My 6 month old has just started doing something rather painful (for me).
While he's feeding, he puts his hand against my breast and pushes... which stretches the skin taunt between where his hand is, and the nipple in his mouth. He sucks hard and pushes, stretching harder and harder until the nipple is pulled out of his mouth with a loud popping noise... then he re-attaches. OUCH!
The other thing he does is to put his fingers up against my nipple and slide them into his mouth while he's eating... which breaks the suction and results in a lot of loud slurping.
It was just irritating at first, but my nipples are going all red and getting very sensitive from the harsh use.
I've tried taking his hand away, and just not letting him do it... but it's a constant cycle of taking his hand away, him putting it back (instantly)... or me holding his hands at his side while he nurses.
He cries to be nursed, and reaches for mommy... and acts like he's hungry (rubbing his head or banging it against my chest). It's usually when he's really tired that he does this... so naturally when I stop him he screams a lot.
What do you suggest? He HATES being swaddled and has since he was born. (I thought of that, but discarded it since he gets hysterical when he can't move his arms.)
Today I had enough and when he did that I said "no" didn't let him eat anymore and set him down on the floor. He screamed for quite a while over that. My breasts are getting really sore.
Similar stuff here, at 6 months.
I have to be very, very, very, very consistent. I say "OW", pull his hand away, and tell him "be gentle." "OW" has been a very consistent version of "don't" for several months now. I started it at 5 months when he began to get teeth and bit. We use it for nursing problems, and when he pulls the cat fur, or my hair. I say OW and make a sad face and tell him it hurts. We take a short break from nursing (or petting the cat, or whatever) -- like 30-60 seconds, and then start again, and I tell him to be gentle, and praise him when he does it right.
I also give him something else to play with -- my fingers at night, a nursing necklace or toy during the day.
sometimes babies pull on the nipple like this because they want the milk to flow faster. Does he do this toward the end of the feeding? If you think that may be it, you might want to switch him to a fuller breast as soon as he starts this. Also, squeezing your breast gently yourself (which in lactation education circles is called "breast compression), can help make the milk flow more.
Also, the sliding his fingers into his mouth really sounds like this could also be a teething issue. When he does that, it seems to me, he is not really serious about getting milk and it's okay to take him off at that point. You might want to offer him something to teethe on at that point and see if that is really what he needs.
Teething is also common at this age, as the PPs mentioned.
Could it be that he's tired, at those times? If he's been awake for more than 90 minutes or so, you might try for a nap. Sometimes DD2 would have such a hard time settling to nurse, but if she slept for even just a half hour, she'd wake up and be ready to get down to business.
Thanks for the tips. Actually this week he just suddenly stopped doing both of those things. I haven't changed anything, he just hasn't tried to do it. Maybe it was a developmental thing, because he'd been a really fussy handful for a couple of weeks in there when he started it. Now he's done with what ever it was, and far more fun to be around.
I'll keep those tips in mind if he starts up again though!!!