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15.5 month old DS won't leave other nipple alone!!!!

1819 Views 24 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  dynamohumm6
Hi Mommas

I know this is pretty typical and until recently I could just cover up my other breast and ds wouldn't push to get to it. Now he does....He does not want to nurse unless he has his other hand and his little fingers pinching and pulling the other nipple. It is physically uncomfortable and no matter what I do he is persistant and has now started to get really upset. I can't take it, he is really rough and it is uncomfortable.

Any suggestions?
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This only works if you're nursing lying down, but maybe if you do it enough, it might help. When DS is getting too touchy-feely with the other breast, I nurse him side-lying from the top breast, so that the bottom breast is kind of facing into the mattress and is inaccessible for twiddling. I guess I'm lucky, because once he gets a let-down, he becomes much more gentle with the other breast. So I nurse him from the top breast first, to get the let-down without being mauled in the process, and then when I nurse him from the bottom breast afterward, he's not so grabby.
i used to just keep a hand clamped over the boob not in use. she was mad about it for a while but i stuck to my guns and now she leaves it alone as long as it's covered. if both nipples are out she still goes for it and dd is 2.
I went through this with my dd (now 5 and no longer nursing). I would pull her hand away and put it on my chin, tummy, or somewhere else OK. If she kept it up I'd unlatch her. It took several days of a very unhappy toddler but after a while she got it and after a week or so the problem was 95% better.

I haven't had this problem with ds (now 2) but he has a much different nursing style than dd did.

Good luck!!!
ds is a major twiddler (14 mos). I have been teaching him "pat, pat" the breast in place of twiddling. He is getting better and it is saving my sanity. He was also very forceful about twiddling. I could cover my other nip as hard as I could but his little strong hands would force their way in.
Ds is a pincher puller and twiddler too. I have to either hold my hand over the other one or just constantly move his hand. I tell him he has to be nice to the "bo-bo's" and he will usually move his hand then too. But, it is never a permant thing, his little fingers go right back there.
Thanks for all of the feedback. It has been a battle of wills but just sticking to my guns and unfortunatley letting him get a bit upset because I am covering the other nipple....but there is some progress. I am going to always have to cover it I know, but this morning he didn't get upset, he just tried to move my hand, couldn't and just stopped trying.

This only works if you're nursing lying down, but maybe if you do it enough, it might help. When DS is getting too touchy-feely with the other breast, I nurse him side-lying from the top breast, so that the bottom breast is kind of facing into the mattress and is inaccessible for twiddling.
my little man can work his way in to twiddle while I am nursing him lying down....he is determined!!!
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would a nursing necklace work to keep his hand occupied?
My DS (18 mos) is a pincher too, so I've taken to giving him his favorite little kitty doll to hold while he nurses if he starts to get too pinch-y...usually works. If I can find the doll that is.
Ds is a twiddler too, and most of the time I just can't stand it. I tell him that I don't like it when he twiddles my nipples, it doesn't feel good. Then I gently move his hands, and play with his hand with my hand, and let him twiddle my fingers or whatever.
I think the necklace is a good idea! Or try a softy- I think its important to give them a replacement to twiddle.

Its been a while, and he still wants to twiddle, but its not that often, and he's ok with stopping now. (Although I used to let him twiddle if stopping really upset him)
A nursing necklace is a necklace for the mother to wear that is specifically designed to catch babies eye and occupy their hands while nursing. They are made with very strong cord so they can't break and they usually have a break-away clasp so that they are not a danger to small children. If you do a search both here on MDC and on google you'll find lots of photos of them and places where you can buy them. I'm sure many of the crafty mamas here sell them.
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My 18 month old has the WORST nursing manners which include grabbing at the other breast. I tried for the longest time to just cover it with my hand and hope she'd stop trying but so far that isn't working. So I've taken a more radical approach. If she grabs at the other breast, we stop nursing. We try again in a few minutes and if she starts grabbing again we stop again and that's it for a few hours. This is what I did when she went through her biting phase and it only took 24 hours for her to catch on with the biting but its taking longer with the grabbing, probably because she's older and isn't as reliant on the BM as a source of nutrition as she was when she was younger. Some may think this way is extreme but after 18 months of nursing I think I have the right to demand that my body be respected. Since the nursing manners have gotten worse I've found myself hating nursing and I think in order to salvage our nursing relationship and continue (which I do want to do) I have to get this under control. I shouldn't feel abused and molested by the end of the day, KWIM?

Hugs mama. Good Luck.
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My 11 month old DD likes to pinch the areola of the breast that she's nursing from. She pinches a teeny teeny bit of skin between her thumb and her index fingernail. If I let her nails get any white growth at all, this is very irritating and painful. Needless to say, our fingernail clippers have been seeing a lot of use. I'm trying to pull her hand away whenever she does this, but if I'm having a hard time getting her to go to sleep AND her fingernails are clipped, I sometimes don't, because I value my time and pulling her hand away when she's just drifting off to sleep can delay things even further.

Any suggestions?

Also, I'm curious about why all these babies are so fond of nipple twiddling. Anyone have a theory? I can see that nipples possess many interesting properties to a baby, but why are so many of them so amazingly focused on nipple twiddling? And at what age does opposite nipple twiddling usually start? My opposite breast is always covered by my bra, but I'm dreading the day when she decides to try to get in there, as I have a sinking feeling that she's going to be very fond of that pasttime.
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Tried the nursing necklace---no go, if I could get him interested he would just jerk it until it came off...he really wants the other breast. I have been keeping my hand over it and after a couple of minutes he stops trying to get at it - but I can't move my hand or he is on it!
Now that he is a "toddler" he is very grabby and I have to set some limits - like when I am in the middle of paying for something at a store, for example, and he begins pulling my shirt down, putting his hand in my shirt, etc...then getting upset if he doesn't get the breast at that immediate moment. How do all of you handle that? I tell him that he has to wait a minute until Mommy finishes what she is doing, he is usually fine with that. I would never do that if I thought he was very very thirsty or hungry, kwim? And I will nurse him in public, but sometimes at the moment that he wants it I just can't do it because I am in the middle of something. Is it ok at almost 16 months to ask him to wait a minute? I have always nursed on demand so it seems weird now telling him he has to wait a minute. He is big and is is impossible to nurse him in a sling on any other kind of carrier - he is just too long...I've tried.

Also, I'm curious about why all these babies are so fond of nipple twiddling. Anyone have a theory?
I read or heard somewhere before ds was born that it was to stimulate the other breast so it is more prepared....seems logical but all I have to do is think of ds so it could be totally an old wives tale....
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My theories:

1. Nipple stimulation increases milk flow, resulting in easier and more satisfying nursing.
2. Nipple stimulation helps prevent ovulation and is therefore an (instinctual) optimization strategy for a nursling. Wider spacing in between sibs=more resources for each one.
3. The texture and density of the nipple is strongly associated with comfort for your babe. It's a point of profound connection with you. It feels so wonderful to have one in the mouth, and even better to be connected to both at once. In other words, "it just feels good".
4. Who knows? But since babies have a strong urge to do it, I suspect twiddling plays a role in myriad developmental processes--both those we understand and those we don't. That's how evolution tends to work.

Altogether, I think that babes have a strong instinctual drive to twiddle. I let ds twiddle at will and use it as an opportunity to work on gentle touch--although at 16 months he has learned to be quite gentle most of the time so we don't focus on it much any more. It just seems like an intrinsic part of the bf relationship to me. I would be loathe to deny him something that seems like a fundamental comfort, especially since I don't fully understand why he does it. For all we know, it plays a role in brain development or some other crucial process.

I know that many mamas find twiddling physically uncomfortable (at least until their dc learns to do it gently). In the conversations I've had about it, though, I often sense psychological discomfort with twiddling. This seems congruent with our cultural baggage around nursing to me. In a society that completely sexualizes the breast it's a lot of hard work to deprogram yourself enough to feel comfortable with the sensations of nursing. I think twiddling feels "wrong" and uncomfortable to a lot of women because of this baggage. We get from our earliest decision to nurse to get comfy with the process--months or years before it's actually part of our lives. Most of us don't see or hear about twiddling until it happens to us, and if we've never thought about getting used to fingers stroking and pincing our nipples as part of the bfing relationship--well, it's a pretty big hurdle. Obviously I think it's worth attending to and working through that discomfort rather than aceding to it... but that's a personal decision for each mama.
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Forgot to add...

5. I've noticed that ds will twiddle a bit, then explore/rub his face so that he end up transmitting small amounts of bm to his eyes, ears, and nose... we know that bm is wonderful for curing infections in these places. I suspect that the twiddle cycle helps prevent infections, as well.
Sounds like he is super determined. I would suggest just being very pro-active about telling he can't twiddle the other nipple and offering him something he can "twiddle" if thats doesnt help I would just remove him from the breast each time he does it. Eventually he will get the clue.

Good luck.
This might seem kind of gross, but...I have a sticky-outy mole on my rib cage, and my 3-year-old nurser will NOT STOP pinching it. I had another one, same story, and just got it removed. I am going to have to do the same with this one because it makes me totally insane (and it hurts!). Nothing I say or do will stop him--I've put tape over it, he pulls it off. I put my hand over it, he shoves it away or actually bends my fingers back to make me move. He says he won't pinch or pick at it but then he does. It is ruining whatever nursing time we have left so I guess I'd better make that appt. soon. He does the same thing if he's cuddling with a pacifer too. It's like he can't relax without it--I always know when he's about to fall asleep because he starts pinching really hard.

I always kept my other nipple covered because no way was I going to let him grab it--I really dislike being pawed at like that. Sometimes nursing a toddler is like being on a date in high school, you know? Of course there is psychological discomfort! You don't have to love every single thing your child does, and I don't think there's anything wrong with not enjoying having your nipples painfully yanked at.

Incidentally--my son sleeps at his dad's house 2 nights a week, and he also pinches his DAD's nipple when he is being cuddled to sleep! (He reaches under both our shirts) So moms don't have to be the only ones who have to cope with this...
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This is so interesting to me. DS is only 6 months old now, but he is already grabbing the other breast. I had no idea that this was a phenomenon, I just htought it was him!! He obviously doesn't even have a pincer grip yet, so thankfully he is not pinching the nipple yet. Someone above wanted to know when twiddling starts, but I would say here it basically already has. Actually he has been doing this for A WHILE. Mostly in the morning when we are in bed side lying. He rubs the other breast obsessively. Now his actions are more direct, and I know he is actually trying to get at the nipple itself. At first it really annoyed me (physically), now I try to keep myself covered. He is persistent though! I wear a sleep bra, and he tries to push the fabric aside. So I started wearing a nursing pad just to keep the sensation down with his hand rubbing over it, but the sound of the crunchy pad bothered me. So then I started tucking my sheet and covers over the breast, but the little stinker pushes it out of the way! I have a feeling I am REALLY in for it as he gets older! I already have a nursing neclace, but he is not interested in it yet! Wish me luck!
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