17 answers

Toddler Formerly breastfed...always Grabbing Boobs.....

My son was breastfed until I no longer had any milk left, just after 18 months old. I have an issue now, where everytime he gets upset, or nervous, he wants to stick his hand down my shirt and grab my boobs. I think it may be a comfort thing from all the time we spent together breastfeedng. It is becoming a problem though, he does this in public, or at night when we are laying down for bedtime, he will actually try pinching my nipples, and it hurts bad. I remove his hand, and try to cover my chest to stop him from constantly going in there, but I don't know how I should handle this. Has this happened to anyone after they stopped breastfeeding, and what did you do? It's almost like instead of him having a special blanket to fall asleep with, or comfort him, he wants my boobs. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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My 4 YO still grabs at them, we stopped at 12 months. I just tell her to leave my boobs alone. She recently asked why we have to drink milk from the cow. So I asked where else we could get milk from and she motioned her own breast. I told her that is only for babies. Once you are old enough you have to drink cow milk. I also asked if she remembers that and she said yes.

So perhaps in time he will drop the issue, but maybe not anytime soon.

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How long has your son been weaned? Either way, I would have a talk with him and explain that you no longer have milk for him, and that Mommy's boobies (or whatever you call them) are now Mommy's. It might be too early, but I would talk a bit about how your body parts are yours, and his body parts are his. Make it a game, and point to one of your parts, and ask whose it is, then point to his and ask the same. Can you get him a stuffed animal or blanket during these times to divert his attention to for comfort? Let him know if he wants to be comforted, you will hold him, but he can hold his teddy, or something like that.
I have a friend whose son plays with the skin tags on her neck as a form of comfort. She allows this, so he is over 3 and still doing it, even though it is uncomfortable for her. If you don't want something done, nip it in the bud and be consistent about it. He will learn, it will just take some time.

Good luck,
T.

2 moms found this helpful

My 4 YO still grabs at them, we stopped at 12 months. I just tell her to leave my boobs alone. She recently asked why we have to drink milk from the cow. So I asked where else we could get milk from and she motioned her own breast. I told her that is only for babies. Once you are old enough you have to drink cow milk. I also asked if she remembers that and she said yes.

So perhaps in time he will drop the issue, but maybe not anytime soon.

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I think that's a boy thing.
My son is 5 yrs old and up until prob a year ago I had to keep fishing his hands out of my shirt. He would just do it with out even thinking about it. He'd be talking to me and fidigiting and somehow those little hands would end up down my shirt. I talked and talked and talked about it , spanked hands , etc. I he just grew out of it.
He still has a fascination with my boobs whenever I don't have a shirt on.

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Re-direct, re-direct, re-direct. Just as adults when we are tying to change a behavior, we need a new routine, so does your son. I would really change things up in a very loving way - rocking for bed, reading books or whatever would be different than nursing. Its just understandably too comfortable and familiar to keep the same position but take away nursing because of the relationship that nursing allows with our children. Kudos to you mom!

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I breastfed my daughter until almost 2 and she did the same thing. When she would get upset or just need to be comforted, she would go straight for the boobs. They just get used to that being a comfort zone for them. She eventually stopped, but now she is 3 and is starting to ask questions again. I don't think they ever get over the boobs. :)

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I just explained to my kids often that they should not let anyone, friend or not, touch their private areas. We go over what areas are private. I explain that mom & dad or granny can touch them for cleaning, or to examine them if they have an ouchy & a Dr. too if Mom & dad or granny are in the room too. Otherwise it is rude & innapropriate. I also explain that if people aren't allowed to touch them, it is also rude & innapropriate for them to touch other people's private area. Then when they start to reach, saysomething to the effect of please stop touching my private area. This is a good way to reinforce the lesson of private areas & appropriate touching. My son understood around 2-2.5 yrs old.

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It's normal. He'll outgrow it. I wouldn't allow him to pinch you though. That's not nice behavior. Trust me, you notice it way more than anyone else when you're out in public.

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You need to find something comforting to replace it...start a new routine that will stick in his mind. Rocking? A toy of some kind, or a song to make him feel better?

When he does this, you could remove yourself, deny him attention, so he learns that his grabbing gets him the OPPOSITE of what he wants...

BTW, I have heard that some mom's put band-aids on their nipples and tell weaning children that they have "boo-boos" and are hurt, and that the children leave them alone. It's worth a shot.

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I apologize but I laughed a bit as I read your post, how cute...I breastfed 5 (#6 on the way) and I don't remember having this issue. Maybe I was just to busy to notice but when I weaned my kids I want to say we just moved on to the cup and that's that step away from my boobies...I agree with Sue, it should pass in time but like the other Mom's suggest I would tell him no and move his hands away and give him something else to eat, drink, or play with.
Much Success.

My daughter (now 3) did this to me and - (ha, ha) my husband. We attempted to distract her at some point with the notion that daddy had boobies too (wrong choice)! Rest assured they do grow out of it, and as she understood better, the refrain "no booies please," became a running joke for her and us. The pinching, however, should be more strongly discouraged.

Do not punish him!~It's not his fault it's what he is used to. He'll outgrow it. Don't worry! When my daughter got old enough we talked about and I told her it wasn't appropiate to do that anymore. She got upset at first and then stopped. Good luck!

I am having this exact problem right now. We have gotten to the point where my son will not do it in public, but always when cuddling or going to bed. How did you handle this? He is so persistant that he will not stop trying until I give in.

Hi B.! My daughters both did it. It is a soothing thing. They never pinched my nipples but when they needed soothing they went for my boobs. As suggested before redirect and distract with something soothing. I got my girls special blankets that they would cuddle up with to my chest and then they got the idea and started using them. Don't punish him for trying to show you that he needs soothing just redirect. He is only 18 months and doesn't understand what he is doing is wrong, since all this time you have been giving it to him. His pinching is a way to try and get your milk out. They are little and don't know how to communicate to you what they want. Ask him if he is tired...grab his substitute comfort and make a big deal of how it feels so good to lie with the comfort thing. The one thing I have learned with my kids and being around kids at school you have to teach them how to communicate, don't assume they know how to say what they are feeling. It makes a better environment when we remember that. Good luck to you.

that happens to me w/ my 4.5 yr old boy.
i get so darn irritated bcuz it is as tho he is obsessed. i have to admit, it feels violating.. .. .i tell him to stop,and that he can take a rest w/ his head on me, but must not grab me bcuz it feels wrong, as if he is taking away my privacy. it is so hard to not get infuriated bcuz. . . .well, it is private. but, he breastfed for 2.5 yrs. i know he would've kept it up longer too. he will occasionally grab his parents privates, and is really focused on potty talk and all the poop and butt thing now . i feel like i am violated, and i bring him to his room if he won't stop. sometimes i am furious, bcuz he does not listen and keeps on fighting me. it's as if i feel if i don't teach him now, what if he did this in the future to someone else? it is worrying and hard to conquer this one!

This is normal behavior for a child being weaned. It may seem awkward to you because it may feel like he wants your boobs. Not so, he wants his milk and all he knew is that it was in your boobs (the source).

A few suggestions may help. There should be some conversation with your child letting him know that mommy is no longer breastfeeding.You can offer the child a special drinking cup that can be used in place its every time he wants to nurse. Be consistent and firm, but polite. You are setting a stage for your parenting style.

Watch the times when he does this and try to offer him milk, juice or his liquid of choice and maybe a snack ahead of time..

He needs to know that he can no longer go in your clothing or pinch you. Distract him by comforting him with rubbing of his back, or offering him a blanket, a toy or even a good story while he sits on your lap with his new cup. Draw the attention away from the nursing. Hope this helps.

Mom who has been there.

i don't know how old he is... But why not try to put him in out time or sit him down and tell him he can't do this if it keeps up your gonna punish him buy going in the corner. Thats the only thing i can think of

You need to treat this as you would any other inappropriate behavior from your son. Tell him no and give him a warning. If he does it again then give him discipline.

You're right about him using your breasts to soothe himself, but that of course has to end, just like pacifiers or thumb sucking. Maybe he'd like a special stuffed animal or blanket. Build it up as an adventure and go pick one out together.

Best wishes!

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