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17month old who hits only during certain times

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have a 17 mo old who has taken to hitting me and kicking me while nursing sometimes. It's like my LO is restless and can't be still. I know my LO understands when I say no, but the kicking and hitting persists. In addition to these sometimes restless nursing times, my LO also sometimes will hit his own head while nursing. It breaks my heart and I cannot understand why my LO is doing this. We practice sign language, even though we are all hearing, and when my LO hits myself or another family member I am very intentional to communicate no, that hurts and I sign and speak my feelings. My LO will even say no, as if it's understood that the behavior was unacceptable and will also sign "hurt," but the behavior persists. Sometimes when I say no, my LO will slowly but intentionally knock his head up against a hard surface, which is sometimes my head and other times the wall or fridge. I am very concerned and am wondering if this is some kind of strange phase or if it's something I should be more concerned about. The head banging is usually more abrupt against my own head, but more slow and test-like against other hard surfaces.... it seems to exclusively be done in fits of frustration, never just for the sake of trying it.

 

My child is otherwise developmentally doing very well. No delays. Plays very well with other children and pets. This behavior is pretty much exclusive to our family time. Oh, and we also do not hit to communicate discipline, so I don't know where this behavior came from! No day-care either, I'm a WAHM. 

 

Please help or offer suggestions or advice.

Thank you. 

post #2 of 5

My little guy will often test the limits of what hitting is, after I've told him to stop hitting, by doing that slow careful "hit" to see if I'll call him out on it or not.  I think it's normal, he's trying to figure out what exactly the boundary is.  He's older now, but when he was that age I would put him down and stop the nursing if he was hurting me.  You could also try redirecting him to hit a pillow or something safe. 
 

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelorum View Post

My little guy will often test the limits of what hitting is, after I've told him to stop hitting, by doing that slow careful "hit" to see if I'll call him out on it or not.  I think it's normal, he's trying to figure out what exactly the boundary is.  He's older now, but when he was that age I would put him down and stop the nursing if he was hurting me.  You could also try redirecting him to hit a pillow or something safe. 
 

Yes, it's like he is testing the limits! I have tried stopping the nursing, but sometime a very emotional heartbroking-like cry follows when I do this. In addition to the the hitting, I forgot to mention my LO has sometimes been biting me while nursing and even trying to but other parts of my body, like my feet and legs (strange body parts to choose to bite). I follow this behavior by stopping the nursing and then crying ensues...so I eventually allow a latch on again once I've communicated no biting that hurts and sometimes my LO will bite me AGAIN! Ugh... it's so difficult to continue the nursing once my LO deliberately bites me. I don't get it. I feel so heartbroken that my child is hitting and biting.

post #4 of 5
My DD is 14 months and we've been through a couple of bout of the restless nursing with slapping and kicking and biting, as well as the biting at other times.
This is what worked for us:

1: biting while nursing means nursing is over and kiddo goes on the floor for 10 to 30 seconds, then we try again. If more biting happens, she goes on the floor again. And again. It's frustrating but she quickly (over a few days) figured out that all the interruptions meant its much harder to get milk and she stopped.

2: restless nursing with the waving limbs resulting in slapping and kicking. Two things helped. I started giving her a small, soft plush toy to keep her hands busy and her attention focused. She would usually play with the kitty, relaxing more and the few times she didn't, at least I got soft kitty to the face, not a slap lol. The restlessness was often related to her being very tired so I made a real effort to get her to rest more and that also helped.

3: biting not related to nursing. Definitely a sign of teething with her. I would put her down, say "no biting, it feels bad and now mommy is sad" and redirect with a toy. I then would try to make all sorts of things for her to bite, including veggie sticks and her little plastic spoons and offer lots of nice cold things from the fridge to help soothe her gums (berries, yogurt, cold water).

The carefully hitting her head against stuff was a very quick phase for us. We didn't draw attention to it and just kept an eye on her and she got bored with it really quickly. She is usually very happy to drop whatever mischief she's into if I get down on her level with a challenging activity (stacking blocks, helping her with the shape sorter, etc) or if I invite her to "help" me with a household task. So I usually do that rather that take her away from stuff, it saves on tantrums if it's "her idea" :-)
post #5 of 5
DS (19mo) loves to hit my chest while nursing. I say, "gentle, please" and he does gentle pats, and a minute later will hit hard again. It's frustrating but they really don't have impulse control at this age. It's very obvious that he isn't trying to hurt me and it's just fun for some reason. I tell him it hurts, ask him to be gentle, and that's it. I keep him busy asking him to point to body parts and that works pretty well.

He sometimes bites and it's the same thing; he doesn't realize he's done it until after. He doesn't bite often though and it has always corresponded with teething.

He's done head banging too, and I'm pretty sure he got a reaction from me the first time and kept doing it to provoke a response. If he does it now I don't ignore him, but instead of saying, "oh ouch, don't hurt yourself!" I just say something like, "Yes, that's the wall. You're hitting the wall with your head" in a normal voice. He moves on to something else pretty quick.
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