Sorry I have not introduced myself before posting, I'll do it later, as I am writing from somebody else's computer and the Internet connection is very unreliable and I want to post my question before it goes down again.
I would be grateful if anyone could help with the problem that we've been having in the last couple of weeks. We are visiting relatives abroad, and due to sporadic Internet connection/only occasional Internet availability the time that I can spend searching is limited and also because of our set-up and the time differences I would really struggle to contact my local LLL Leaders or a breastfeeding counsellor, and the only one in this country that I know of is a good couple of hours flight away. So that's why I'm asking here - I hope it's OK.
My nearly 2.5 year old daughter has strated latching on with her teeth in these last two couple of weeks, to the extent that she leaves bite marks around the tip of my nipple, which I can see every time after she latched off. It got so bad that I had infected wounds twice on the upper side of one nipple and have just started developing it on the upper side of the other.
I think the reason for it is hers having had on a Chupa-Chups lollipops (CCs) binge in the last couple of weeks. A few times well-meaning strangers and relatives gave those to her all out of a sudden, without asking me, and since then she recognises the nasties and since they are sold everywhere, it is very difficult to keep them out of her site when we are out and about. So please do not flame me for DD's having had Chupa-Chups, especially that at home she never has those or anything of a kind normally and our diet is fairly healthy anyway. Anyway, hers continuing to have them is not a problem as I managed finally to explain to her that the sugar in those is what makes her teeth hurt, so I told about it only to explain how it came about. The relevance of the above is that I think she confuses the 'latch' she'd make on CCs (the actual lollipop further in her mouth, her teeth around the stick) vs that on my nipple (she started putting her teeth out, i.e. cover up her lower teeth less with her tongue and clamp the top teeth on the tip of my nipple). She started taking less of my areola into her mouth too.
What I have tried to do so far is, firstly, obviously to have eliminated the culprit (now after many explanations she seems to understand that the sugar in them is what makes her teeth hurt so she took the decision not to have them or so it seems). Secondly, I have tried to explain to her that her latch will be pain-free for me if she puts her teeth away, takes in more of my areola into her mouth (I showed her how much) and opens up her mouth wide to take it in rather than clamp on the tip of my nipple straight away. But, I have not got far with my explanations, so would be grateful if anyone could share ideas an experience on how to correct toddler's latch.
We have been enjoying breastfeeding so far (after initial problems and such), and the benefits of it for my toddler and myself. We've been hoping for full-term breastfeeding/natural-term/child-led weaning, and I feel really frustrated that the problem that we are having now has happened when I am physically away from my resources and support network. My DD feeds anything from 3 to 10 times during the night, and I do not count how often but closer to 10 than 3 times during the day, and I hate to see it diminishing rapidly in the last week and her sucking on her fingers instead, and her distress from that, as her biting and the condition of my nipples deteriorates.
And, personally, I'm really at my wits end because of the pain - starting the morning with a painful bite on my nipple does not set me well for a day that often turns out to be too stressful as is, and I hate to fear the pain every time that my DD latches on (however much I think I've braced myself for the pain, it makes me jump or yell sometimes when she bites during feedings and on latching off).
I'll get in touch with my local LLL councellor as soon as I am back home but I have another seven days (can you tell I am counting, LOL) between now and then,, and the pain and the bite wounds inform everything that I do and how I communicate with my daughter so badly that I hope to have some suggestions on how to make it easier in the meanwhile.
Many thanks for your wisdom in advance, ladies and sorry it was such a long post.