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Fighting the free hand when nursing

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  • Fighting the free hand when nursing

    My 18 month old is getting more and more aggressive with his "free" hand when he nurses. He loves twisting and pulling my nipple and also picking at and pulling a mole I have on my side. I really don't like him touching my nipple or my mole and I've been trying to redirect his hand. I have also tried explaining to him when he is in a good mood what I like and don't like and put his hand on other parts of my belly and say "that's nice" or "here is ok but here is not ok".

    However, even in his sleep (we bed share), he is quite forceful and we've been having these really fitful nights (for me, at least) where it feels like I am constantly and quite forcefully pushing his hand away from my nipple and mole (he goes to one, I push his hand away and he moves to the other...repeat repeat repeat!) I don't like treating him that way but I don't know what else to do.

    I'm afraid I'm turing nursing into a frustrating and negative experience for him, when it has been such a wonderful experience for both of us up until now. During the day, when he is awake, I have less problems with him pulling my nipple and mole but at night and most of the time we nurse lying down together, it is quite frustrating for both of us.

    Any advice or tips on this matter?


  • #2
    You're definitely not alone! I wondered why my daughter liked to hold the other side-I realized once how soft my nipples actually feel, and also learned that it stimulates milk production. So, it helped to understand why she was doing it. I really did not like it when I was pregnant, and I just told her I didn't want her to do it because I didn't like the way it felt. And I would gently move her hand.

    I think saying things like "That's nice/good" or "That's not nice/good" can be vague. Instead, I try to say what I want and why. "That doesn't feel good to me. I'd rather hold your hand." or "I don't like it when you touch my mole. Please stop." I think this helps the child understand better, and be better able to work with you to find a resolution you both like. I alsotry to express responsibility for how I feel and don't put some arbitrary judgment (good/bad/nice/etc) on it that my cihild won't understand. My daughter's weaning (still ongoing) has been a great exercise for me in learning these communication techniques I did not have before.