11-month-old pinching and grabbing--please help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-06-2012, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm hoping for some help with this, or at least some stories of people who have been there and their baby turned out okay.  


My son will be 11 months old tomorrow.  At around 8 months, he started pinching my chest, hard, while he was nursing.  I tried saying "ouch" but he laughed.  I tried holding his hand, but he would get agitated and pull it away.  I tried taking his hand away and saying "no, no pinching, pinching hurts mama", I tried taking him off the boob and putting him down on the floor. Every time he does it, I show him how to be gentle instead. Nothing specific seemed to work, but eventually, it stopped for a little while and then started up again about a month ago.  


Now, the pinching has escalated to full on grabbing, and instead of my chest he is grabbing my face.  No matter how short I keep his fingernails, it is still painful, and I am left with gouges on my face, one of which actually got infected.  It hurts, it's awful, and I am so frustrated.  He seems to do it more when he is tired or frustrated.  If I take something away from him or pick him up to move him away from something he can't have, he will grab my face, hard.  


I have tried all of the previous things, and also tried doing a brief one minute "time out" in the crib, and it just seems to be getting worse.  Today, he woke up too early and barely napped so is especially tired and he has been doing it ALL DAY.  I'm so frustrated I finally ended up yelling at him today, which I hate.  And it didn't work anyway...he just grabbed my face in response before I had a chance to sit him down on the floor.   


I think it would help if I ignored it, but I can't ignore it, because he is physically hurting me.  


Any ideas or suggestions? We have had a miserable day today because of this.  I'm totally fed up. 



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#2 of 6 Old 06-07-2012, 10:03 AM
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I have scabs all over my cheek and chin today from being pinched lately.  It's kind of embarassing.


I just keep telling her "No pinching!" in a very, very stern voice.  The downside is, she pinches the most when she's falling asleep, and the stern voice wakes her up.

So I hold her hands, as well. 


Worst case scenario, I stick mittens on her.  She HATES the mittens, so they are punishment to her, so I hold out as long as I can, but about once a week or so, I was resorting to them to keep my sanity and skin in tact.


I have been giving her the "No pinching!" bit for several months now, and she's finally responding, I think?  She will stop when I say it now.  For a few minutes.


Hang in, Mama.



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#3 of 6 Old 06-07-2012, 03:11 PM
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I'm so sorry! I hate when nursing isn't going well. Sometimes it's the only time we mamas get to sit and relax and cuddle with our LOs, so it's no good when they fight back :(


Do you think he's doing it because he's fidgety? If so, can you give him something else to fidget with? A nursing necklace or stuffed animal? My DS doesn't care for nursing necklaces and didn't like the first few stuffed animals I tried, but eventually I found a really soft stuffed monkey that he loves to stroke while we nurse. I think he likes that it has really long legs and arms for him to pet.


Do you think he might be doing it because he's frustrated that the milk isn't coming as fast as he would like? I've known this to happen to a few friends of mine who use bottles (when they are at work) and the baby gets used to a faster reward and gets impatient with how long let down takes. In this case, they tried using a slow flow/newborn nipple and also sometimes stimulating their nipples until letdown happens before latching the baby.


Lastly, I would just say that at this age, it won't hurt them to not nurse for a while, you know? It's perfectly ok to unlatch, say "that hurts Mama" and set him down for a few minutes. He might cry and get upset, but then you can take him back in 3-5 min and try again. I know that this has worked for some of my friends when they had babies biting their nipples. It will also help you to cool down and not get so frustrated. I now how much I hate when I get into the cycle of getting frustrated at DS- snapping at him- then beating myself up over how I reacted. It is usually a sign that I need to have a little more self-care.


Good luck mama!

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#4 of 6 Old 06-09-2012, 06:41 PM
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I second Cat13's recommendations. My DD used to slap while nursing and I used those two approaches. If I was trying to nurse her to sleep then I would give her a soft toy to play with and that would usually keep her hands busy. If it wasn't nap or bedtime then she would. Horse sitting on my lap facing me so she could look around better and she was better behaved. If the slapping happened in this position or if the toy didn't help then I would take her off and put her on the ground for a minute and try again. I would use a sad/hurt voice to explain that slapping hurt mommy and we can't nurse if mommy is hurt. I dealt the same with biting. It did pass in a few weeks but I had to be vigilant and not let her get away with it. Hang in there. I know how frustrating it can be. Sometimes extra downtime helped or an earlier bedtime took the edge off.
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#5 of 6 Old 06-29-2012, 08:17 PM
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I am not nursing however I am a foster mom and we get many suggestions about things to try for behaviours and most recently I have had a child doing this.  A worker suggested socks on babes hands and I used the mid length ones thinking he will just pull them off but its surprising how well its working - may want to give it a try until the behaviour calms down.  Consistency in diversion works also by giving them a toy or blanket or something.  All the best moms:)

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#6 of 6 Old 07-17-2012, 02:12 PM
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Sounds totally normal.  It goes away after awhile, especially if you keep discouraging it.

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