55 answers

Touchy Feely Son

Ok my son is 3 and he loves skin. He likes things that feel really soft and smooth. I nursed him for a year so i think that is why he loves skin. When we are singning at church he will try and lift my shirt to feel my stomach, and he loves when my legs are freshly shaven. I don't know what to do. I mean he loves my high thread count sheets so maybe he just loves soft things? But my inlaws think he is weird. Just wondering if anyone has had a child do this? I mean I am a stay at home mom so it is not like he is away from me. I sell Home Interiors so I am only gone about 2 nights a week and I am still home in time to put him to bed. I just hope I haven't done something wrong with him.

What can I do next?

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My son is similar. He loves to lift my shirt to feel my belly and give it kisses. He is very touchy feely- has been since day one. I think it is a personality thing, like being shy. You may have to teach him about personal space as he gets older (my good friend is going through that with her 5 year old boy). I think it is a good sign... a sensitive loving little boy!!

Children learn so very much through touch and I believe this to be very normal. He is not weird - he is learning. You are a wonderful mother and I believe the less anyone makes of this, the better off everyone will be.

I have known many kids that love silky things like edges of blankets & hose. It's just what makes him feel good. Don't worry about it.

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Hi M.,
My son is also three and he does the same thing. I think it is just a comfort habit and I wouldn't worry about it. If I am in the bathroom or bedroom getting dressed he will come up and rub his little palms on my legs. I noticed that he will run his hands along the surface of his blankets at night as he is falling asleep. When he is watching TV he will gather up his blankie in his hand and rub his other hand back and forth on top of the fabric. My oldest daughter (6) rubs her blanket on her cheek when she is tired. My middle child (4) rubs her blankets on her lips as she is falling asleep. I think we all develop different ways of calming and relaxing ourselves and your son is probably just doing the same. Look at it this way, some people develop comfort habits such as sucking their fingers, eating or pulling on their hair, biting their nails, or excessively licking their lips. These habits are much more detrimental than a little skin rubbing every now and then. As far as your in laws thinking he is weird, tell them to mind their own business. Have a great weekend!

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Don't worry! You are a great and loving mommy! I'm sure you are already gently guiding him to only touch appropriately! My son (3 1/2) rubs my face during books, when he is falling asleep, etc. I think a gentle approach is best. Someone suggested "tapping his fingers". I think we too frequently discourage our boys..."don't touch", "don't cry", "don't show emotion"! I think I will choose to keep hugging, kissing, rubbing his back and face! Before long, we'll have to hold them down to do those things! :) Keep doing what you're doing! He is a sweet and sensitive boy! The world needs more of those!! :)

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Hi M.! I want to say that I have a son who is 4 and he is the same way. He always has to be touching my husband or I....we always joke that when he gets married he better marry someone that likes and appreciates being cuddled!:) I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to touch...however, I think I would let your son know that some touching is simply inappropriate (lifting your shirt in church)... but, just make sure that when you correct him on something like that, that you show him what is acceptable.. .maybe try holding hands during church(or even a soft blanket he can touch and hold during church). Something to let him know that he can still touch you and get that comfort that he needs, so he knows that he is loved.

I by no means think that you did something wrong with your son...if anything you have shown him how to love on someone and I think touch is very important. In fact you could probably pick up the book about the Five Love Languages in a Family. I'm not sure the exact title but there is a book for couples and then one for the whole family. It may help you understand what he is going through and why touching is so normal and needed in his every day life.

I hope this helps!

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Tell your inlaws to get over it. It's typical for breast-fed kids. Have friends and 2 of my own three were/are the same way. It's a comfort thing and it's wonderful that they are so comfortable with it and loving. My daughter stopped around 3.5. My 17 mo loves skin. It can get annoying, but I'd rather have this than the autistic patterns that prevent the child from touching you or wanting to be touched. Enjoy it - won't last forever! :)

i babysit a little one who loves the same thing skin and also chunky areas at first i didnt know what to think but now im pretty sure its nothing to worry about really if you think about it who dosent like soft touchable skin hes also very loveing and i believe it a way of him showing and feeling affection

Hi M.
your son being touchy feely might be that he is used to you
or it might be a phase just tell him he can't be raising
mommy's top. like you said he just likes soft things like
sheets does he like other things like maybe cats fur or a
stuffed toy maybe get him a soft made blanket try this &

I can relate as I have a 14 month old girl who I also nursed for a year. She has been weaned for 2 months now and is very cuddly as well. She often lifts my shirt as well and either rubs my stomach or puts her mouth on it. I have 2 older sons (5 years & 3 years)who I did not nurse as long (8months & 10 months of nursing)and they are not touchy feely. I am a SAHM as well. I do work every other weekend away from home. I don't think you have done something wrong. I think you have established a very strong bond with your son! I do try to discourage my daughter by saying no as I would not want her to do it in public, but she is just a baby still. I am not sure what to do about a 3 year old. Good luck!

Children learn so very much through touch and I believe this to be very normal. He is not weird - he is learning. You are a wonderful mother and I believe the less anyone makes of this, the better off everyone will be.

Ok mom, time for tough love. Tuck your shirts in and intentionally forget to shave your legs - tell him no!! He'll grow out of this - it's part of his discovery stage. Buy him soft things to experiment with and gently tap his fingers and firmly tell him "no" when he makes you feel uncomfortable.

I think it does have something to do with nursing. I nursed my 20 month old daughter until she was 14 months old, and she is constantly lifting my shirt to touch and feel my stomach (or my back if she can't get to my stomach). She does it anywhere, and it's so embarassing, since my stomach still isn't as toned as it used to be!!! I still rock her a little at night before bed, and that is her favorite time to snuggle up to my stomach.

I don't think we have done anything wrong, I just think subconsciously, they miss the skin to skin contact they used to get while nursing. How I am going to stop her from doing it is another issue...

Hi M.!
It doesn't sound so bad for your boy. I think he just really loves you. Forget the inlaws. Children learn from the five senses- TOUCH, taste, smell, hear, see.
Give him sensory items for olfactory (smell), new foods, new music, etc.
Your son is learning, and it is perfectly fine.
Maybe tuck your shirt in at church, LOL.
Best of Luck and God Bless,
R. Anastasia

I also have a three year old who's the same way with anything that's soft from skin to hair to his huge comforter that he can't live without because it's so soft. He loves soft things and likes to rub things between his fingers because of the way they feel and yes some people think it's kind of weird. I'm thinking it's a security thing. I"m sure he'll grow out of it, I'm not too worried about it.

Your son is not weird because of his enjoyment to touch soft things. It is common for a child to carry a blanket to feel the satin edge, for example. (Linus, not Charlie Brown) Decide on a comfort toy that is acceptable to you. My preference is a 9' inch Pooh Bear with a satin ribbon that can be tied in a bow. The ribbon can be changed when it is soiled. Sew three samll stitches on top of each other to hold the ribbon in place. Snip the threads and toss it in the wash.

When your son touches you in a bothersome way, firmly push his hands away and say no as you pull him in for an appropriate hug, song or story. He will prefer your smile and attention to the comfort of the softness.

Provide numerous tactile activities for your son, both artisitic and practical: Playdough and real dough to roll and shape. Using glue sticks with ribbons, paper, yarn, cotton, lace, beads and construction paper. Allow him to assist with stuffing deviled eggs. Pressing pizza dough into the pan, and then using scissors to cut green beans on top of his pizza. Feeling the cheese, lettuce and mayo as he makes a sandwich. In time he will enjoy using tools (the spoon) more than using his fingers. Musical instruments to play alone and others to play while supervised may be his passion. Balls of differing textures and plenty of room to manipulate (throw) them. Sandbox and gadgets. Water wheels, sponges, brushes and cups in the tub. He needs a variety of things to explore with his hands. Store-bought platic toys piling up around him may be annoying him. Just encourage him to touch and be messy as God has made your son to be skilled with his hands. It is a gift. Encourage it. The Bible says to study your child, detect his bent, and train him in it. Art, music,sports, cooking, crafts and science methods may be the areas you may need to provide for exploration throughout his training.

HI M..
Your son is not weird at all my little boy does that too. I also nursed him for a year and I agree that touchy our skin makes them feel extra close to us again. My son loves to lift up my shirt and lay his head my tummy. He also loves my bare legs and liks to hold on to them tight with his head between my knees and lower thighs. I do not think this is weird I think it is their of remebering the closeness of nursing and the skin to skin contact that that provided. They will grow out of it so dont worry.

I have known many kids that love silky things like edges of blankets & hose. It's just what makes him feel good. Don't worry about it.

Good news. My son did the same thing about your son's age. My family and I were actually at a video store once, and there was a stand-up cut-out poster of an actress with a very short skirt on, and I heard some people laughing, so I turned around and saw my baby boy rubbing his hand up and down the cut-out's leg! There is absolutely nothing 'weird' about your son. My son grew out of it and so will yours. My husband and I never yelled at him to stop or put him down when he did things, like rub my legs when I was in a dress. I did ask him to stop, firmly but lovingly, and eventually he did. He is twelve years old now, and he is the sweetest kid! He is very in-tuned to me more than his dad, and very soft hearted when it comes to Mommy, which means when he does something that angers me, I have to be careful how and what I say to him or he gets so upset he can get sick at his stomach. I think he considers me his best friend, and I also breast fed him, so maybe there is some sort of natural bond there, but he likes girls, pals around with boys, loves video games, and is healthy as a horse, physically and mentally. Your boy will be fine, and if anyone ever states that he is weird again, look them straight in the eye and say "Aren't we all a little weird?".

Well I don't think there is a thing wrong with your son. He might like a pet rock something slick to play with. Iam a grandmother and I have always liked to feel the smoothness of my nails. To rub the nail with another finger. I play with my hair I love the feel of the slick smooth clean hair and i also like to rub a finger against the cut ends of the hair. There is something soothing about it I couldn't tell you why but it just feels good.
I would put a stop to letting him rub your stomach and your legs,he is to old for that. Just find a substute for him to feel.

You haven't done anything wrong. He is a tactile learner. Our first son was 3 months old when he started running his hand over my nylon nightie. Give your boy a variety of 'touchy feely' toys and let him enjoy them. Soon enough, he'll discover dirt and all the ways to change its texture. You might also try baking bread & letting him help knead and shape the dough. Our boys loved it and are great cooks.


I wouldn't worry. Out of my 4 kids, 2 of them were/are like this. My 3-year old likes the feel of my hair and my skin. Sometimes in church (made me laugh that you experience this too) and other inappropriate places, he will stick his hand down my shirt. He likes the silk tags on baby blankets and other soft things. My oldest was the same (he's now 15) and he outgrew it. I think some kids are just sensitive to touch.

My eldest daughter (nearly 3) has always found things to touch. She would rub her hands on me, the bed sheets, the walls, any fabric within reach, etc. She has grown out of it a bit and doesn't put her hands down my shirt to touch my skin anymore. I found it quite embarassing when done in public. She seemed to be very aware of how things felt and wanted to discover them all and Mommy was patient. I don't have any solution as what to do, but I wanted to let you know that it isn't uncommon. Maybe you can find him a bit of fabric that has a texture he likes to bring with him in situations you don't want to be 'exposed' in?

my 2 1/2 year old son is the same way. He also Pulls up my shirt to feel my stomache, and has to constantly touch my face. He Only wants to wear realy "softy" clothes which means that generally speaking he is in pajamas 24 seven. He also was breastfed and don't worry i don't think you did anything wrong to your son. He is not weird. Who doesn't like to feel soft things!!!!!! My husband laughs at me cuz' everytime i see something that "looks" softy (that's what we call it LOL) i just can't resist going over and touching it (. Trust me.... he won't be like 13 and still wanting to touch your stomache. He is fine!!! I have an 11 year old who was the same way when he was and infant/toddler. He has grown out of it. I do think it is part of the bond you have with a breastfed baby though cuz' they are always up against your skin. But.... don't worry he's only 3. He's still a baby! Hope this helps.

I have always loved soft things--I am always on the hunt to find the softest sheets and clothing I can find. I hate scratchy tags or rough fabrics--very picky about clothing. My second grand daughter is the same way and she has a "silkie" that she carried around until too old and now she holds it only at bedtime. I am not autistic or have any sensory problems--quite the opposite--I am an acupressurist and massage therapist and my sensitivity is helpful in being a good therapist--my clients always comment on how I can always find the places that hurt. Have your son massage your feet or back/neck for you--he may not have the strength to give good pressure but he will some day and it is a more socially acceptable way to tough eachother. And don't let anyone call your son "weird"! That is just not acceptable. Even if they don't say it where he can hear it --he will notice how they are around him. Oh, also I have a sister who is the same way and she is an excellent seamstress--has made custom dresses with silk!

please please please dont be so hard on yourself. my daughter has sensory problems and loves the feel of different things to she will just stand there sometimes for hours feeling that certain thing. alot of kids will out grow it. the doctors described it to me like this. its kind of like when your foot or hand falls asleep and you feel like pins and needles in your hand that is how it feels for my daughter all the time. her sensory is immiture. i would recommend getting a silky blanket or something he can rub and feel so he doesnt have to rub ur skin. just like a baby craves putting stuff in there mouth to stimulate there sensory in there mouth when your sensory is immiture in your hands children will crave touching things that stimmulate or feels good on there hands.
i would bring this up to the doctor to see if they agree but that is what it sounds like to me. i sure hope this helps and please dont blame yourself!!! the full name of this is called sensory intergration disfunction. you can look it up online or even read the book called my out of sync child and it fills you in about it as well.

i just wanted to add a quick little note after what some others have wrote that just because your son may have sensory integration disfunction does not mean he has autism. so please dont panic!!!!


I don't think you've done anything wrong. One idea...get him a silky blanket to snuggle. My son, also a snuggly - touchy little soul, loves his "silky". You can usually find them in different sizes - a small one would be great for those outings where he's looking for a little soft comfort. On a side note, I nursed my son until he was 11 months old. To this day if he is feeling insecure or shy, he will try to get a hand into my shirt to be close to my skin. It's just a comfort thing - no big deal! You are just one big security blanket...so plan a shopping trip with your son for an extra special silky blanket to snuggle - and let him pick it out!

Hi, I don't know if you have ever heard of Sensory Integration Disorder, but it sounds alot like that. My little boy who is almost 5, has SID. You can look it up online and you will be able to learn all about it.
Basically, your son is lacking sensory stimulation and by feeling the soft things he is fullfilling that. I'm not sure if this is the case but it sounds a lot like it. Read up on it on the internet and let me know what you think.


I have to disagree with the person who thought that autistic people dont like to touch people, this is a huge misconception about autsim and quite the opposite can be true for many children and adults with ASD. Autistics have abnormal tactile and sensory needs and responses; they can and often do seek out certain sensory experiences over and over again to a degree that makes parents wonder. It is often one of the first red flags a parent sees.

When I read what you have written about your son, I wonder if he is needing some sensory input that is not within a typical range for a three year old, but the expereince of the other long nursing Moms is pretty strong.

Just in case, I would suggest that if you see anything else that makes you question his development, have him evaluated by a developmentalist and tell them about his early sensory seeking behavior. Look out for speech, play patterns, response to discipline, etc that make you wonder, and don't take a "wait and see" approach if you find yourself asking "is this typical?" again about something else.

If you miss something, it is time you will never get back, and if you have an evaluation that isn't needed, you will never have to wonder again...

M. (a Mom who a long time ago asked "is this normal?" and GLAD I did)

Tell your in-laws THEY are the weird ones lol. My daughter will be 2 next week. I wasn't able to breastfeed her, but she is very touchy feely. She likes to touch and play with my hair, as well as her own. She also loves to touch my face. As others mentioned, it is normal...all about them discovering different things.

My friends Daughter was like that but eventually out grew it.
She just had to touch everything.
You could start by telling him when it isn't appropriate to touch things.I think he is old enough to understand.Be gentle and loving. I think maybe he is learning about textures so maybe try teaching him more about other textures than soft.

Have you had your son checked for autism? Some autistic children respond and need constant tactile stimulation. Is he out-going or kind of shy? Is he afraid of loud noises or have problems concentrating if there is to much noise or activity in the room. These are some signs of autism and autism is a spectrum disorder. Symptoms could be very pronounced or very mild. Good luck.

He is not weird! He is 3! I used to be a nanny(*before I had my own lol*) and I took care of a 3yr old boy, who ad also been nursed, he to loved soft things and skin. I was with him so much and so used to holding him all the time. Once when I was walking into the mall with him and his sister were walking into the mall , I couldn't figure out while people were staring at us, and he had his had partly down the front of my shirt! To sleep at night he and his sister slept with silky pieces of clothing of their mothers. Your son uses those things to calm himself they are like security objects. My son is only 4 months old, but I have bought a little washrag shaped silky, called babylove, from http://swaddledesigns.com/products.html
also I have some things from http://www.taggies.com/home_us.html
you can also get taggies products at Babies r us, the little tabs on them are silky and soft and kids as well as babies love to rub them.
Your boy is not "weird" !

Mary, don't worry about the inlaws, they probably think it is strange because they weren't given as much affection in their childhood so it may seem weird to them. My boys who are now both teens both did simular things. My first son, always had to touch my face, I was almost always with him, and I think it is just his way of feeling safe and secure. He outgrew it rather quickly. My second son, on the other hand he was more like what you said about liking soft tectures. He always wanted to rub my hose on Sundays when I wore them to church, and at times it was embarassing for me at the grocery when he would try to rub my skin, but when they are babies and are cuddled a lot, the feel of moms skin just continues to be a comfort feeling. He eventually learned that it wasn't appropriate to feel my pantyhose or try to put his hand down my shirt while I was holding him in line. He started instead sleeping with one of mommy's t shirts, and I assure you that he will grow out of it and as he gets older, just keep teaching him what is appropriate and what is maybe better to do, like rubbing your cheek or hands. Maybe get him a special personal gift of yours like a stuffed animal, one of your favorite pillow cases or something that he can associate with his mommy and the softness that he likes so well. Keep giving him hugs and assurance, pretty soon, he will be all grown up, and it will be you missing all the soft touches. Just enjoy your baby, and know that he feels loved and comforted. They grow up so fast. I also think it is very important to teach children from preschool what good touch and bad touch is for Their benifit, knowledge is power and they have books at the library for small children and parents to read together for their age groups. I hope this helps. I wish more mothers would hug their kids. All kids need positive affection.

I can't say for sure but your son might have a bit of a tactile sensory issue----nothing to panic about. Sensory Integration dysfunction is a term used for people of all ages that have certain issues with one or more senses. Go to Ask.com and type in dysfunction of sensory integration and se where that leads you. This may or may not help. Also a good book to read about this whole thing is called "Out of Sync Child". This no way a curse on your son that he has a problem. My son was a NICU baby and he has some sensory issues and is a fine 7th grader. I hope this helps and don't worry there is nothing wrong withyour son. He is a great kid because God gave him to you!

Your son is most defiantly NOT weird. I have a 5yr old that still loves to rub my arm until she falls a sleep. All three of my children always loved for me to hold them when I only had a towel or bra on, when they were really little of course. They love the feeling of skin against skin. I strongly believe there is nothing wrong with this. It is not like he wants to touch you in an inappropiate way. I would not worry about this and I know he will grow out of this. I think when he wants to touch your stomach or legs, it is probably his way of feeling secure like when you nursed him. Good Luck!

That is perfectly normal. I wouldn't make a big deal of it and eventually he will stop. It is not weird at all. I know lots of little ones that like soft things and it seems like boys inparticular like skin.

awww, he sounds lovely! i don't think it's weird, you probably stroke his skin lovingly and that's how he learned how to show you love. in church, suggest to him "mommy's arms like your touches too, don't forget about them!" to avoid awkward moments.

There is nothing wrong with you son, he just loves you and is affectionate. My son who is now six years old was the same way. When I'd be getting dressed and he'd see my tummy, he'd run over to hug me. I also nursed him and stayed home with him full-time so he was and still is very attached to me. Now that he's older he's rarely wants to cuddle because he's older and too busy with playing. Kids go through so many different stages, so don't pay attention to your in-laws--you don't want to make your son have a complex because of them. Your son is still so little and will change so much over the years. Enjoy your cuddly son while you can, because they grow up and become more independent so quickly. If he tries to climb under your shirt at church, just redirect him with a hug and tell him not to pull up your shirt, he just wants your attention-simple as that!


I nursed my kids, they all are touchy-feely kids, but they're normal kids. I think it's just that skin to skin contact we give them during the most vulnerable times of their lives. It's security. My daughter is 3 1/2 and she still will feel my neck or look down my shirt, esp. when she's tired. Don't worry about it. See if you can find a "silky" or a soft blanket for him if you're still concerned. Tell your in-laws to mind their own business!!
Good Luck!

Hello M.,

My grandson also pulls my daughter's shirt up to feel her belly. He was breast fed as well. I think its cute!! When she is holding him, he will automatically pull it up and lightly rub her belly while he lays there, and he is 2.
When I am babysitting him and holding him, he does it with me as well. I think it is a comfort thing. My daughter said when she breast fed him, he always hand his hands on her belly. So even though he is not fed that way anymore.. it STILL comforts him and makes him feel close to his mommy.
There is nothing weird about it, and I think your inlaws are a little warped to even think that way. Sorry but its just my opinion.

Good luck

You have not done anything wrong but as he gets older try to explain to him some people may not like to be touched.

Your in-laws may have a problem with it because as a young child they were touched in a wrong way.

I thought I would add a little story. I use to volunteer in our school library doing all the jobs necessary to the working of a library. This included reading to 3 Kindergaten Classes. One little girl loved to stroke my leg. I wore skirts and hose. I noticed she also like to button and unbutton a skirt I sometimes wore. The teacher noticed and we looked at one another. We both shrugged. I didn't want to upset the little girl and although I am not positive I think either the teacher spoke to her or the mother or she just plan grew out of it. It went on about half the year.

I was not allowed (not being on staff) to touch the children but allowed them to hug me. They loved coming to the library when I was there so much, I was asked to do all their classes. The male librarian was not as much fun.

My best friends son did the exact same thing. It is the soft/silky feel they are craving. My nephew used to try to put on pantyhose when he was young also. He just liked the soft feel. What my friend did with her son AJ was provided him with "Snuggles". Small squares of anything soft that he could take with him. A scrap of silky material so to speak. Maybe your child could have a pocket size one to take to church ect. so when he gets the urge to rub mom he can learn to just hold his snuggle instead. You could probably find a ton of scraps at a fabric store. Hope this helps. And by the way, AJ is now 6 and my nephew is a strapping 20 yr old and both are PERFECTLY NORMAL! Hope this helps a little. ~ Kasey

This is my son exactly! He is 5 y/o and I nursed him for 14 mos. I never thought of him as "weird" and no one really gave me grief for his behavior. I KNOW my son is very sensitive and loving. When I first stopped nursing, he would want to go inside my shirt and knead my breasts and/or pinch my nipples. He did this with my husband too! :)I figured it was his way to say that he wanted to nurse or just be close. During the weaning for about a year, I would say "no" to the pinching and gradually told him "no" to the kneading of my cleavage. I "trained" him not to stretch the neck of my shirts and opt to hold my hand intertwining our fingers. When he is really sick or sleepy, we cuddle and I let him "pet" my neck. He is very gentle. Today, we ALWAYS hold hands and he tells me that when he touches my neck he is showing me "love". He also says that it is warm and "love is warm". :)My son also loves freshly shaven and pantyhose-covered legs. You have done nothing wrong. You have shown your son how to be close and loving, but he just doesn't realize that in public lifting mommy's shirt is not acceptable. I would suggest maybe a silky blanket of some kind, the pillowcase of your sheets, and/or hold hands in church. Congratulations for raising a sweet boy!

I know how you feel my daughter now 5 would always try to put her nad down my shirt if i was holding her, and yeah it seemed to always be at church we'd be standing there and my shirts getting pulled down, lol but she outgrew it and we never made a big deal of it, sure there is a time and place and you can't hae your child revealing you to the world but this is how children learn things aobut their world and it's perfectly normal and something that they will outgrow as society catches u to them and they start to understand what is and isn't appropriate, right now though he's just a baby, tell your inlaws to back off and let it go.

My 2 1/2 year old son is the SAME way. You have not done anything wrong with him! Maybe it IS from nursing, I did it too, for 16 months. But it does not make it wrong! The hard part is going to be teaching him when it is not appropriate to rub your belly (like in the middle of church!) Congrats on your sweet, sensitive, little boy!

Hi M.,
I absolutely don't think you have done something wrong. I think your child should be able to trust you #1. He is definitely NOT wierd either. My kids, ages 8 (girl),4(boy),and 2(girl) have all done that. The older they get, though, I have had to kindly talk with them about not putting their hand up, or down, my shirt. When he does do it, tell him not to. So as to not seem upset with him, redirect him so that you are the one offering comfort. Rub his back, neck, head, or hand. Does he have a special blanket or stuffed animal? It might be a good idea to keep that close by, too. My mother-in-law used to, in a subtle way, mock my children for always running to me or wanting "mommy." My inlaws are better but they weren't and still aren't the most comfort seeking people on earth. Are your inlaws comfort seeking people? If they are not, that may be the "wierd" sensation you get. You know what is right and wrong. Teach him, gradually, what is right and wrong. There is nothing wrong with you having a loving relationship with your son without the risk of smothering him.

I don't think nursing has anything to do with it. Different kids like different things, and there are lots who like soft things (certain stuffed animals, panty hose, hair). Explain to your son why it's not always appropriate to feel other people's skin, especially in public, then take him to a fabric store (Jo-Ann's, Hobby Lobby, even Wal-mart has fabric) and find a "substitute skin". Let him feel tons of fabric and select his favorite (maybe silk or satin, maybe fun fur, maybe vinyl, who knows?) Buy 1/4 yard of it or so, then cut a small piece off and let him carry it in his pocket or tie a strip to a favorite toy. When he wants to feel something soft, he'll have it. In baby sections of department stores there are little blankets with satin trim and tons of kids carry them around, so that may work too. You can always ask your pediatrician if you are really worried, but I see no reason to deny his wish for something soft. It could be worse, I knew a lady whose son somehow got attached to rubbing her eyebrow (yes, he probably did it while she was nursing him)and even at 3 and 4 years old and he would climb in her lap and start rubbing her eyebrow! Made it very hard to have a conversation with her when you couldn't really look her in the eye, that would have drove me nuts!

My daughter, 4, is the same way. We had to work with her with the whole lifting shirt issue. She nursed for 20 months, and I always thought that was probably why she did that. She loves to touch anyone's skin, especially arms and necks. She once touched a random stranger, who was elderly, at the dr's office. She just plopped in the seat next to her and started rubbing her arm because it looked soft. Thankfully, the woman thought it was hilarious and had grandchildren of her own. I was, however, a bit embarrassed. I don't think your DS is strange. I think your in-laws are a little rude to even suggest it. I just think you'll need to work with him on what is appropriate touching and what isn't. That's what we have done with our DD.

I suspect that he is quite normal.
Two of my granddaughters loved to rub my neck and upper arm, especially when they were tired. They outgrew the habit and are very normal, intelligent 17 and 19 year olds now and have no compulsion to do anything of the sort. They do love to get into my bed and watch TV because they like the soft sheets and memory foam matress.

There's nothing wrong with him. Some people are just tactile people. If it's very extreme, you may want to have him evaluated for Sensory Integration Dysfunction. It has to do with the way that someone's brain processes sensory info, either tactile, auditory, vestibular, etc. Lots of people with Sensory Integration Dysfunction go to therapy with and occupational therapist and do great at working through their issues. It may be something to look into. But everyone has "sensory" issues to a certain extent. Most people's just aren't severe enough that they need therapy. But I just wanted to make you aware of Sensory Integration Dysfunction in case you hadn't heard of it. Your son is probably just a tactile person who likes smooth touches (like many kids), but if it concerns you, you could have it looked it. But, if he does have a Sensory Integration issue, it's nothing you did--it would just be the way his brain is wired a little different than most people's.

Aww, hon, no, you didn't do anything wrong to him!! Congrats on nursing for a year! These days, that's hard to accomplish! Since he likes soft things, I'd suggest getting him a satin-backed blanket of his own, from the baby department. I think Walmart has them. Most stores should. Usually one side is like a velour or soft plush, and the other side is satin. And if it's baby-sized, you would be able to take it to church and whatnot, so that he has something of his own to feel on, if it makes you feel uncomfortable for him to do that in public. Or get him a really soft stuffed animal. I wouldn't worry about it, honestly. He's probably just discovering things have different textures, and who doesn't like soft things?? :-)

Don't worry, you have done absolutely nothing wrong. It's VERY natural for kids, specially little boys, to enjoy touching mommy. My 7-yr old used to touch my chest and was really curious about my breasts. I made no bid deal about it, but I tried to teach him that I did not want to be touched like that in public.
If your boy enjoys touching you, it's a great sign of the closeness that he feels with you, and that you have done a GREAT job as his mommy. Realize that your little boy's relationship with women in the future will be very much influenced by his relationship with you. If he feels close to you, he'll be more likely to develop a close relationship with his mate when he is a grown man.
You simply need to teach your son that some things are okay at home, but not okay at church or when other people are present. Touching is very good, but it has an appropriate time and place. Just concentrate on teaching him the difference between home and outside behaviors, and don't concentrate on the fact of touching. Many things are okay at home that are not okay outside the home, that's all you need to worry about. He'll slowly outgrow that behavior when he is older, and does not need mommy so much. My son now knows not to touch me all the time, but he still enjoys sitting close to me in the couch to read books.
Stick to your gut feelings, and don't worry about other people's opinions. There is NOTHING wrong about you or your son. I think people are WAY too worried and uptight about natural things. To me, that's the unnatural and weird, not a little boy's love for his mommy.
You go girl!!!

Hi M.,

I have both my son who is 9 and my daughter who is 4 doing similar things. My son likes to scratch, rub or caress my arm, back or hand and would place his hands up my sleeves to touch me while we were watching T.V. or at church. The more tired he was the more he needed to touch skin. He has grown out most of it but will need to touch when he is not feeling well. I talked to him in first grade about appropriate times and places to touch dad or me and he seemed to get it.
My daughter only needs skin or finger nails to rub when she does not have her silkies. When she was a toddler, she would go into my underwear draw and pick out my silky pajamas or underwear and feel the material while she was sucking her thumb. Having a child carrying around my big underwear or pajama bottoms was the most embarrasing moments for me. Now we have many silkies, either kids pajamas, her dress up clothes, or a small piece of material or blanket.
You can have your son pick out a special material at the fabric store that he likes and make a small quilt about 12 inches square (you may want to make two, one to go in the wash and the other available for use) and say this is the only thing he can use when you are out in public.
It a security thing and allows the child to get past their anxiety or stress sometimes or just when they don't feel great. Nothing wrong with it and they can mature out of it.

In response to the autism suggestion by others, it is possible he has other things going on. My son does have anxiety disorder and has been in behavior modifications for social problems. He is also recently was placed on Focalin (classified for ADHD patients)to assist him with focus problems during school. He has not been classified as ADHD from the Neurologist but as others have noted to you ,autism has a range of symptoms and diagnosis and a child should be look at as the individual and not a classification of disease automatically. All children can show signs of any type of autism as they develop and only a specialist can tell you specifically if your child should be placed under a certain diagnosis classification. As for my daughter, she has the touchy feely syndrome but is not a candidate for behavior evaluation. She is very mature for her age based on her vocabulary and scholastic skills and she has more confidence and better social skills then my son ever did. Please feel free to email me but also consult your pediatrician.

I hope this helps.
R. K

My son is similar. He loves to lift my shirt to feel my belly and give it kisses. He is very touchy feely- has been since day one. I think it is a personality thing, like being shy. You may have to teach him about personal space as he gets older (my good friend is going through that with her 5 year old boy). I think it is a good sign... a sensitive loving little boy!!

Your son is not weird. It would seem to me that his "love language" is touch. There's a book called Love languages, which talks about all the diiferent ways we communicate our feelings- words, touch, actions, etc. MOST men are sight and touch oriented. On top of that, babies learn by touch and taste, so its not weird that your son still loves touch. Some kids like to tangle mommies hair, some like to rub mommies skin. My two year old is a touch-oriented child, my four year old son is a sight-oriented child and my five year old daughter is a word-oriented child.

My two year old loves to touch mommy- whether it is my hair, my face, my chest, or just the fabric of my clothing, he uses touch as a means to "be close". Of course, when it's nap time or bed-time, he uses his blankie to snuggle to his nose- for some reason, (and it probably has something to do with being breast-fed and having that closeness from his nose ((smell, touch)) to my breast, he has to go to sleep holding his soft blanket to his nose.

My four year old also did this, but he has outgrown it.

You havent done anything wrong, your son is completely normal, and like most, your in-laws dont know what their talking about.

With my in-laws, I was a bad mom because my first two children have always been independant and from the time they could crawl, they havent wanted mommy to hold them. My third child, however, is constantly ATTATCHED to mommy, which my in-laws hate because he wants nothing to do with them. My daughter knew her colors, shapes and ABCs at two years of age, and I was a "pushy" mom. Some in-laws will find ANYTHING to attack over.

My son was the same way. He is 8 now. He outgrew it. I would just move his hand away and tell him to stop when he would try to put his hand up my shirt. I don't remember how old he was when he stopped...not too much older than 3, I'm sure. Your son is fine...just give him time. :-)

I nursed my daughter till 14months, and she always put her hand up my sleeve when she would nurse, and even later just when she would get tired. She did grow out of it, although at times, she will place her hand on her little brother's cheek when he is tired. I think it is just a way to comfort each other, just like needing a hug. Don't think that you have done anything wrong by nursing! Just let him know that it is not appropriate to lift your shirt up anymore, esp out in public.
I also nursed my son till he was 19months old.. and he is now 4 and very much a cuddle-bug!

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