Please tell me this is normal

Merry - posted on 09/18/2010 ( 46 moms have responded )

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Well Eric is 1 1/2 and he is becoming very attached to my breasts. Like puppy love for them. He always asks me to unhook both sides while he eats and he will stroke, pat, poke, etc the are boob. Now I know him pinching the one he's eating from is a let down enhancer. But this is just like playing with the free boob. Honestly, I don't like it. I don't like the gentle stroking, or the playing with the nipple, it just feels wrong. But he really gets upset if I won't unhook it for him. So I just deal with it. I also don't like it when he pokes his fingers all in my mouth. So it's not just the boob, maybe just that he is on a free for all on my body. So then when he is done nursing he loves to just lay his cheek on my boob and snuggle. That's so sweet! It's like he is saying "mom you are everything I need" so I'm not arguing the love from him, but it's just uncomfortable for me to have him stroking my nipple etc.
Is it ok for him to be so in love with my breasts? I don't want him growing up with some sort of bad attachment to my breasts. I know most kids are nursed more then twice this long and I figure that they aren't being messed up from it so I try to ignore it. But I am trying to get over a lifetime of being taught that boobs are sexual. And with him growing into a kid, it's hard to ignore my old thoughts.
So first, is this normal of him to be like this?
Second, is it normal I feel like this?
Third, how can I get myself to a better mindset?

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Karen - posted on 09/18/2010

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My daughter will sometimes do this, but she's pretty content when I push her fingers away. What she absolutely loves is to hold the ribbons of my bra. I have silky ribbons of a bow right in the middle of my bra. She holds those ribbons in her hands and just loves them. She asks for (she's 22 months) "milk and ribbons" now. Maybe you could try substituting something else comforting for him to hold?

Jodi - posted on 09/18/2010

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My 18 month old daughter does the exact same thing! It is normal, although I dont' let her, she too throws a fit, but like you, I just don't like it. She is slowly learning that if she wants to nurse, she needs to respect my body. I think it's completely normal for you to feel this way, I know I do! It's our bodies and some things are just off limits, I also hate it when she plays with my ears, which she loves to do, although not during nursing! Just try to remind yourself, yes, they are breasts and they were made to feed babies. That is why we have mammory glands, not for men's pleasure, that's just a perk! :) Good luck!

Mary - posted on 09/23/2010

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http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/nu...

1) It is perfectly normal and just a developmental stage, but if you are uncomfortable then that is not acceptable. I felt weird when my daugher (now 2& still nursing) would do that. You can teach him nursing manners. I taught my daughter that when she is nursing she is not allowed to pull at my shirt, touch me certain places and wiggle certain ways (wiggling/grabbing/etc is because I became pregnant when she was 9 months old and sometimes she'd wiggle a certain way and it would hurt me (my breasts were very tender) and make it uncomfortable with my big belly lol- yes, i'm nursing both of them- i have a 5 month old too :D)
2) you are perfectly normal to feel the way you do. you can't help how you feel, you can only help what you and he does. you are normal as well.
3) I would definitely try to teach him whats acceptable for you and whats not. he's old enough now to know that mommy doesnt like it when he touches her other breast, etc.
with my daughter I would unlatch her, look into her eyes and say "I dont like that, will you please stop? If you cannot stop we will have nummies later." she understood and didnt want to have nummies later so she would stop for a while and i'd have to remind her. now at 24 months she doesn't do things i dont like (nursing-wise lol) anymore. I started teaching her nursing manners when i became pregnant, she was 9 months old.

Kristen - posted on 09/21/2010

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Hi, i'm now breastfeeding my 3rd child, who's 11-months old, and quite honestly, i'm getting pretty sick of nursing, considering i've been doing it since my 1st child, who's now 8, and she breastfed right up until my 2nd child was born, and he breastfed till he was over 3 (embarrasing, but he would not quit!) So i only got like a year off before my 3rd child was born....Don't get me wrong, i do love breastfeeding, and i do it for the health benifits, bonding, and i think its easier than formula (plus waaaaay healthier!) plus its free, always ready, etc..... I never knew i would breastfeed, or feel so strongly about it, but when i got pregnant with my 1st child, i started reading all the books about pregnancy and breastfeeding, and then i knew for sure i wanted to breastfeed only!!! I understand it's not always an option for everyone, but i just thank God that it worked out for me (and it wasn't easy in the beginning!) So, anyway, about your question....i had the same problem with my 2nd child (a boy), he did the same thing at that age, and i hated it! I would actually swat his hand away and tell him "no", because like you said, it didn't feel right, and it really irritated me, also like you said, the way our society makes breasts a sexual thing makes it really awkward--some of my family have alot of opinions about it, and they thought i was crazy for breastfeeding so long, but when people get rude, and say you should'nt breastfeed around other people, i tell them "God made breasts as the perfect food for babies, so that mothers of all time could feed their babies, and only now days in our country, breasts have become such a sexual object", it makes me sick--because that is what breasts were made for--to feed our babies the healthiest thing for them!!! Sorry, this isn't quite on the subject you were asking about, lol, so to answer your questions....yes, i do think its normal, and yes i do think its totally normal to feel like that, but i don't think you have to put up with it, you can teach him that it's not a toy, its his food. I don't think you have to let him or worry about making him messed up later in life! I love my kids so much, and they're my world, but i think kids these days are way to spoiled and grow up thinking they can do/have whatever they want, all the time! So i think it's okay to let them know who's boss once in a while! :)

Maren - posted on 09/21/2010

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Well, my daughter likes to pinch my nipples if she sees them through my shirt or when I'm taking a bath. I don't let her do this as I don't even like it when my husband does it so it's not sexual at all for me. She does fondle and rub a breast from time to time, sometimes in public. This doesn't bother me so I don't put a stop to it as it's not very noticeable.

If you don't like what he's doing you need to set up some boundaries. He needs to learn to respect what people like and don't like and that it's not "all about him" as it were.

in regard to the tugging on the shirt to let us know they want to nurse: I have seen this lots before I even was a mom and was determined that it wouldn't happen to me. So, I taught my daughter the American Sign Language sign for "millk" and that's what she does to convey she wants to nurse. It's been very nice and I'm glad it worked out so well!!!

For the fidgeting while nursing, my daughter has a security blanket that we always have when nursing and this keeps her hands pretty busy so she ignores my breast other than nursing.

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Caroline - posted on 09/14/2012

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my 26mo boy still tries to grab, pinch, sratch, squeese my breasts. i weaned him at 12 months because i went dry. he has been obsessed with my "boos" since he was tiny. i wake up early in the morning with him puling on them to the point where they are soo tender i dont even want to sleep any more. he fights me and screams every time i pull his havnd away. i have tried every tactic in here to make him stop and nothing has worked. he is actually getting worse. if you find a way to stop it from happenening, please share.

Jessie - posted on 09/23/2010

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If it makes you uncomfortable dont let him do it. just set him down and put the boobs away until he can 'nurse nice' mine is 14 months old and sometimes he just gets wild and wants to swing his legs around or stick his hands in my mouth or whatever. if he doesnt stop I just take him off the breast and set him aside. he gets mad but after a bit he snuggles up and doesnt mess around.oh and he is also in love with my belly button and other peoples lately. if you say belly button he will lift up your shirt to find yours. thats weird right? LOL

April - posted on 09/23/2010

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I've never been to an LLL meeting because it's always at my son's bedtime too...7pm!! i've always wanted to go. although i will probably have to hire someone to interpret for me (sign language....i'm not foreign though many ask me what country i come from!! lol)

Shelby-Ann - posted on 09/23/2010

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My son was the same way it got worse when I found out I was pregnant it was more sensitive and he was more stuck on me. Thank God its over with now

Mindy - posted on 09/22/2010

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Hi Anisa,

My son totally does that too. it doesn't matter who is around and if I throw something over to cover up he sticks his hand in the other side and everyone can tell he's got his hand in there and it's totally embaressing because although were finding it's normal, No one else does..they think why is your son fondling you? and why are you still nursing this big kid...I just deal with it. But I'm with you. there are days I just want to give it up..and then there are days I couldn't imagine giving it up. After reading all the post ,last night when nursing my son I looked at thing alot different and wasn't so upset or uncomfortable with my sons habits, I just continually moved his hand away not matter how many times he put it back. I have absolutely no idea how to get him to stop pulling them out or pulling my shirt down in public or front of ppl but I thing getting him to stop hurting me is a start. As for relief, they sell products for nursing mothers that are non toxic to children. almost every company makes one. Like Lansinoh lanolin onitment. This helps my.

Hope this helps. and thank you for sharing too.

Dee - posted on 09/22/2010

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if you dont like it and feel uncomfortable with it stop it. its your body he is the child you are teaching him, try to use somthing else muzlin, soft toy ????? he is old enough to understand that no means no. hope this helps x

[deleted account]

I stopped nursing when my son was a year because I found out I was prenant again. He STILL has an interest in my boobs even though its been a couple months! He doesn't try to nurse he just seems curious and he smiles like he did when he was about to eat if he sees them and looks down my shirt occasionally. We are teaching him body parts and I think he is just interested because he only sees yours and wonders what the deal is why do you only seem to have those lol. he is only thinking of the comfort he feels while nursing when he does that not anything sexual although it may seem uncomfortable to you. I think it's common my son has even tested out daddy's lol I think he was wondering do all nipples make milk? He was about a year old when he did that it scared my husband haha. He just loves you and the comfort YOU alone are able to give him try not to think of it as anything else. I believe they will grow out of it. everyone was breastfed before formula so i assume its just a normal phase. kids get attached to whatever they drink from and in ur case its mommy!

Tiffany - posted on 09/21/2010

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Wow, I thought I was the only one who was experiencing this. My 1 1/2 year old uses my breasts as a comfort thing as well as nursing at bedtime and nap time. He also likes both of them out and he will "play" with the other one. I have gotten used to it. I don't feel that it's wrong...I just feel that he is comfortable and maybe curious. I am hoping that it will pass as it is uncomfortable. I love the bonding experience and I also love the thought that I am the only one he will share that with.

Danielle - posted on 09/21/2010

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In my opinion, this is out of curiosity. I think that if a big deal is made of it, then it could become a problem, but most likely it is a phase that he will out grow. my 10 month old has started playing with my nipple while nursing, and has always put his hands in my mouth. I think it's natural and I personally don't have a problem with it. I'm sorry you are having a hard time with it, I'm sure it is NOTHING sexual. it's the curiosity of a growing baby. they are into everything at that age.

Anisa - posted on 09/21/2010

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Hi Mindy,



I am in the same boat as you with my 15 going on 16 month old son, have no idea what to do.

It hurts really bad, I could just cry, or scream. And I feel embarassed when he puts his hands inside my top and tries to pull out my breasts, and this in public, in front of guests that come over or if we are visiting, we could be practically anywhere. I go through so many emotions, I am constantly upset. And most of the time, I find myself justifying my feelings, no one around me understands what I am going through. But starting to feel a whole lot better after reading everyones comments on the topic. Yes, I really felt like I was the only one experiencing this, but I guess not, and that it is normal.

Except, still have no idea how to fix, this is a huge issue for me right now.

Have tried placing his favourite stuffed toys in his hands whilst feeding or whenever he comes to me demanding for my breasts.

For me, I seem to be able to identify when he wants to nurse and when he wants to cuddle and when he wants to just mess around with them, so to help us both, I participate in letting him do his thing for a bit whilst nursing, and at times for love and comfort, but then he starts to get nasty and when it hurts I am starting to say NO.

The frustrating bit is that recently he has started to come to me whenever he sees me, he could be playing with his toys, or busy around the house, and the moment he spots me, he runs to me and wants to grab my breasts. Like I said, I could just scream.



Any recommendations on soothing products I can apply to my breasts to help through this process???



And thank you all for sharing!

Mindy - posted on 09/21/2010

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OMG! I thought I was alone in this one. My 17 month old does the same thing. except he also pokes the center of my nipple and that hurts... i try to stop him but he gets mad, so I just try to deal with it. It makes my husband and sister very uncomfortable...As they are the only ones I don't cover up infront of. He also pulls down my shirt and sticks his hand in to grab it out as well. He does this every where. In stores on walks...any time I'm holding him. I love nursing and the closeness it brings but these new habits that seem to be getting worse are making me feel like it's time to start weaning but I don't think he's ready... so I'm not sure what to do....

Sorry, I couldn't offer any help. Thanks for sharing. Makes me feel better that I'm not alone and the this behavior is normal.

Michele - posted on 09/21/2010

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My daughter still tries to put her hand down my shirt over my collar or up my shirt, especially when she is tired or drinking from her sippy cup. She is almost three. I have had to really make a gentle concerted effort to stop this habit. It never bothered me when she was younger because it felt nice to know that she felt comfort from having her hand on mom. Kids will hold many items for comfort so the boob was just like a blankie or favorite animal from my perspective. It's become problematic now that she is older and still wants to hold my boob. I started it originally after we stopped nursing because the Ped./Lact. Cons. told me it will help her to transition from bf. When I did bf, her, her other hand was always playing with the other one. It was irritating to constantly be touched but I allowed it because I assumed it was just what babies did and it must give her comfort. Hope all the common stories here have helped you to feel better about it.

Marie - posted on 09/21/2010

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I'm in the exact same situation with my almost 20 month old!! Oh man I don't like it, but he freaks if i pull his hand away! So I deal with it too. I figure when he's done nursing, he'll find something else to make him feel comfortable. I almost feel as if he's addicted, because as soon as he starts nursing, his hand goes up or down my shirt to my nipple! I think it's normal to feel that way. He used to nurse and rub my arm up and down and eventually end up rubbing my face...but he's moved on to the nipple and there is no stopping him. He's a very loving boy too (well, to me, but to his twin brother not so much)

Micky - posted on 09/21/2010

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I was 12 when my brother was born, so I remember what my mother went through with him, and he did the same thing. He often would just pull up my mother's shirt whenever (to her dismay) but she breastfed him for three years, and one day he just sort of stopped. I don't know how she really felt about that, I'm sure she thought "well this is completely natural" and had no problem with it, she is a very relaxed woman. But I personally would feel the same way that you do and the only real thing you can do to get yourself into a better mindset is ask and take into account the answers that people give you. Rest assured that it is completely normal and that you're not the only woman to go through this and feel this way.

Jo - posted on 09/21/2010

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1-yes its normal... well it is/was for my almost 4 yr old. he really loves holding/stroking/touching my other boob/nipple when feeding. it is obviously a big comfort to him and he also tells me that it makes the milk come out faster! even now if he sees me without a bra on he just wants to try and grab me and say 'yummy i LOVE your boo'.
2- yes it did initally feel odd and 'wrong' but then i decided that i am probably teaching him a big lesson in what boobs are for and hopefully to respect women. and yes it can be annoying/tickling at certain times- sometimes i clamp my hand over the other boob to stop him (and always say not now its tickling me)
3- realise you are not alone, its 'normal', and that you probably will have a very secure, kind and loving boy (so many times i have his nursery school teachers telling me- and others- just how happy, kind, considerate and 'completely lovely' my son is) who will hopefully grow into a kind and loving man :)
and also- well done x

Lisa - posted on 09/21/2010

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Hi Laura, my 18-month-old son does the same thing. and I know I'm not helping, because sometimes I ignore it and sometimes it annoys me to the point where I have to stop him, so the poor kid isn't getting much consistency from me. When it comes down to it, our kiddos are approaching the age where they understand more. Understanding that when mommy says No she means it can make a difference at this age. So last night I was touched out, too, and there was no groping of the other side allowed. He likes to go back and forth from one to the other, and throws a huge fit when I don't let him. Así la vida, right? I think that what's not helping is I'm in my 1st trimester - those hormones don't seem to mix well with nursing. I appreciate the book recommendations others have left - and just know you're not alone!

Monica - posted on 09/21/2010

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My daughter used to do that but with the breast she was nursing on, she would stop sucking and flick the nipple a couple times then start nursing again. My son is only 5 months so he just started softly caressing the top part of my breast while he nurses which is totally sweet. I'm not sure how things will feel when he gets older, i wasnt too concerned when it was my daughter because she's a girl, but we'll see how it is with a little boy. Hopefully thru all this our sons will grow up to be Gentlemen that respect breasts as a beautiful part of a womens body and not as a sexual object. I love that nursing has become so much more popular then it was when i was growing up. I want the boys of this generation to accept a women nursing as a totally beautiful natural thing as my husband does. Alot of the ladies in my family like my sister-in-laws and cousins including myself have all recently had babies and we ALL tried breastfeeding, none of them made it past 6 months except myself, i nursed my daughter till she was 17 months and i found out i was pregnant with my son who i am nursing now...I found that the husbands including mine, my brother, and my cousins have all become confortable with the nursing situations, they are not freaked out by women nursing, which i think it awesome. My dad on the other hand was never around a nursing women and no one ever nursed from his group of people when he was younger so he gets very uncomfortable about me nursing, i cant even talk about it around him...he's happy that i do whats healthy for my babies he just doesnt want to think or hear about it because it has to do with my breasts. Anyway Laura, i think you're doing an awesome job, and i'm sure this wont be the first time we are faced with uncomfortable situations with our sons :).

Erin - posted on 09/20/2010

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I just wanted to say what a wonderful question. Although I don't have the same situation my daughter (2 1/2) is getting very friendly lately with my breasts and nipples thinking its a game since I've made sure its so normal to breastfeed in front of her (I weaned her at 6 months and regret it, my son is 3 months and I intend to go at least 2yr). She has started grabbing my breasts and nipples and I want to nip this in the bud without making her uncomfortable....argh. Anyway, I just wanted to say I'm enjoying the responses and the thoughtful question.

Tiffany - posted on 09/20/2010

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I think it's normal at this age, but it doesn't hurt to do what you are doing and gently push his hand away. It's not wrong for you to feel this way at all, but I think he will most likely stop on his own. Good Luck.

Jessica - posted on 09/20/2010

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My daughter likes to do that as well, so it is not abnormal. As an infant, she liked to pinch and stroke my belly, and now she likes the other breast like your child does. At this age, it isn't sexual to them, it is simply soothing. If it makes you uncomfortable, though, perhaps you could wear a teething necklace, or offer an alternative item for him to caress? I think it may just be a way that they are trying to show their love and appreciation of us (and their food), and also maybe trying to stimulate the let down reflex. That was my though with my daughter is she is used to having a bottle of EBM while I am at work, so she may be trying to get the milk to flow faster by massaging the breast.

Cassie - posted on 09/20/2010

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I dont really know if its normal or not, but my daughter will either hold on to my other breast when feeding, if she can reach or she will pull on my top & bra strp, you know the little ribbons that are in some tops so you hang them opn coat hangers (if that makes sence) she like to pull on them.. just try something to distract him! if not all i can suggest is get used to it! :/ sorry im no help :( x

Merry - posted on 09/19/2010

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Diana, Eric doesn't stick his hand down my shirt in public, or at home, but if he wants to nurse he will "honk" my boob. Just squeezing the boob while he says boob, or 'bub' as he says it. I don't mind that, I think it's cute, but if youbteach a code word for nursing it could get him to be more discreet!

Donna - posted on 09/19/2010

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I really dont know how to help you get out of that mind set but if it helps my daughter likes to poke and pinch the opposite nipple then the one shes nursing on. But shes only 10 months. She also likes to put her fingers in my mouth, when shes not feeding. You might have to put yur foot down and teach yur son some boundries.

Katrina - posted on 09/19/2010

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I hear this all the time. I never let my kids get used to doing it, I always gave them something else to fondle and kept my other breast covered at all times. I always had a blankie or plushie for them to hold. They make nursing necklaces, I have this amazing teether necklace called "teething bling" that I offer my daughter. Kira (15mo) has picked up a habit of having to fondle the neckband of whatever shirt I'm wearing and trying to stick her hand inside my shirt from the top down. It is driving me nuts because she's starting to stretch out the neck on a couple of my favorite shirts and I find it uncomfortable. She also wants to play with my bra strap. You have to treat it sort of how you would biting. Be consistant, gently remove their hand and redirect it to something else while gently telling them no. Keep your bra on and shirt down and put your other arm over your breast to block access. All of mine tried but it was short lived because I never gave in. That was one line I drew right away, it really sent my skin crawling early on. It was just one level too much to me feeling "touched out". It's totally normal. On a technical note, stimulation of the other breast while nursing on one can speed the letdown so babies will try it. This is why you can often pump better if you're nursing on one side while pumping the other. Some mamas aren't bothered by it and let it continue but others, like me, find it kind of irritating. Nursing is a 2 person activity, if it's making you uncomfortable it's OK to make it stop and redirect your little one :)
I was fortunate that I grew up with breastfeeding. I was 4 when my brother was born and remember my mom BFing him as a baby and I would nurse my dolls when I was little. I had a lot of neighbors with babies that nursed as well growing up. My mom nursed me until I was 3 I think she said. I never had problems making the split of feeding & nurturing vs sexual. I can't offer anything useful for that from personal experience, sorry.

[deleted account]

W/out reading any responses yet. I think it's normal. My son would be like that too if I let him, but it is irritating for me, so I don't. He's 2.5 and still just as attached, but he knows if his behaviors get to the 'too annoying' part then I put him down.... so he behaves. :)

[deleted account]

1. Totally normal - my 16 month old daughter does the same thing.
2. Feelings are feelings, there's no normal. For me I'm ok with all except the pinching the nipple - that hurts.
3. Better mindset. One perspective is that they think the nipple is a cool push button toy. It makes my daughter laugh whenver she can poke it.

Yes, I think you can set limits at this age so that you are comfortable.

Do you have to deal with him sticking his hand down your shirt in public? Cause I do! Any suggestions from anyone?

Merry - posted on 09/19/2010

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Marissa, I stopped leaking around 7 months but I'll still leak if it's in the night and both sides are full. I'm glad this is sounding normal! It helps a lot. Lisa, I'm hoping not to get those pregnant sensations :/ I hope this is just temporary, I notice whenever he starts doing something annoying it usually passes in a week or two. Like screaming in the carseat, or hating diaper changes, or whining a lot. It seems just when I can't take it any more he stops. So maybe he will be done with the more annoying stuff soon, I don't mind most of the touching, patting, it's mostly the nipple playing. So time will tell, and I'll just keep redirecting him and I think we will make it work. He is so smart, I bet he can tell what I like and don't.

Minnie - posted on 09/19/2010

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Congratulations, Laura!



I agree that 7pm is difficult for many mothers with toddlers. Are there any groups in surrounding areas that offer say, a 10am meeting? Those tend to be a little easier. I can understand the feeling of having one of the oldest children at meetings. It seems like you're the one leading by example for the other mothers. Maybe that will give you some strength through the annoying times? You can be there to reassure mothers that yes there are difficult patches that one goes through in nursing a toddler but so many other times are such a joy!



It is frustrating when our children get so angry when they can't do something that really bothers us. You don't have to suffer through it though and learning that you are pregnant adds a new dimension to things! Many pregnant nursing mothers find that their nipples and breasts become very sensitive and that any twiddling or figeting really gets to them. He likely will get past this if you are consistent and offer something else for him to fiddle with while nursing. The suggestion Marissa gave above of ending the nursing session for a few seconds when he insists on pinching and twiddling can help.

Marissa - posted on 09/19/2010

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Laura,
My son is going to be one on the 29th and he does the same thing. He rubs, pats, and pinches my boobs. He also like to put his fingers in my mouth, and he is a nipple pincher. So, I would say this is normal behavior for bf babies. I don't let him pinch my nipples because I don't like that but everything else I am fine with. I actually think he is being affectionate and I find it to be cute. He also likes to do raspberries on me (makes farts with his mouth) not just on my boob but on my shoulders and belly. I find it so adorable and he makes me laugh.
Now with letting the other boob out while feeding him, if you don't like to then try not to and keep his attention on the one. If he gets mad then put them both away. hopefully he'll see you mean business and will be happy with just the one. I can't keep them out at the same time because I still leak.
P.s. Boobs were never supposed to be something sexual. Keep in mind MEN made them that way!!!

So now I have a question for you...... Do you still wear breast pads? Do you not leak? If so when did you stop leaking?

Merry - posted on 09/19/2010

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Thanks Lisa, I have a group but they meet at 7pm which is like bedtime for Eric! I haven't been to a meeting in a few months but Since becoming pregnant I planned on going to the next meeting, which is tomorrow! I'm excited, I hope there's more moms this time. I've always had the oldest child in my group so it's hard getting help from moms with younger babies.

Minnie - posted on 09/18/2010

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It definitely is a challenge to overcome cultural biases that we have grown up with. Are there any La Leche League groups around you? It might be helpful and encouraging to have the personal support of other mothers who have gone through this or are dealing with a situation similar to yours. You're always welcome to commiserate!

Find an LLL Group here: http://www.llli.org/webindex.html

Merry - posted on 09/18/2010

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Thanks Lisa, yes I try to remind myself Its just love, but I feel so weird about him loving specifically my breasts, not just me in general, do you think I'll get over this? I start thinking of him as a boy now and I have to constantly push my western thoughts out of my mind about how it's 'inappropriate' that he touch my breasts like that. Mostly just need to remember he is not doing anything unusual!

Minnie - posted on 09/18/2010

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You sound quite frustrated about how your son shows his love for your breasts and your breastfeeding relationship! The pinching and twiddling indeed can be very uncomfortable for some mothers- you don't have to grin and bear it.

It definitely is normal. Toddlers are more expressive than infants and they really are able to develop that attachment and show their love for breastfeeding. At your breast is where Eric feels safest, where he feels most loved and it's something that has carried him through thick and thin during his short life.

The book Mothering Your Nursing Toddler is recommended by La Leche League International. That can be a big help, reading about other breastfeeding relationships throughout the toddler years and how other mothers have dealt with some annoying nursing habits. Have you tried talking to him about how it makes you feel? Distracting him when he goes for the other side of your bra might help as well. It sounds like this is something that he could be weaned out of- it just will take a little consistency. You need to be comfortable too.

Our nurslings go through behavioral cycles. Some are endearing, some not so much.

Merry - posted on 09/18/2010

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Thanks for the book reference! I'll check it out, I loved the book mothering your nursing toddler by Norma Jean ....... It's good to have books to see a bigger picture!

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You might be interested in the book 'Breastfeeding older children' by Ann Sinnott. She quotes lots of women who have made the same experiences and considers it as normal. She also talks about how female breasts are really only that sexualised in western societies and that that's probably more learned than innate behaviour. There are a good few things my one-year old does I'm not comfortable with, too (playing with the other nipple and a strange fascination with my pubic hair to name just a few) and I try not to make too much of a deal of it (though I'm drawing the line at my pubic hair!), but like you I sometimes feel a bit off about it. It's the weight of cultural conditioning pressing down on me I think. That's not her fault though, right?

Merry - posted on 09/18/2010

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Andrea, good point about the bottles cups etc, I do see toddlers being emotionally attached to the bottles. I guess it's even better to be attached to mom and her boobs right? I do think it's just my upbringing trying to take over, I was taught that breasts were just not supposed to be thought about. And it's odd that now my boy is getting so interested in them.

Andrea - posted on 09/18/2010

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So glad you brought this up my son Does the same now and is a few months younger than yours. I was concerned at first but then I realized kids play with their bottles, sippee cups, food, ect. So I figured why wouldn't want to play with the breast as well. When I make him stop then he just wants to hold the other one ( I think maybe it is comfort). I also feel that it is society's view on breasts that might make you feel uncomfortable they are plastered over everything. I'm very anxious to see what other moms have to say about this. When he was younger it was my armpit he played with all the time now it is my tummy and other breast.

Merry - posted on 09/18/2010

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Suzanne, you are just too sweet! Thanks for the encouragement. I do love how sensitive and tuned in emotionally he is. He will give me kisses without me asking! He is a lover, I guess that's why this happens.....

Suzanne - posted on 09/18/2010

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oh my god, what a love! i hear you, my son was like that, it made me a bit crazy/touched out and after we stopped nursing he transferred all that boob love to my belly! he rubs his face all over my belly like a cat, raspberries me, and stuff. i credit all the boob time with him being such a loving, gentle, demonstrative little boy, while still being a rough and tumble little fellow. i think its fully normal for babies and for moms to feel icked out by it but i just waited it out so i don't know what would ease it for you... You are doing a wildly fantastic job!

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