I have an 11 month old but I'm posting here because, while I'm determined to nurse her until her birthday, I am feeling very unmotivated to continue after that and I was hoping some of you mamas of toddlers could offer me your perspective.
My baby has 4 teeth. She's been biting me ever since she got the first one, and it hurt, but over the last couple of weeks, the biting has gotten more frequent and I can feel my nipples becoming progressively more raw and tender. Yesterday was a particularly bad day and when I nursed her overnight, even though she wasn't biting (she doesn't tend to bite in the middle of the night when she's essentially nursing in her sleep) just her nursing was very painful because of how tender my nipples are. Just toweling off after a shower is uncomfortable because my nipples are so raw.
I have tried everything I know of to get her to stop biting including ignoring it, praising her when she does nurse well, Dr. Sears's suggestion of drawing her in close to my breast so she can't breathe for a second, saying a firm "no biting", ending the nursing session and giving her a teething ring to chew instead. We seem to be nursing less and less because she will latch on and bite me and I will say "OK, you don't want to nurse gently" and take her off and then we aren't nursing when we usually would be. And I think this pattern has started to impact my supply. There have been a couple of times when she bites REALLY hard--it feels like someone is stabbing my nipple with a fork--and I've screamed loudly and lept up from the bed (we were side-lying nursing) and had to leave the room to calm down (DH was in the bed and was able to take her). I was in extreme physical pain but also felt emotionally hurt (even though I know it's not an act of malice on her part) and then felt immediately overcome with guilt for reacting so strongly and running away from my baby so suddenly when I know she didn't mean anything--she just wants to chew and her teeth probably hurt her.
I will find a way to keep breastfeeding her until she is 1, but if the biting continues, I am not sure how much longer I will be able to nurse. I don't think I would wean intentionally, but if I'm worried about her biting, I think that after she is 1 I might offer her a snack or a drink of cow's milk to see if she'll take that rather than nurse her, and I can see how my milk supply might drop as a result to the point where she might 'self wean' just because there is nothing left. i.e. I guess my fear is that if I don't do my part and let her nurse whenever she wants to (even if she's biting), which I feel like I would have some permission to do after she's 1, although maybe that is selfish, my milk will go away and she will wean. Does that make sense?
ETA: I guess I'm posting about this now because to some extent, I worry that the weaning process has already begun... I mean, I'm NOT really feeding her on demand if I stop a nursing session because she's biting me. But I really have no way to know whether this is a passing phase that will have no longer-term consequences or whether this is the beginning of the end for us! I guess that is what I'm trying to figure out. Thanks