Posts Tagged ‘biting’

When Your Toddler Starts Hitting

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

When Your Toddler Starts HittingI remember the scene like it was yesterday. I was pregnant with my son, and my daughter was 1. I was leaving a large women’s Bible study and attempting to put Johanna in her car seat. She wasn’t a fan of this idea and as I leaned over to buckle her in, she smacked me in the face. I remember her hitting me in my glasses and me becoming very rattled. Did she really just hit me? My sweet, loveable, little girl just hit me in public and other moms had to be judging. I got in the driver’s seat, cried the whole way home, and questioned what I had been doing wrong.

Newsflash: That was me with one kid. Now, I am pregnant with my third child, and I have learned that toddlers at an early age start becoming aggressive. It’s not me. It’s not something I’ve not done right. It’s just something that can happen. My son Levi is 1, and we’ve been through phases already. For some kids it is hitting. For us, that has been the case. For other kids, it may be biting or pushing. Early toddler aggression is real. And it’s not your fault.

So what causes our sweet angelic little ones to be mean and lash out? Many children become aggressive because of strong emotions coupled with weak communication skills. For me, this has been the case. When a child can’t express themselves in words, they may become aggressive. For Levi, this is when he has a toy taken away from him by his sister. Self-control is also still being learned, so young toddlers may hit, kick, push, or bite.

For my family, these aggressive behaviors have come and gone in seasons. Johanna is now a happy, energetic 3-year-old who doesn’t show aggression. When she is mad, she cries. It is almost humorous to me to hear her tell her little brother to stop hitting. I mean, what about all of those times she hit me? For me, teaching my children to touch gently and modeling behavior with their lovey teddy bear has been helpful. Time-outs work for older children, but a 1-year-old doesn’t get it. Removing them from the situation while reminding them we don’t hit or kick seems to work.

Children tend to exhibit these behaviors when they are tired, hungry, or overstimulated. My kids are much more tempermental at nap time or before bed.

I don’t have the answers on how to handle early toddler aggression. I can only to tell you that you are not alone. Reminding myself that some of this is normal kid behavior has helped. It doesn’t last forever. Lean on other moms. I have gotten some good advice from gentle mommas who can hold it together in these time much better than me.

Our little ones love us, but they need us to teach them, lead them, and show them the way.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she is happy no one has hit her in a long time.


Toddler Teething

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

toddler teethingTeething has disrupted countless hours of sleep in my house. I often get resentful knowing that those tiny teeth that give my little ones so much trouble coming in are just going to fall out in a few years anyway. Toddler teething can be intense and tricky in my experience.

Not only does teething wake my toddler up in the middle of the night numerous times from pain, but the way she reacts to the pain is different than when she was an infant. She is much more destructive. I know a tooth is coming when she bites my shoulder when I am holding her. There are also the bites on my legs that I get when she runs up to my legs and hugs them. With only a couple teeth left to come in, those bites are painful since there is almost a mouthful of teeth chomping down on me. The top of her crib now looks like she shares her bed with a beaver. Even though I have teething crib protectors, she finds a way to pull them up and over and bite the wood to relieve the pressure in her mouth.

The solutions for helping her relieve pain from teething has changed from when she was an infant, too. Teething rings and frozen wash cloths are no longer of interest to her. There are a few tricks that I try in order to deter her from biting people or wooden objects like her bed. Instead of frozen washcloths, she now enjoys frozen food.  Frozen mangos, cherries, blueberries, waffles and peas are some of her favorites. I also give her fruit popsicles as a treat.  She also enjoys chewing on her toothbrush.

I feel like I am starting to see the light at the end of the toddler teething tunnel. I start counting down how many teeth are left to come in. It is tricky feeling around for teeth, but I find ways to peek in my daughter’s mouth when she is laughing or eating or if I am dipping her while we are dancing.

Sarah Cole is a writer and a stay at mom of two busy toddlers.  She is looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep sometime in the near future.


We Don’t Bite!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

We don't bite!“Did you just swear at our baby?”

My husband attempted to disguise his concern with amusement. I would have cursed the unraveling excuse I had given as to where our five-year-old had learned some colorful language (“Oh, kids at the parks these days!”) if I weren’t frantically exploring my nipple for what had to be a gaping wound. It was evident from the sharp pain in my breast and the sadistic grin on my daughter’s face that we had entered the teething stage.

The interwebs are awash with helpful solutions for preventing biting during breastfeeding. These excellent resources encourage looking for signs that the baby is bored, praising the baby for a correct–and toothless–latch, offering alternatives that do not involve cannibalism when baby wants to chew, and gently removing the baby when incisors grind into your flesh.

Unfortunately, many of us reside in the real world, one where women are meant to “have it all!” and it can be difficult to carve out time where your undivided attention is given to your baby during feeding time. There are other children with needs to be tended to, emails to be answered, dogs to be let outside, and the constant scanning of the household environment to make sure nothing is being destroyed or set on fire. “Undivided attention” rarely exists within a role that is dependent on constant multitasking.

So what do you do? Ideally, you set aside the time and energy to work with your babe to nip the nipping of the nipple in the bud. But for all the times when you are doing a million things at once and your babe needs to eat, here are some ways to make sure you can keep the swearing to a minimum and also feel less like a human hoagie:

  • Remember that it isn’t personal. This is more of a conversation to have with yourself at the beginning of the nursing session rather than in the midst of a painful bite. Most of us can count on one hand how many people in our world we love enough to put their boob in our mouth, and you’re one of those for this kid.
  • Make sure your cup is full. Patience is much more accessible if you’re taking care of yourself, and setting aside time to do it is a lot easier when you’re only depending on your needs in the moment, rather than when she needs to eat. So scrapbook, go running, check in on the Kardashians–whatever it takes. Your kids are better served when you’re in a good place.
  • Give yourself permission to feel frustrated. Parenting is hard. Keeping so many plates spinning at once is tiring without adding bodily injury. This is a tough gig, and when we are honest about the hard stuff, we give others permission to acknowledge the hard stuff too, and our village is strengthened. Letting a swear word slip is a lot more productive when empathetic ears can hear it.

Hopefully, when you are taking care of yourself, you will notice a positive ripple effect on the world around you. You will feel better in your interactions, and those around you will respond in kind. You’ll probably still have ground meat for nipples and your other kids will probably still destroy all the things, but you’ll feel better about it. And that’s really all you can ask for.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

Your Baby has Teeth!

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Your baby has teethWhen my first was born, I thought we’d have months and months until teething began and we had to think about nursing and teeth. I was wrong.

My son started teething around 2 months and broke the first tooth at 3 months old. The rest followed in quick succession, coming in three or four teeth at a time. We were teething pretty much non-stop until getting the 2-year molars at 15 months.

This is on the early side for most babies, but we repeated this pattern pretty much identically with each of my other two children. More often, teeth come in at a more leisurely pace.

Such early teething caused some issues with our nursing relationship. My son was so young, nursing was his only real comfort. But he was fussy and his gums hurt. He began to bite down on my nipple when nursing, or ground his gums back and forth. This was not a pleasant experience for me.

I remembered from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that it is important to not screech or scream when this happens as it can be a shock to the baby too, who is not doing this to cause me pain but out of his pain and a desire to have me make it better. They suggest pulling baby into your breast instead to cause them to break suction to breathe. Then, firmly but nicely tell your baby that it hurts or not to bite mommy.

This took a few times before my baby learned not to bite, but it didn’t take long even as young as he was. My local La Leche League group talks often of “nursing manners.” It is so true. He learned that my nipples were there for comfort and milk but not to be used as teethers.

I got an amber teething necklace for him at around two and a half months and that seemed to make a huge difference in his comfort. As he got older, and could vocalize more, he asked for it as he got his first set of adult molars at 6 years old.

Babies truly do understand so much more than we give them credit for. They are designed to be a symbiotic pair with their mothers. But setting boundaries and working calmly to find a way through the difficult times is key to a positive and happy breastfeeding relationship.

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones.