9 month old is frequently..*ahem "self-stimulating..." - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, DD just turned nine months old. I'd say she is developmentally normal through and through. But, recently she has begun to "rock" constantly in her car seat, high chair, exersaucer, ERGO!!...
Now, ever since she was brand new, she would fall asleep with her head on my shoulder and we'd be holding her with one arm under her bottom and I guess she was doing this rocking thing until she fell asleep. Not until NOW did I realize that this is what she was doing almost every time she fell asleep!
I discussed this with my pediatrician who assured me it is quite normal, but DS has NEVER done this. (is he NOT normal?! AGH!) So, at first I was like, "Okay, cool, you know, it's totally normal, the limbic system unhindered by the cerebral cortex, all good". But it's A LOT. So, of course, I Googled.
And suddenly there are all these articles about babies who regularly "self stimulate" have high rates of all sorts of emotional and mental disabilities!
She seems completely happy and healthy otherwise. I definitely do not want to assign this as a problem, but seriously, EVERY time she's in her high chair? EVERY time she tries to fall asleep? EVERY time she gets into the car seat? EVERY time she is in the exersaucer? EVERY time in the Ergo?!

Is it just a phase?! Anyone else? Thank... (BTW: I searched for this topic and found NOTHING here on MDC...eek!)

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#2 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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since you discussed this with your pedi, i'll assume you did, but just to check:
did you rule out any sort of infection? vaginal or uti? it could be itchiness and not stimulation.

it could also be a habit, like nursing to sleep. or it could be that she's discovered how fun those parts are to rub! If so, it's bound to pass. You might try distracting her or trying to get her to find another habit to substitute, if that's the case.. and even if you had her tested for an infection, you might revisit that; sometimes they don't show up or aren't considered to be an infection if the numbers don't fall right on the doctor's scale, but could still be enough to bother your dd. kwim?
good luck!

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#3 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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Hey Mama, I guess I am confused- when you say self stimulating, do you mean she is just rocking back and forth, like her entire body is rocking back and forth, or self stimulating meaning she is touching her vagina? *

I know when babies are about to reach a milestone, they sometimes pick up little, for lack of a better word, 'habits' because they are concentrating so hard/ so excited with what is going on.

When I was still working as a home visiter, I had a client whose 9mo would rock back and forth and flap his hands at the wrist every time he was excited, concentrating etc... it was almost like a coping mechnasim. He soon grew out of it though.

*ETA: Not that it really matters, from what I've read, both behaviors are completely and totally normal. My 9mo DS 'found' his diaper area when he was 4mo and very regularly explores that part of his body. He also has a clenched fist, wiggle dance type of thing he does when he is thinking/super excited/ over stimulated.

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#4 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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^Yes, to be specific, she is rocking her body but really concentrating on rubbing her girl bits specifically on whatever happens to be between her legs (ie. the car seat strap, the high chair bar, exersaucer, etc.). She sort of glazes over and makes little grunts (oh, and clenches her fist and sort of raises her arm...). Oh, I KNOW that that is what she is doing and the pediatrician agreed that this is the case, but it sort of JUST started when she went in for her nine month visit, and since then, she,well, does it ALL the time whenever she is in the situation when something is between her legs, or, in the instance of going to sleep, our arm is under her bottom. I mean, I "know" discovering that area is normal development, but the regularity of this activity is what concerned me enough to post a topic . I suppose it is likely a phase. As in, she's just figuring out this feels good, etc. I certainly don't want to draw any negative attention to it, as I don't want her to have negative associations, of course, so as it is now, I do just try to distract her. I had never even thought about a possible infection as she doesn't seem to be red or any odor, or really bothered down there. But I will certainly be alert to this possibility.

I was thinking that this could be associated with a milestone. She's on the verge of walking now AND she has just pushed through her first tooth and I can see that three more are ready to come too. So, we'll see. I was just hoping someone else would be like, "Oh yeah! My DD/DS did that ALL the TIME for a while and it was just a phase. Eventually they tapered off".

Thanks for the responses y'all.

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#5 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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My DD did this off and on through baby/toddler/child hood... I remember being a bit disconcerted about it too. Luckily she was very social and normally when other people were around she'd be more interested in them. On occasion we did talk to her about privacy for that. Just to let you know, she's almost 19 now, off at college, and perfectly normal as far as I can tell!
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#6 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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Totally normal happy little discovery for your DD She's too little to give a "in your room when your alone talk" obviously so your choices are to either ignore or distract, but either way totally healthy, normal behavior!
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#7 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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Glad to hear I "was" normal at some point in my life...yes you read that right "I". And I was being funny I am still normal. My mom mentioned to me that I apparently had a facisination as a small child. To the point that I wore the crotch out of things, underwear I think...maybe pants but I can't imagine that. Anyhow, I am a completely "normal" well adjusted not overly facinated or sexual being these days. I don't remember my facination so it must have worn off quite young. And according to my mom I did the same sort of rubbing on things...and was too young for the "in your room talk" as well.

OK now I feel a bit awkward...but I just wanted you to know that you aren't the only one, people must just not talk about it. I am glad you brought it up, now others won't worry when they see there children start this too.

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#8 of 22 Old 02-25-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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Well okay let's take this apart a bit - other posters have mentioned it's normality and I completely agree: totally normal, and hey, she's discovering her body and what an amazing thing it is! However, let's take it's mechanics into consideration when thinking about things: this is a fascination thing, a "what do we have here?" thing, not anything deviant or odd.

When I say mechanics, I mean simply that when one rocks a certain way against that certain part of the body, it's possible to elicit a kind of "ping" from the girl part that then involuntarily sets off a reflex in both legs - know what I mean? That, if discovered, is probably a really fascinating sensation to a little one. Am I making sense? I betcha that's what's so interesting about this particular movement, nothign sexual but instead an exploration of the reflexes. XxX

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#9 of 22 Old 02-26-2010, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reassurances, everyone! I definitely don't think she's at all doing anything deviant . But it IS quite a fascination with her right now. The few other IRL mamma's I've mentioned this too were like, "Huh? My child never did that!".

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#10 of 22 Old 02-26-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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My dd just turned one year and she just started this. I noticed it when she was sitting in her highchair and I first thought she was just uncomfortable and trying to get out. But then it continued every time.

I figure it is a normal stage. I try to distract her and I keep the time in the chair limited. For example sometimes I would dillydally getting her food together while she sat there and that is how she would amuse herself..I guess. LOL So now I move a little quicker to get the food in front of her. I don't want to make it a negative thing, but I don't want to let it become a natural part of the dinner routine!
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#11 of 22 Old 02-27-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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Quote:
The few other IRL mamma's I've mentioned this too were like, "Huh? My child never did that!".
It's possible they never noticed... or not connected what they saw with what they think of as self-stim. There was actually a bit about it on an episode of House a few years ago.

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#12 of 22 Old 02-27-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
It's possible they never noticed... or not connected what they saw with what they think of as self-stim. There was actually a bit about it on an episode of House a few years ago.
That's right! I remember that episode of House - that bit was very funny!

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#13 of 22 Old 02-27-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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it may just be a soothing/"stress"relieving type sensation to her too, much like sucking one's thumb. when dd found her girly bits, we simply began reminding her to be gentle with them. as i recall, she was on the younger side when she discovered them.
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#14 of 22 Old 03-28-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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Ever since DS1 found his "wee wee" (his term, not ours) he's been enthralled. Every diaper change or nakey time his hands are all over it. He's two now, and this still happens, and I don't worry about it. He gets erections, and fiddles with it during diaper changes, and will not let me touch it at all-I've had to teach him to clean under it with a wipe himself, as he hasn't potty learned and has a bit of an issue with, erm, frumundu cheese in the a.m. Although on a completely unrelated note, this is all but gone now that we cloth at night.

A couple of weeks ago he was playing with it in the tub, and peed all over his face. For days he told everyone "I pee pee on my head!!!"

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#15 of 22 Old 03-28-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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Totally normal. I think kids do this a lot more than people realize (because they don't think of infants as sexual, kwim, so they don't see it that way). We have friends who are very anti-masturbation (as a religous thing) and it took them quite some time to realize that their daughter was doing this *often*.

That said...

You mentioned the car seat. Please make sure the straps are tight enough. You should NOT be able to pinch any strap horizontally--- it should be that snug.

 

 

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#16 of 22 Old 01-05-2014, 01:11 PM
 
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Hello There,

 

Did you find the answer to this problem ? I have 18 month old who does exactly the same thing when in car seat.  Asked doctor and she said it's normal but I don't want this habit to continue as a kid. I will greatly appreciate your sharing experience or findings on this. How is the kid doing now. Has she broken this habbit.

 

Regards,

AParent

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#17 of 22 Old 01-05-2014, 05:46 PM
 
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My son was a head banger. I am not sure when it began, but he would do it a lot. He would also rock to sleep. He went through a teeth grinding phase too. I think that all stopped by the time he was about 7. He does still have a few strange stims, and tics. He had developmental delays and sensory issues though...stuff you would have started suspecting by now. 

 

My daughter didn't really have many delays, considering she was preemie. Oddly, as soon as she became mobile with crawling, around 1 year old, she began banging her head on her pillow to fall asleep. I suspect an environmental or genetic link, since both my kids did this...and I remember my mom telling me I used to move my feet around when I was falling asleep when I was a baby. I remember I tried holding my daughter's head down gently so she would stop, and then she would bang her leg up and down instead. She still bangs her head and she is 7. She also does it in the car when she is tired, against the back of the booster seat. 

 

I got nervous when I read about this "rhythmic movement disorder" on line as well. There are some links to other mental disorders...but that seems to be the case with most "disorders" these days. 

 

The only issue my daughter seems to have is some anxiety and stomach issues. She had really bad separation anxiety as a toddler, and doctor anxiety (probably due to all the extra visits and shots and procedures due to being preemie). She always had a mystery stomach problem which they assumed was due to prematurity and GERD. She stopped spitting up as a toddler, but began again about a year ago...it got so bad this summer I went to three different pediatric GI docs for opinions and she had many tests. How can a 6 year old still be spitting up as much as 50 times a day?? Now she is down to about 5 times a day, which is better, but still not good. She will likely be on meds for life and the side effects are not good. I tried the natural alternatives and that is when there was a sudden spike in spitting. Other than that, she is a very bright, curious, active and loving little girl...she gets straight As and loves stuffed animals and gymnastics....and making those bracelets!

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#18 of 22 Old 01-09-2014, 10:33 AM
 
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AP Parent, I wouldn't worry about it. My second child did this in the car seat, but I had never noticed as I was the one driving. When my mom flew in we had a large party in the van & I sat across from her. I couldn't figure it out because I knew what it looked like, I just didn't believe that this 6 month old, bald, gummy smiled girl would grunt & turn red for that reason. My mom called me on it & demanded I make her stop as it made her really uncomfortable, but there wasn't much to do as long as she was in a 5 point harness. She associated the car seat w/ pleasure all the way up until the booster was introduced. Then it became an in the car thing & she switched to her hands; it did last up until the time  we could talk about it, but constant reminders to not touch herself in front of people were necessary. She was 4 by the time she stopped, I think my husband & her older brother calling her out on it did more than anything to maker her aware of it. She's 5 now & mostly enjoys making up games to play on the drives w/ her siblings.


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#19 of 22 Old 01-15-2014, 06:57 PM
 
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My son was a head banger. I am not sure when it began, but he would do it a lot. He would also rock to sleep. He went through a teeth grinding phase too. I think that all stopped by the time he was about 7. He does still have a few strange stims, and tics. He had developmental delays and sensory issues though...stuff you would have started suspecting by now. 

 

My daughter didn't really have many delays, considering she was preemie. Oddly, as soon as she became mobile with crawling, around 1 year old, she began banging her head on her pillow to fall asleep. I suspect an environmental or genetic link, since both my kids did this...and I remember my mom telling me I used to move my feet around when I was falling asleep when I was a baby. I remember I tried holding my daughter's head down gently so she would stop, and then she would bang her leg up and down instead. She still bangs her head and she is 7. She also does it in the car when she is tired, against the back of the booster seat. 

 

I got nervous when I read about this "rhythmic movement disorder" on line as well. There are some links to other mental disorders...but that seems to be the case with most "disorders" these days. 

 

The only issue my daughter seems to have is some anxiety and stomach issues. She had really bad separation anxiety as a toddler, and doctor anxiety (probably due to all the extra visits and shots and procedures due to being preemie). She always had a mystery stomach problem which they assumed was due to prematurity and GERD. She stopped spitting up as a toddler, but began again about a year ago...it got so bad this summer I went to three different pediatric GI docs for opinions and she had many tests. How can a 6 year old still be spitting up as much as 50 times a day?? Now she is down to about 5 times a day, which is better, but still not good. She will likely be on meds for life and the side effects are not good. I tried the natural alternatives and that is when there was a sudden spike in spitting. Other than that, she is a very bright, curious, active and loving little girl...she gets straight As and loves stuffed animals and gymnastics....and making those bracelets!

After I posted this, I realized you were talking about stimulating "down there"...I just thought you were talking about rocking back and forth!

 

OK, my son definitely did this. He would do it when falling asleep. He did it very young, with his bottle under him. Later, he would just rock back and forth on the mattress. I never brought attention to it. The only time it was uncomfortable was when he was in public, like at nap time in pre-k....some teachers commented on his rocking. He stopped doing that at around 5 or 6 years old.

 

My daughter has done this from time to time too...not as regularly though. If she is tired, I will catch her rocking back and forth with a pillow. I haven't said anything about it to her, but I may talk to her about it since she is getting older. I will mention that it's ok, but it's something to do in private when she's alone.

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#20 of 22 Old 01-23-2014, 07:14 AM
 
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This is very normal. I noticed my lo doing this every once in a while, though not too often. I have seen other kids do this too. If they are very little, I would say to not worry about it so much and see if it passes. If it continued to when they are a bit older, then as pp said, I would talk to them and tell them it is ok to do, but it is something that we do in private.

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#21 of 22 Old 03-01-2014, 11:09 PM
 
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My daughter did this for a few months. I totally ignored it and she stopped after a while.

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#22 of 22 Old 04-21-2014, 11:20 PM
 
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My LO definitely discovered this in the car seat early on - maybe as early as 6m. I can relate to some of the other posters here. It was definitely shocking and embarrassing at first to hear her entire process, see the little red face, the obvious release, through climax. It was NOT in the baby books, or if it was, I missed that chapter. I felt terrified, like my kid was somehow expressing some kind of extreme deviance due to some horrible parenting mistake I must have made. I thought somehow she had heard her parents having sex! After a while I accepted it as normal development, saw some humor in it, and just tried to appreciate that it is a natural function of her body and thankfully seems to function quite well.

 

I didn't grow up with car seats per se but do remember rubbing on furniture to climax from a preschool age or earlier, totally enjoying the feeling and the power of being able to "create" that, and getting screamed at by my extremely repressed and frigid parents for doing 'dirty' things and damaging the upholstery. As an adult I am probably more repressed than some but not to the point of total dysfunction. 

 

DD is a preschooler now - and "humping" on furniture in our proud family tradition :eyesroll, but only at home (may have been a few attempts at preschool nap time that were discouraged by the teachers) and more and more in private.  I do get the feeling that she feels ashamed -  if I walk in on her she pretends she wasn't masturbating, which I suppose is normal, but I feel like I need to talk to her more about it...that it's normal and okay and nothing to stress over.  In addition to self-exploration/experimentation, it does seem kind of stress related - a self-soothing technique. I believe that is what it was for me as a child.

 

I still worry about it! I worry about how much to talk about it/focus on it... I definitely need to move my negative energy away from the topic. I think overall I should probably talk to a therapist about my own baggage around it. *sigh*

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