing it at times as I nursed her for 6.5 years
we have been through everything. I quickly realized that if nothing else helped as in when she
was bitting nipple it was not aobut supply, it was about her need to bite, but when she was
scratching the boob it was a nautral way a babies and children and little animals have coded
a way of stimulating a boob to make better letdown.
I did use a bit of Alfalfa like one dry organic lives pill a day did totally a trick for me.
I would revisit the issue of CIO becuase you actually might be punishing him for something
he just can't phrase as he is not equipped at that. kids can't really phrase many of those
nursing issues and it is up to us to figure them out unfortunatley untill way older age..
p.s. btw.. there are two motions that I associate with baby /child need to increases supply
one of them is scratching the boob, another is squashing the boob... and they are VERY
different in nature and intention then biting the boob. In my opinion biting steams from
need to sooth the itchy growing teeth and this is when the bitinig toy helps
but scratching and squashing is something entirely else.
little babies do nurse constantly to increase the supply but older babies and kids
employ the squashing and scratching at some point.. go figure.
I can relate to some of your struggle. I am a sexual abuse survivor and the scratching, squishing, smacking, etc. make an already difficult situation even more difficult. I don't have many suggestions as I am struggling myself, but I offer my support...and a HUG. Though, you could try swaddling at night and see if that helps with both the sleep and the nursing difficulties. I swaddle my daughter for her last nursing sessions in my bed before she is put in her sidecarred cosleeper. I have to tolerate the bedtime feeding due to the abuse issues, but it helps with her scratching and with the sleep. I hope you are able to find some things that help you.