25 month old LOVES to twiddle and it's driving me NUTS!

Elisa - posted on 11/28/2010 ( 43 moms have responded )

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My poor over stimulated boobs! Ugh! My daughter is such a twiddler! Every time she nurses she tries to twiddle. During the day it's pretty easy to stop her wandering fingers because I can just cover up with my bra/shirt or distract her. But at night in bed (we're still co-sleeping, she's our last) she thinks its a free-for-all.
When I stop her from twiddling in her sleep she growls at me (yup, growls at me in her sleep) then wakes up to claim the side I denied her twiddling fingers from.
So, any ideas on how to stop a night time twiddler? And FYI we do have plans to move her into her own bed in the near-ish future. Just as soon as we can afford it. So, any ideas beyond moving her out of our bed?
Oh, and in case you don't know what twiddling is, it's when a baby is nursing and they reach over to play/tug/twirl/pinch/flick/and otherwise explore the other nipple/breast.

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Good Lord, I'm so glad that there are other moms with kids that do this. Mine is 19mo old. She absolutely must be "twiddling" the side she's not nursing, i've tried covering it (she wiggles in there anyway), wearing a bra to bed, putting my hand over it is all out war. She screams and then wants to nurse on that side. She is so stubborn. We still cosleep as well but don't nurse at night but she wiggles her little hands in there looking for boobies. Maybe i'll try a nursing necklace. Thank you! It makes me crazy and i have scratches all over my chest from our tugs of war over boobies.

Merry - posted on 12/06/2010

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I heard that the colostrum can make the toddlers poop runny again! But nutritionally it's awesome and in flu season I'm glad he's getting it!
I figure anything my body makes is healthier for him then another animals milk so it's all good!

Heather - posted on 12/04/2010

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Maria--for me, overstimulated means it's unpleasant, greatly. Not necessarily pain, but it makes me want to escape. No, not all babies do it by any means.

Chantelle - posted on 12/04/2010

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I wore a nursing bra to sleep. This gave me a first line of defense and if he persisted I was already awake enough to block or redirect his attention. I also would tell him "Only one." It took a while, several (3 or so) interrupted nights before it was mostly gone. He does it once in a while but a reminder usually stops it these days. Best of luck, I am glad that stage is past.

Maria, most of the time it is a sensitive or painful kind of irritating, but occassionally s/he can catch you unaware and stimulate arousal type sensations. I don't know if all toddlers do it, but I think Tristan was somewhere between 18 and 20 months when he really started twiddling. Before that it was just gentle contact which I didn't mind, and I totally know what you mean about the preciousness of the little hand. I won't be stopping that for my next baby, but I may try and catch the twiddling now that I know it could be an issue.

Tamara - posted on 11/28/2010

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Maybe just hold her exploration hand even when she growls. Or you may have to go for the mittens or find a sleeper with the sewn on mittens.

I have more of a problem with mine pinching the breast he is feeding on while he is eating.

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Loretta - posted on 08/17/2013

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I have a twiddler. I often wear a comfie sleep bra and just keep the other side covered when not in use. That slows her down a bit, although some times we still end up finger wrestling.

Lucy - posted on 12/11/2010

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My daughter is 20months and last month self weane. We still cosleep and she is now a major twiddler!!!!! She used to sometimes do it when nursing but now she's stopped that she uses twiddlig as comfort to get to sleep. Its driving me mad!!!!! I keep offering her the breast to see if she wants to nurse but she says "no" and calls it "silly!"

Brooke - posted on 12/08/2010

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My son does this too, and from what I've heard, it's a self soothing technique that helps them fall asleep, stay asleep etc... Very common. But sometimes it sure hurts!! Maybe try a nursing necklace for her to twiddle instead and gradually when her over to twiddling the necklace. Gradually, so she doesn't get mad lol!!

Charlotte - posted on 12/08/2010

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my baby isn't so much a twiddler as a pincher and scratcher. ive always kept the other boob covered, not intentionally... either im feeding in public or at night i have to wear a bra otherwise i soak the bed sheet! anyways, i spent £10 on this nursing necklace... and then a few days later she stopped! just like that! it was so odd!

Michelle - posted on 12/08/2010

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My daughter weened herself at 21 months but she always and still does play with the ends of my hair for comfort. I also wore a nursing bra to bed and as long as she had access to my hair, I never had any issues with twiddling. She has a toddler bed next to our bed and usually hops in with us sometime in the early morning. She slept with us until she weened but if she wants to now, I never deny her that. I love our snuggle moments!

Esther - posted on 12/07/2010

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Oh yes! My 2 yo, Allie, has twiddled since she was an infant. I've tried to get her to stop to no avail. She screams if I pull her hand away & while I'm wearing a bra she claws her way into it. During her nighttime routine, she demands that both sides be open so she can have access to both at the same time. We co-slept till she was 13 months old. The twiddling, kicking & have a free-for-all on my boobs all night was motivation for her sleeping in her own room. It was HARD. But completely worth it. I actually get to sleep now.
Maybe if you wore a nursing bra to bed. At this age they protest loudly & can get mittens & the like off pretty quickly so I don't think that would help. Maybe a sports bra... I know when I experimented wearing one my daughter had a hard time getting to the other boob. It will be hard to turn over & let her have the other boob, but she won't be able to get to it without your help.

Cinda - posted on 12/07/2010

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I'm in the EXACT same boat. My son will be 2 on Dec 10. We also still co-sleep. He does the SAME THING. I've never 'let' him & always tell him, "Not a toy" and remove his hand, hold his hand, cover my breast, etc. It's just been a CONSTANT battle with him.
When we sleep, I always lie on my left side, regardless of which breast he's nursing on. I just lean a little bit 1 way or the other to make them each available to him. I can easily keep him from twiddling the left breast when he's nursing on the right b/c it's turned /smooshed into to bed where he can't really get at it. When he's nursing on the left side, I typically have to sleep with my right arm across my chest kind of holding my left shoulder so that my arm completely covers my right breast to keep him from twiddling. I've always worn a bra to bed to help protect "the girls" but he reaches right inside as if the bra weren't there.
Even though I've never LET him twiddle & always move his hand away, he still keeps trying even after 2 years!
If you've found something that's working particularly well, I'd LOVE to hear about it since I'm going through the same thing.

Cat - posted on 12/07/2010

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Might want to check out nursing necklaces - definitely helped give my daughter a distraction so that she only rarely twiddles if I have one on. Other kids do better with different distractions (toys, blankets, etc.).

Tine - posted on 12/07/2010

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Oh, yes, I know all about the twiddling thing! My daughter, also just over 2, has been a comitted twiddler as well as a booby monster (lol) but in the last few days I simply decided enough was enough and have been simply holding my hand firmly over the other breast. Surprisingly, she has accepted it and given in gracefully.

She has also started to self wean... going down from many to no or one feed during the day, just feeding to sleep at night and over night. I also co-sleep, and it is harder to stop the twiddling at night, but I have simply persisted holding a hand over the other breast and she has simply taken to putting a hand gently on my chest instead... much nicer! I think it has helped her not need such frequent feeding too - it has removed the habit element.

The co-sleeping change I intend to do slowly when we're ready, but putting a little mattress on the floor next to me on the big mattress we sleep on. I'll let it be hers, let her play on it and pick her own covers etc if she wants to. When she's comfortable with it I'll put her there to sleep, letting her come back to mine if she needs to overnight.
If you want to move your daughter to her own room you could try that, then gradually move the mattress further and further away from your bed over a time frame that suits you, then into her own room.

If you have older children, enlist thier help if you can! Every attachment parent I know who has more than one child weans the younger ones from parent co-sleeping to co-sleeping or room sharing with siblings, and it seems to work really well.
Good luck, I know where you're coming from! :-) :-)

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:( thats unfortunate. my baby if fine and she sleeps in bed with us!! well not like before but sometimes when i want. but now a days she is sleeping in her bassinet more than sleeping with me. well i hope that everything gets better! and that your son gets healthy fast. good luck :)

Jessa - posted on 12/06/2010

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He has a toddler bed in our room and usually starts off there, but around 4 in the morning he comes and climbs in with us. Until 3 months ago he was sleeping just right with me all the time, not something we had set out to do, but he was born with multiple health issues and I felt safer having him right with me. Now we are trying to slowly transition him to his own bed, he was doing great and spending the whole night there til he got sick a few weeks ago and that kinda reset the clock on the process.

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well on the one hand your doing a great job of teaching him manners!!! thats for sure haha. yea i new this baby that the only way he would go to sleep was if he touched his moms ear lobe!! it was so cute tho. and i kno i would be the same as you not wanting to deny the precious request. does he sleep with you in the bed?? your baby is probably just having booby withdrawals poor lil fella :(

Jessa - posted on 12/06/2010

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Maria - He only just started it about a week or so ago. He stopped nursing about 2 months ago when my pregnant body stopped producing milk and would only give him the colostrum. Since then its been a fight to keep his hands outta my shirt. I finally started giving in some when I knew he was really sick or tired, and since I had no clue how to get it to stop as I hated the screaming fits that insued. He usually just lays a hand on my chest and sometimes pats, but he used to pinch and stuff like crazy, I had to pop his hand and tell him he was hurting me. Now he just asks permission. Which is so hard to say no to at times because he is so darn cute, lol. But during the day I tell him no figuring I could break him slowly. So far its kinda working, unless he is overly tired, then its a huge fight if I tell him no.

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Jessa: your child actually asks u permission to touch your breast!! awww haha thats crazy!! i guess they are his security blankeet momma

Jessa - posted on 12/06/2010

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I'd love to offer help, but am facing the same issue with my 16 month old. During the day he has started asking permission, gives me a kiss then holds his hand over my shirt waiting for me to let him shove his hand in....I haven't found a way to stop it, but I know I have to as we are expecting another one in January. I wish you the best of luck in gaining relief from your lil twiddling toddler!

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Bahaha runny poop. lol oh well if thats the only downside!! but u kno what that does make sense cuz the colostrum is supposed to be the best thing they get! thats were all the body immunos are right?? awesome

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LAURA: thats cool! and expect your boobs to get huge!! ( which in my opinion is a plus!!) so i have another question when colostrum comes in that is still good for older child and it will fill him?? gettin all the nessecary vitamins and things as in the breast milk??

Sally - posted on 12/05/2010

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My nearly 20 month old tries this trick at night too. I wear a night bra to bed but his little fingers get in there too. I have to stop him. He tries a few more times but then usually falls asleep.

Merry - posted on 12/05/2010

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Maria, about thirty percent of toddlers will self wean because of pregnancy, but the rest keep going!

The milk does change to colostrum around month 4-5 but most toddlers don't mind the change.

I still have a ton of milk, and it hasn't changed yet but I'm confident my son will keep bf because he is still asking about 8 times a day. I will bf him along side the baby when she is born, either one at a time or one on each boob!

Women can produce enough milk for triplets usually so I will make plenty for both.

Beverly - posted on 12/04/2010

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OMG! I thought it was just my son that does this!! I remove his hand and tell him no, then use his blankie or my shirt to tuck it over and under the other breast. He stops after that

Loes - posted on 12/04/2010

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Hi
i usually cover the other side with my hand, m son is 26 m now and he is also "exploring" the other side, which I don't agree with, so I stop him, cover it, or say no. he usually giggles but does accept ;) good luck
and great job for still nursing! you have a lucky little girl!

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really?? wow so do u still have a lot of milk?? and almond milk tell me more about that! and thank u so much for tellin me ur experience thats great!! so how was it BF a 2 yr old??

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yea i mean my baby is still little and she isnt doin the aggresive grabbing or tuggin or anything like that (yet) however as of right now her gently touches i really do not mind because to me its just natural and thats coming from someone who is very new to all this and pretty young. however i m real comfortable with my body and i kno the touching is very innocent and sometimes absent minded. but who's to say my mind wont change later just because she be causing me pyhsical discomfort. but which ever way a mom approaches it im sure its not stunting the child in any which way. But these are come really good tips if ever the problem were to arise :)



I have a breastfeeding question for LAURA HOFFMANN: u said that you continued BF while u were pregnant right?? i had read that towards the latter of the pregnancy the body changes the milk so that the first child weanes himself ( because the milk is not the same therefor not as appetizing) so that the the "new" milk can come in for the baby. you kno so that baby can get the colostrum. Did that cause a problem for ur first child?? how were u able to do that?? Oh im sorry i just read ur post again and u are still currently pregnant correct?? do u have a plan on how to go about that im just curious how BF mothers that want to continue breastfeeding while pregnant again do that.

Merry - posted on 12/04/2010

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My son never did that cuz I keep the other boob covered up! But he did start pinching me when I got pregnant and my milk wasn't as much anymore, I know I could have stopped him but I'd rather tolerate it or gently redirect him as it's just his natural instincts to try to get more milk! He stopped it on his own after a while anyways.
Now he is obsessed with making me put my hands certain places, like on his cheek, or on his foot, or his leg, sometimes he wants me to stroke his skin sometimes not!
He is pretty much in charge of our nursing times and I let him because I feel it's his right to breastfeed and as long as I'm not teaching bad habits, like letting him hit, it's ok.
I'm trying to actively avoid weaning because I'm 4 months pregnant and he's only 20 months so I am not ok with him weaning before two years or so, so I might let him get away with more just so I don't subtle encourage weaning too early.
But I figure we are the moms, we are the ones who chose to have a baby, so we should be the ones compromising to fit our Childs needs.
Just my opinion!

Sally - posted on 12/04/2010

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Ah...twidlers are so fun. :)
I didn't mind when my oldest would pat and rub my other breast or my tummy because she was gentle. My second has eczema though and is much more determined than big sister. If I don't let her scratch and pinch herself, she starts in on me. If I hold her hands, her feet get in the game. The only thing that works for us is gentle but firm restraint. I litterally have to trap each and every limb separately. It can cause some contortions and it really pisses her off, but she does eventualy give up and go to sleep.
I would try holding her hand and ignoring her growls. She should be big enough to understand 'mommy sais no'. She won't like it, but if you stick to your guns she will eventually get it.
Good luck

Lisa - posted on 12/04/2010

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I'd wear a nursing bra or tank to bed to keep the other breast covered while sleep nursing. Also during the day get a nursing necklace for your baby to play with, maybe she'd want to play with it at night too.
i know my son loved to poke my moles, I have one on my chest that he HAD to have his finger on while nursing!
good luck, and I hope you get some peaceful sleep soon!

Heather - posted on 12/04/2010

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I've always refused to allow that. My best advice is to say, "Mommy doesn't like that." I explain right from a young age why it's not cool and not happening and I keep a soft toy available for twiddling. I have a pincher this time around and UGH. It's taken me months to get her to switch to pinching my shirt, but I've just been consistent, keeping her hand off my breast if she won't be gentle.

And I'd never suggest ceasing cosleeping, but we do family bed in an Eastern style (I was raised with Japanese cosleeping and we're planning to just add a twin next to the king when we have more, until ours are ready to move out on their own). Just like with nursing, they do eventually outgrow it on their own ;)

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Chantelle thank u very much for explaining it more to me!! and u kno what its funny that you said that cuz actually one time i had my shirt off and i was gonna get ready to feed her but then she seem'd to want to go to sleep so i kept her in the cradle position and just rocked her while i watched the tv. . . and then out of no where i got this quick arousal sensation!! i was like OMG and looked down and it was my baby she had decided to get a quick snack without lettin me kno!! ( she had latched on) i felt weird and bad and then also laughed cuz i was like wow that was really unexpected. so with you saying that makes me think im not the only one thats happened to in some shape or form. Cuz i was kinda freakin out! even tho it was all so quick and then it just went to her just eating and me feelin back to normal.

sometimes she we'll place her hand over my other nipple or breast but as of right now it just stays flat i think its cute cuz its like her way of sayin THESE ARE MINE haha cuz thats her food! lol but now i understand when they get older they probably think these are my food AND my toys to play with while im eating haha. so interesting im glad i saw and read this. !!

Erin - posted on 12/04/2010

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I just tried something new, I am not sure if it will help you but it seems to have worked for my 10 month old. When he pinches I say no and then I quickly move his hand to something he can touch like my face or the buttons on my shirt. Then I say "Yes and smile and giggle with him" He seems to get it. I have done it a few times and now he reaches for my face first. The psychology is basically attention seeking, give them positive attention for a positive thing instead of negative attention for a negative thing. Good luck.

Harmony - posted on 12/04/2010

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My little one doesn't twiddle, but she does flail her hand, hitting both herself and me while she is nursing. I started to hold her hand with her fingers wrapped around mt thumb. that seemed to work. Good luck to everyone.

Erin - posted on 12/04/2010

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My son just started pinching the nipple he is feeding from and it hurts especially if I haven't cut his finger nails in a while. I am not sure what advice to offer but I sure would like to know if anything works to stop it too.

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hey! im a lil confused ive never heard of this before this is my forst time BF and she is 4 mths do all babys do this?? i kno when i feed her she places her on my chest or she'll make a c shape with her lil hand and place it by her mouth on my breast that she is feedin from but these are all light touches i love the way it looks to me its so precious she's trusting me and she's calm and it just feels so right nourishing her in that way. with that aside do u mean while baby eats he/she literally plays with other breast they are not feedin on?? why do they do this when do they start? and wen u say stimulate u mean its feels good or its too sensitive or it hurts??? i am very new to this!! haha thank u ladies

Lise - posted on 11/28/2010

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I put my hand over my boob and it works. Not sure why! I think she figures she can't find my other breast if she found my hand (versus cloth, which frustrated her).

Jacquelyn - posted on 11/28/2010

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I only let my first twiddle and not for lung, it drove me nuts, what I had to do with her was allow her to hold the other side but only with a flathand, no pinching pokiing etc, it took a while and I had to wear a bra to be dfor a while so she could only hold i tfla and didn't have room to wiggle, good luck it may take a few days of resistance but she will get over it:)

[deleted account]

My other breast is and always has been off limits to my son unless he is just laying his hand on the side of it or gently patting that same spot (I can tolerate that for about a minute before I make him stop). No clue how to help you help her stop while sleeping other than just be firm and don't let her. Good luck!

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