I can't lie and say that nursing was a wonderful experience. In fact, breastfeeding my kids was difficult and, at times, painful. It felt like I struggled with almost every breastfeeding problem in the book, from undersupply to mastitis. And while those were not walks in the proverbial park, nothing could prepare me for what it would feel like to be bitten during breastfeeding. Talk about ouch, my friends.
At the risk of oversharing I have to say that my nipples are super-sensitive, even when I'm not feeding a baby. So, as you might imagine, the first few weeks of latching, pumping, and feeding a baby who wanted to nurse all day and night were pretty painful. Then came thrush, which caused my nipples to blister and bleed. And just when I thought I was past the worst of my breastfeeding pain, my son cut his first tooth. The first time he bit me I screamed in horror and tore him off my breast, which was as horrible as it sounds. His tiny lower teeth ended up cutting into my nipple like a cheese grater. He was too young to understand what was happening and, as a result of my natural reaction, started to cry. So, of course, I cried, too.
In my conversations with other parents who have been bitten during breastfeeding, I've learned that I am not alone. They describe the feeling as painful, shocking, and frustrating. No matter how much you try not to react, it can make you want to yell or hand over your baby to the nearest adult. I wish I could tell you that you get used to it, too, but that would be a lie. Hopefully, however, your baby realizes that biting their meal ticket isn't the way to go and, eventually, knocks it off.
So with all that in mind, and because knowledge is power, here's what it really feels like to be bitten during breastfeeding, according to moms who've been there, done that: