Almost 4yo son groping and talking about breasts all the time, I'm getting angry - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy > Almost 4yo son groping and talking about breasts all the time, I'm getting angry
MummaGaia's Avatar MummaGaia 06:44 PM 03-03-2013

My ds will be 4 at the end of April.  I am hoping that he will wean in the next year, but I'm trying not to push him.  He nurses when he wakes up and then before bed.  If he asks during the day (which he does, most days) I refuse.  I don't refuse in a mean way, I just matter of factly say that he can have milk in the morning and before bed.  Lately he has started asking a little more aggressively.  He also asks whenever we are around men (our doctor, the chiropractor, his OT).  I always refuse unless it's morning or night, those are the only times I am willing to nurse him.  He has been nursing two times a day for over a year.  In the last few months when he is nursing in the morning (when I am snoozing) I have to ask him over and over to not rub my breasts and grope me.  I say things like, "Stop please, I do not like how that feels!".  He also will nurse on both sides and then ask to go back to the first side again.  When I refuse he cries and his feelings are clearly hurt.

I have been handling all of this fine for the last few months, but he has started touching my breasts, pushing his face on them and making nursing sounds, he talks about my breasts alot.  I really feel kind of disgusted with his touching me all the time, especially because I feel like I have been extremely clear that this is unwanted touching.  I am feeling angry and kind of used.  My husband is also upset that my nursing relationship with my ds is turning in this direction.

We have tried talking to him about respecting people's bodies.  I have left the room telling him that it makes me angry, and I have also sent him away.  I am not sure how break through to him without weaning.  I would love some advice because I am really feeling awful about this and don't want to hurt his feelings.  

Thank you.

mamazee's Avatar mamazee 06:51 PM 03-03-2013
I just typed out a post and lost it. So here I go again !

I have a child who just turned four and weaned two years ago who remembers nuring and is doing the exact same thing. I'm afraid this can happen even if you aren't nursing anymore.

I'm talking about boundaries and being consistent but gentle. I don't like being touched in that way, we all own our bodies, you own your body too and no one can touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable either. It's a boundary being defined and a good lesson re safety.

Maybe if you can feel proactive, like this is a good opportunity to teach him an important lesson, it will help you deal with the angry? Good luck!
blackbird2's Avatar blackbird2 07:15 PM 03-11-2013

Hi!  I'm chiming in to say this sounds like normal (although, yes, very frustrating) 4 yr old-ish behavior.  My DC had a similar stage.  He's also had a licking stage, a poking everyone on the cheeks stage ... various annoying physical boundary-crossing behaviors that get your full attention.


Tips:  Do your best to stay calm, centered and relaxed.  If he gropes or rubs in the morning, look him in the eye and say "no rubbing,"  "hands here (wherever you'd like him to leave them when nursing)", or whatever short clear message works for you.  If he does it again, before you're feeling angry, matter-of-factly disengage, sit up, pull your shirt down, etc and say that nursing is over for the morning.  My DS would freak out at this point.  If you're feeling up to it, offer a chance to try again.  Set out the rules and have another shot.  If you're just feeling done for that session, that's ok too.


I guess that's what all my advice boils down to when I think about it:  have a short, clear, direct message about what the boundary is.  Say it kindly and firmly.  If it happens again, move.  It's much easier to move yourself than getting in a struggle to get a child off of you.  Standing up is usually sufficient.  Offer a chance to try again.  This interaction will certainly happen more than once, but on the bright side, you're doing a great job modeling how you'd like your children to respond to touch that crosses their boundaries.


On the other hand, it might also help to try to spend some really focused 1-1 time with your DS.  To see if filling up his "attention from mom cup" in another way might ease some of these behaviors.  I often feel like I'm already doing so much for my kid, but carving out that 15-20 minutes to just be totally focused on him sometimes is the best antidote.

Good luck!

MummaGaia's Avatar MummaGaia 07:28 PM 03-11-2013

Thank you so so much.  I think it's about keeping up my side of the bargain with clear and concise information for him and to do it in a loving way.  This is what I needed to hear.  Thanks again!

EvolvingMama's Avatar EvolvingMama 02:39 PM 04-30-2013

Just a note to thank blackbird for her suggestions! Sounds like your ideas helped MummaGaia and I definitely needed to hear these thoughts for my own little girl (almost 3.5 years old).

blackbird2's Avatar blackbird2 06:38 PM 05-01-2013

Oh, I appreciate that! Hoorah for community  :)

GreekMomma's Avatar GreekMomma 12:42 AM 05-11-2013
I just wanted to chime and say that I agree with blackbird2. My 4yo DD hit a spot a few months ago of unwanted/agressive touching while bfing. Being calm & consistent in my response seemed to do the trick. It can be hard sometimes, especially at nightime, after a long day. Hang in there, Momma!
uzra_hashmi@rediff's Avatar uzra_hashmi@rediff 10:54 PM 06-03-2013

I read this post quite late and hence my somewhat delayed reaction. I have successfully breastfed my four biological children; the youngest (DS 3+) continues to nurse three or four times a day. I was wondering about two things in your account: One, whether nursing only twice a day, that too in the late evening and in the morning, does not create a long gap affecting your supply - unless, of course, you are expressing milk during day time; and  two, whether you are not treating your child expecting him to be a more grown up person. The latter would seem to be the main reason for your irritation and periodical frustration on his part. Both are bad. Children at this age do not subscribe to the niceties of caring for mother's comfort or avoiding reference to that body part. All of us know that many children in public demand to be breastfed, touch mothers' breasts, put hand inside the blouse or even try to draw out the breast. With gradual disciplining they change. Your DS's demand to be breastfed more times in the day is also important. Beware that denying him every time he asks to be suckled might adversely affect his feelings and might  make you regret later on. Honey, I am not trying to make you worry unnecessarily but these aspects occur to me and I have known women who later on regret having  been too strict to their children in this respect. So, unless you are a working mom or otherwise have some problem, why not make the 'young man' happy? May be he remembers his nursing experience with a positive and endearing attitude towards you later on. 


MummaGaia's Avatar MummaGaia 07:10 AM 06-04-2013

My son is 4 now and it seems to have been a phase that was in rhythm with some behavioral issues.  I would like this kid to eventually wean so I am definitely not going to say yes to more nursing and I am very hopeful that my supply will cut down.