Breast Feeding Baby Pinching and Grabbing

Updated on January 15, 2011
R.B. asks from Riverhead, NY
12 answers

OK so my son is 8 months and we are EBF and doing fine. He is on the same growth curve, very healthy baby. My problem is that he grabs and claws and pinches my skin and not just a little bit. It is really painful. He does it when I bring him in bed in the mornings and also everywhere else I feed him. It is especially bad in bed because he grabs my other nipple while he is eating and yanks on it really hard and if I move his hand away he just grabs flesh... ouch. So I have tried putting socks on his hands but somehow he can pinch through the socks. Somehow it doesn't matter what I am wearing he can find a nice little tender piece of skin to go for.
What I am really wondering is if anyone knows the reason why a baby would do this??? Is there some biological need to rip mummy's flesh off??? hehe. No really is it like an ownership thing or what. Any ideas ladies and gents?

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So What Happened?

Looks like a nursing necklace might be a good idea. Anyone know where to get

More Answers



answers from New York on

Nursing necklaces on etsy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Oh I remember going through this with my first and looking up all I could to help with the issue. One possibility I read was it somehow was a way to get the other side ready for them while they nursed on one side. I even watched a cute video of how natural it was for kids to "twiddle" the other side. I think I put up with it a lot more with her because she was my first and I let her do what seemed "natural" more often. With the second I did my best to stop the behavior from the first hint of her wanting to do it...aways covering the other side even if with my hand. Stopping nursing sounds like it should work but hard to do! seemed helpful on the subject and would have help for finding a cute necklace. Good luck and good job nursing :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

babies have grabby little hands and they are strong! my dd grabs, scratches and constantly pulls my long hair out, and has been doing it for so long, sometimes it drives me crazy. I say no, untangle her hands, but it does little good. It hurts. Ive have pretty good scabs on my face and breasts despite trimming her nails. When shes really grabby, I feed her in bed, on our sides, tuck one arm under to trap it and hold the other, or give her a soft blankie or animal to maul. Seems to work, but honestly, she is relentless, Im ready to shave my head for all the hairpulling or wear a kerchief to hide it. They love to touch and just dont understand. it will pass eventually.... (along with the nipple biting and giggles at our pain :) also, they seem to have some ability to find a nipple to tweak without looking, cover them with your hand or blanket.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Please don't listen to the advice to pinch your child.
He is exploring- this is a very normal and good thing for babies this age to do! My 9 month old hurts me sometimes, but not often. I know some babies are rougher than others.
Try a nursing necklace, other toys to keep his hands occupied, and more layers to keep your skin out of reach.
If that doesn't work, you can try to give him a milk time out for it, but don't make it longer than 15-20 seconds. I assure you that 10 min after the fact he has NO clue why you stopped nursing. Give him more feedback- pinching is Ouch!, no milk for a few seconds. Nursing while holding a toy stays happy!
Longer time outs will confuse him and decrease his chances of understanding what he is being punished for.
When all else fails, rest assured that he will outgrow this phase very quickly.
All the best!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Have you ever heard about a nursing necklace? It gives something for the baby to be distracted with without pinching and grabbing. The tweaking of the nipple is normal tho - - it's how an older baby starts the other side working so when they are done with one side, they get milk right away on the other.

I think the nursing necklace may help along with a stern voice "Don't touch Mommy that way" If he still does it after speaking to him and removing his hands... put him down and refuse to nurse for 10 minutes. Try again - same result = same 'punishment'. He'll get the connection very soon.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My DD (also 8 mos) does the same thing! I trim her fingernails nearly everyday because she scratches me, and when she pinches I inadvertedly often "scream". Curious to see the responses!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

What about wearing layers, so he grabs your tank top (they sell nursing tanks) vs your skin? Or giving him a toy or chunky necklace to mess with instead of you?

There were times when I told my daughter no and if she persisted (biting, scratching, kneading my belly, whatever) she got put down for a few minutes and we tried again. At 8 mo. old a short break won't break him and may teach him better nursing manners.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

When he pinches or grabs in a way that hurts you, you remove him from the breast. He has to associate hurting mommy with no nin-milk. This seemed to work with my son who would clamp down on the tip of my nipple at times. He thought my screaming "OWWW" was funny.



answers from New York on

When he does it, pinch him back immediately - not yelling or in anger - simply to let him know that what he is doing hurts. I know, it may sound horrible, but it's not. It is simply mirroring what he is doing - he isn't thinking about how to hurt you - but it has to stop.


answers from San Francisco on

My little one did this when nursing for about a month or so. My mom made me very silly looking but very grabbable nursing necklace. It was long, soft and had some ribbons tied to it. It was a help, b ut then the phase passed.


answers from Denver on

Can you give him a soft lovey or small toy to hold in the one hand so he manipulates that instead of mistakenly hurting you? Or as suggested earlier, a nursing tank/bra that keeps the non-nursing side covered-up. This worked with out little one. It is a phase and will pass there is just so much for them to take in and explore at that age. Good Luck!


answers from Jacksonville on

Well I think it's a possessive thing. My sons bothwould grab and pinch my breats while nursing, though i will say it usually never hurt. It more so seemed to calm them to grab lighty. I don't think he's meaning to hurt you but i willsay when my oldest bit me for the first time, it caught me off gaurd, and i let out a painful "ouch!" and he never did it again lol. All I can say is if it gets unbearable you could try pumping and letting him drink from a bottle for a while. Sorry couldn't be more helpful.

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