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HELP! Baby's comfort ritual is driving me insane!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure where this post belongs, but I'll take help from anywhere!

My 15-month-old daughter's sleep/comfort ritual involves grabbing/pinching my neck, and at times it's all I can do to keep from biting her hand. If she can't get my neck, she'll go for my face or any bare skin she can find. I feel terrible because it's a habit that surfaced when she was in the hospital at 6 months following an allergic reaction. I try to be patient, but depending on my mood (which swings harder since I'm pregnant again), and the length of time she goes on picking (sometimes over an hour), I just can't take it. It's a vicious cycle because the longer she picks, the more annoyed I get, but if I step away to regain my composure, she cries, setting the clock back in terms of finally getting her to sleep (she's never cried herself to sleep). The few times I've sent my husband into the room to relieve me, she's pitched herself into a fit.

What do I do? Of course, I'd love to know the underlying cause, but right now I'm just looking for relief. How do I get her to pick at her stuffed dog instead of me?
post #2 of 10
DS has tried to do this from time to time, but it's so hard that it hurts, so I've never really "let" him. I always say, "gentle pats for mommy" and he'll change the pinch/pick to patting me, which is much more tolerable. It takes several reminders, but works for us. Not sure it will work for a real "habit," though...
post #3 of 10
Yikes! Have you tried a necklace (I think they are called nursing necklaces) that have large beads for kids to play with? Maybe it would be enough to interest your daughter and give you a bit of a break.
post #4 of 10
yikes, that would have driven me insane a long time ago. I'd substitute a stuffed animal, doll, or something else for her to touch and keep redirecting her hand. You could take her to the store and let her pick, or just try something that's around. She may cry, but that is really a major violation of your person, it's not ok for her to hurt you.
post #5 of 10
My daughter was very tactile, but she's an earlobe fondler. Can you redirect her? Things I don't like, like nipple twiddling while breast feeding, were just not permitted; I always redirected.
post #6 of 10
Here's what I would do: I think she's old enough to learn and understand when something hurts someone else. It will take several days, maybe even two weeks of putting in the effort to redirect the behavior by simply repeating over and over that pinching is not okay because it hurts you, but gentle pats and gentle touches are okay and then demonstrate with her hand on you and with your hand on her what gentle touches and gentle pats are. If (when?) she gets upset about this, I would tell her that she must be frustrated because she is used to pinching and twiddling, but that it hurts you and so we have to find another way to snuggle. She'll get it, but it may take a bit if it's a deeply ingrained habit.
post #7 of 10
I'm not suggesting this in your situation since your dd is actually hurting you... but it kind of made me think of my son. His comfort ritual is putting his hand down my shirt and tweaking my nipples or just squeezing my breast. It doesn't hurt. But it drives me completely batty. I have been trying to redirect him for more than a year now to no avail... and so what I finally did about a month ago was start sticking my hand down his shirt every time he put his hand down mine. This probably isn't GD... b/c it's trying to teach him not to do something by doing it. But honestly, I felt okay about this because it didn't involve any hurting. AND it didn't even involve him crying (like the redirecting did). He simply said, "don't do that!" So I stopped an then I told him that I don't like it when he sticks his hand down my shirt. And he said okay, and then during that cuddle session, every time he started to habitually put his hand down my shirt, he would stop himself. I've had to do this over a few cuddle sessions, but it honestly is getting better.
Anyway, I don't in any way think that you should try something similar with your DD, since pinching and pulling would involve hurting her... it just made me think of what I did with DS.
post #8 of 10
When she does it, take both of her hands in yours and say "No, that hurts Mama" and give her something else to play with. It might take a while, but she'll get it eventually. I wouldn't be able to deal with that myself. Good luck!
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks, it all sounds like good advice. I'll give it a shot!
post #10 of 10
i had a nipple twiddler/kind of pincher in the family bed. not okay.
start like this.

"fingers are not for pinching"
remove the hand. (this is you showing her your body is your own, not to be harmed. this is not to physically punsish or harm her in any way)
"mommy likes a gentle touch" or, simply "do nice" or "be soft" if that works better for you.
use her hands to demonstrate a gentle touch on your body, and then you show the same gentle touch to her, when you do it to her say "see? that's nice" then she does it to you correctly, say, "that's so nice (so gentle, so soft, etc)" whatever it is you call the patting/touching in place of pinching.

good luck. it worked for my son. it took just a few times and now he "does nice" all the time when i am hurt (like if i stub my toe, or if he thinks i'm sad)
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