Pulling, tugging, pinching - OUCH!

Nikki - posted on 08/02/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My son is 4 1/2 months old now and for the last few weeks he has started (while nursing) pinching, pulling my skin the opposite direction of his mouth and going off then on then off then on the nipple. It's all incredibly painful and I'm turning purple after the feedings not to mention the scratches I have. If I hold him on - he screams and cries. Any advice?

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Elizabeth - posted on 08/02/2009

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I am having the same problem with my 5 month old. I have found it helps to feed him in a quiet dim space so we can both relax and focus on what we are doing. sometimes though when it gets really bad i just stop the feeding and take a break for a few minutes and start up again on the opposite side. This seems to work for now anyway. Good luck!

Becky - posted on 08/06/2009

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Isn't this stage fun? I am currently going through the biting stage (3 teeth!!) I found the most effective thing right now is if he pinches, I just hold the hand that is scratching and say no scratching or pinching, he stopped after a couple of days. With the biting I loudly say OUCH and pull him off and say no biting. He will often cry when I startle him but will stop if he is still hungry. If he's kind of just playing at the breast I give him 2 chances and if he keeps doing it I stop the feed. This has been pretty effective for me. They can't bite when they are actually eating because the tongue sticks over the bottom gums, it's when they are distractied or just playing at the breast. I have found it so odd to try to teach my boy something when he has no clue what I am talking about. Don't give up, this too shall pass. Just don't let yours make it into a game. If it seems like he thinks your response is funny, stop the feed and try again when he is serious about eating.

Santeiria - posted on 08/02/2009

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I know exactly what you mean. My son started to do the same thing at around the same age. He's seven months now and biting (ummm...yea and it's sooo much worst than the scratches) so I just want to let you know that you are not alone. It does get better because I had to learn that even if you baby doesn't understand exactly what no/you can't do that means, eventually if you keep telling him those same words, firmly, but not loudly, and seriously he'll realize that this is something he shouldn't do. Hope this helps!

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Marlee - posted on 09/07/2013

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I came here looking for answers to the same question! Mine is doing this too and it hurts! My first never did but when she got teeth she bit me a few times. It sounds counterintuitive but for biting don't pull the baby off! I can't think of a nurturing way to describe it, but hold the back of the baby's head and push her further into your breast. She won't like it and open her mouth to release you from the bite. I only had to do it three or four times and she never did it again. She breast fed for 6 more months. As far as the pinching, holding her hand is working but man, a seven month old is stronger than one would think!

Amanda - posted on 08/07/2009

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My baby is 6 mo and used to do the same thing. What worked the best for me was if i put my finger in his little hand he would hold on to it, or let him scratch my hand (which is less painfull). I also started clipping his nails at least everyother day which made the clawing less painful and more cute

Elizabeth - posted on 08/06/2009

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my midwife told me that babies touching, pulling, grabbing at the breast helps stimulates milk flow (particularly at the beginning of a feed), so maybe that's why they do it? my little one is only 5 weeks old and doesn't have the co-ordination to do that yet, thank goodness!

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My daughter does that too and I just grab a blanket and put it in her hand or give her something small to hold on to or my finger and she's pretty content then.

Emily - posted on 08/06/2009

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My daughter did the same thing starting around 4 months (still does sometimes). Have you noticed if she's pulling off in response to some sort of distraction? My daughter will pull off suddenly if my husband walks in the room or if the phone rings or there's a loud noise. If you haven't tried this already, try nursing in a darkened, quiet place with limited distractions and see if it helps. Good Luck!

Mary - posted on 08/05/2009

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my daughter is 7 and half months old now and she is pretty good. theres and occasional bite, more like gumming me because she has no teeth, and she does pull off and on sometimes. she has started to pull on my breast, pinching it, its new.

Heather - posted on 08/05/2009

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I understand! My daughter is six and a half months now, and she has been doing this for about a month, and it kills! My nipples are so chapped and cracked from her doing it! She has no teeth, but she has even started biting me, which still hurts A LOT even without teeth! I have started telling her no and putting her down on the floor for a minute when she does it, trying to teach her not to. Unfortunately she hasn't gotten it yet and laughs at me when I tell her no. I'm hoping that she gets it soon, because my nipples hurt all the time now! I wanted to continue nursing for as long as she wanted, but if she doesn't stop I have seriously considered weaning her! Then I feel guilty for even thinking it because I know breastmilk is the best! Here's to hoping our babies get over it!

Annette - posted on 08/04/2009

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oh that is just the begining, at least for me it was. he continued to be all difficult, especially in public for a while, then graduated to grabbing my face and throat REALLY hard. now he'll suck for a few secs, yank off (horrible feeling) and smile and laugh then latch back on for a few and do it again, over and over again. til I put him on the other boob and he nurses peacefully there for some reason, haha. I think it's just a phase though and he doesn't to all the really annoying things he did around 4 or 5 months, just different annoying things, lol. but I just take him off, end the session and try again later, maybe in a different environment which so far seems to work.

Claire - posted on 08/04/2009

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I wish I had a solution to suggest, I'm just posting to say that I totally understand. And unfortunately for me, it's only gotten worse now that my daughter's 10 mos. She beats me up sometimes!! not that she means to, but she's got top and bottom teeth now and occasionally bites when latching on (ouch!) and then she likes to pull on my skin like you were talking about. She doesn't understand if I try to say no, I usually just pull her off if she bites and take a breather. Good luck!!

Nikki - posted on 08/02/2009

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No solids yet - he is about every 3 hours - sometimes 2.5 during the day, but he does sleep all night. Sometimes it hurts so much I tear up. I will try the firm voice. When he latches/unlatches I usually keep him off for at least a minute because once he starts he won't stop. I'm just wondering if it's coming out too fast or not enough. Who knows. He is gaining weight fine and his diaper count is good - so I feel good about the amount. Thank you both. Breastfeeding doesn't come easy for everyone so I implore those who try it. I will stick it out - just wondering if anyone else has had the same issues. 8)

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