Clawing, Scratching and Pinching - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding > Clawing, Scratching and Pinching
MarineWife's Avatar MarineWife 10:31 AM 03-04-2012
My 7 month old does this to me almost every time he nurses. He claws and scratches my face and pinches my breasts, underarms and neck. I try to block it as much as possible but then he gets very upset. I've tried wearing a nursing necklace but he couldn't care less about that. I've tried holding his hand, playing with his fingers and finally pinning his arm. It doesn't help. I can usually deal with it during the day but it drives me crazy at night. Not only does it hurt but it keeps me tense and more awake when he's nursing at night. It's gotten to the point that I dread nursing him at night and get really angry when he hurts me one more time.

Does anyone have any suggestions of things I can try to keep him from doing this?

Flopsy's Avatar Flopsy 12:05 PM 03-05-2012

Gosh that sounds so frustrating! Could you put socks or mittens on his hands while he nurses?

MarineWife's Avatar MarineWife 02:05 PM 03-05-2012
Oh, that's an idea. I don't have any mittens for his hands but maybe some socks would work.
cat13's Avatar cat13 03:43 PM 03-07-2012

I'm dealing with this same thing. DS is a bruiser ( 6 1/2 mo) and doesn't really care for the nursing necklace anymore, even though he loved it a month ago. I don't have a fix-all, but here are some things that sometimes work:


*He does it less when I nurse him in the sling or even if I just nurse while walking (obviously not a good nighttime solution)

*Sometimes it helps when I sing to him. I think he's just fidgeting because his brain isn't focused, and he focuses on me when I'm singing.

*He does it more when he's really hungry. I find that since he's older, I often go a little too long before offering the boob, and by the time he "asks" for it, he's overly hungry. So, if I offer more often, it's better.

*Same with naps. This one is harder to overcome.

*I'm trying to work on saying "gentle" with him and demonstrating by guiding his hand. (with nursing, playing, petting the cats, etc) He doesn't get it now, but it helps me to be more patient by thinking of it as a "learning experience."

*When it's really bad, I don't let him comfort nurse. After I know he's done with the full-on eating, I end the nursing session. Not all the time, but enough to keep my sanity.


I hope you find a solution or that he grows out of it soon. If you find something that works well, please post!

MarineWife's Avatar MarineWife 04:15 PM 03-07-2012
I picked up some baby mittens today. They are for up to 6 months so I don't know how long they'll last but I'm going to try them. He may not like it, though. He gets really mad if I move his hand out from under my shirt when he's scratching or pinching me and he'll stop nursing.
Gracecody's Avatar Gracecody 11:14 AM 03-13-2012

Just listening in as mine (5.5 mos) is doing a lot of pinching and scratching and it hurts so much with those little razor nails!  I have also noticed that playing soft music on the cd player next to the bed helps somewhat as it gives him something to focus on. He is now about to cut his first tooth so the scratching and snatching handfuls of skin has gotten almost frantic. I know that if I wore a nursing necklace he would either grab it and beat it against my chest or pull on it as hard as he could. :(

MarineWife's Avatar MarineWife 12:13 PM 03-13-2012
The mittens I thought I bought turned out to be booties. Not sure how that happened. I guess I could still use them. He wouldn't know the difference. I tried filing his nails instead of just clipping them but that didn't really help. I think because he pinches so hard he's going to cut into me no matter how short and smooth his nails are. I did put my nursing necklace back on. That distracts him sometimes.

Everyone else who holds him gets annoyed after a while because of the same thing. They get tired of having their faces and necks scratched and pinched.

I hadn't thought about it being associated with teething. My babe has been teething since he was 3 months old. He's got 6 teeth already at 7 months. I've been wondering if he's starting to get the two bottom lateral incisors in. I can't quite tell.
Choose2Reuse's Avatar Choose2Reuse 01:37 PM 03-13-2012

No advice, just listening in as my 6 month old does the same thing!  It's a little better sometimes when I sing to her...that's it.  Luckily she doesn't scratch too much at night, because that would drive me nuts.  I mostly just try to keep her nails filed down so she doesn't break the skin.


The only other thing that helps is letting her grab my bra instead, or hang on to my mangalsutra (a kind of necklace that's black and gold and apparently fascinating to her).  Not that it's comfortable, because she tugs them every which way, but at least she's not mauling me then.

Gracecody's Avatar Gracecody 04:14 PM 03-13-2012

I have definitely noticed that it's worse with teething but it started before the teething was obviously a problem for him. Like yours though, mine has a lot of forceful, not exactly polite movements, nursing or not. For instance he will forcefully rub one foot against the insides of the other leg and scratch himself with his toenails if his socks aren't on (and he rubs them off doing this). He also snatches his own thighs and leaves nasty red scratches. !!!

MrsGregory's Avatar MrsGregory 09:05 AM 03-14-2012

Ack!  Mine too!!  She got a finger up my nose last night and the rest of her hand outside and PULLED...  I have a nursing necklace, and I've been working on teaching her "gentle hands" with me as well as with the one kitty dumb enough to get near her.  (On a side note, that cat is worth every penny of the adoption fee as that cat does not seem to care if her ear is pulled off her head, she just keeps purring, and has never so much as turned hard at daughter.)  Not comfort nursing is not an option.  Rage in a 5 1/2 month old is not cute, and not survivable.  We comfort nurse, or we will be the first to die when she perfects her death ray.  The mitten idea is GENIUS!  I still have her baby mittens, and since her hands and feet haven't grown (which bodes not well for her adult height, and her adult ability to wear shirtdresses and wide leg pants) I am certain they will still fit just fine.  Hahahaha.  She HAAAAAAAAAAATED those mittens... betcha she learns "gentle hands" pretty quick if the mittens are in play.


<sigh>  I have welts all over from my little darling.