Slapping, nipping, pinching, pulling, scratching, yanking, kneading, squeezing… Not all of these are pleasant when it’s a baby doing it to your boob, when you’re breastfeeding.
Baby Button started this habit a few months ago, but only when he started being able to pack quite a punch have a done a little bit of research into why he’s doing it. His personal favourite is a rather stinging open handed slap, which is loud and leaves a red mark.
New skills with little hands
When you’ve spent so long trying to master your motor skills, it’s easy to get carried away with wanting to show them off. One of the reasons baby is so fidgety when it comes to feeding us that it’s the perfect time to show off just what he can do with his hands. Not only that, but he can work out that for himself — what could be better to practice on than a squishy pillow of boob?
I feed Baby Button to sleep.
He’s comforted by it, it’s familiar to him and he loves that time where we have a closeness before he’s reassuringly settled into a sleep. Through the day, I think when he’s slapping or nipping it isn’t to cause me any harm… It’s to stop him from falling asleep.
When milk is flowing too fast or not fast enough, hitting or kneading is a way for baby to either encourage it to go faster or vent frustration at it being so fast. Not pleasant for Mum, but it’s a practical explanation to the problem!
Can I stop my baby from hitting while feeding?
Some gentle persuasion is fine — quietly saying “please use nice hands” or even “ouch!” Will have the desired effect, just don’t startle baby too much while he is feeding, you don’t want him to associate jump scares with boob!
Fidgets and distractions such as teething necklaces or bangles are amazing at keeping little hands busy — a scarf or top with a fun neckline would do the same. Keep redirecting restless hands to those and baby will pick up a new habit in no time.
It’s worth remembering if you do choose to tackle little hands, that it takes time and won’t happen overnight. Hang in there Mum!