(UPDATE) The Twiddling MUST. STOP. NOW. — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

(UPDATE) The Twiddling MUST. STOP. NOW.

Emerald27Emerald27
Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its
member
edited February 2014 in Attachment Parenting
I discovered a solution that's working for us for now, so I figured I'd share since I know other mothers struggle with twiddling too. I have an old box of nipple shields, and tonight I took one out and handed that to him when he tried to twiddle...he twiddled the shield instead! I can stick my finger inside it and hold it against my covered breast if I need to, but he has been content so far to play with it on his own. I could see a pacifier serving the same purpose, but I don't have any on hand (as one poster did suggest to me). :)
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I made a big mistake. When DS was tiny and started twiddling, he was gentle and it was cute, and I said "this is no big deal"...so I allowed it.

As he grew older and became less gentle, I disliked it more and more, but he would throw a FIT if I stopped him, or refuse to nurse. So I allowed it to continue. It was annoying but not a huge deal. Whatevs.

Now I'm pregnant, and my nipples are really sensitive. Nursing is not a problem (I think because the nipple itself is pulled so far back into his mouth while nursing so nursing really is putting most of the pressure on my breast tissue itself), but his twiddling drives me UP THE WALLS!

I can't take it. It takes every ounce of willpower not to slap his hand away when I nurse. It's brutal. Not painful, per se...just super overstimulating. TORTURE. Ok...I know I've made my point. ;)

So this is what I have tried thus far:

1. Nursing necklace
2. Tighter shirt
3. "You may nurse, but you may not twiddle. That hurts mommy." Gently moving hand away. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
4. Occupy hand with toy
5. Occupy hand with ear/hair/clothes - on DS
6. Hold hands

Nothing works! And he looks so very sad when I stop him.

Please please help. I LOVE nursing DS and would like to continue as long as he has the need/desire, and I am really interested in tandem nursing. I just can't take the twiddling and I need to find a gentle way to stop him that will not impact our nursing relationship (lately if I stop him from twiddling he just won't nurse).

Lastly, and if you've made it this far, thank you so so much, he has been waking very early in the morning now because when I nurse him he wants to twiddle and will wake if I stop him...so it's been a matter of choosing sleep and twiddle-torture, or waking up super early. :(
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thoughtfulmommy[Deleted User]TiffanyBerry[Deleted User][Deleted User]

Re: (UPDATE) The Twiddling MUST. STOP. NOW.

  • I think at some point you have to be firm (I'm assuming he's at least 2?). "If you continue to twiddle, you may not nurse." It's not like you're not giving him opportunities to stop. If he doesn't stop, unlatch him, put him down and walk around for a minute. Tell him he may try again, as long as he doesn't twiddle.

    I had to do this with my younger daughter when she was biting. It took maybe 5-6 times of putting her down and walking away before she got it.
  • yeah. said:

    I think at some point you have to be firm (I'm assuming he's at least 2?). "If you continue to twiddle, you may not nurse." It's not like you're not giving him opportunities to stop. If he doesn't stop, unlatch him, put him down and walk around for a minute. Tell him he may try again, as long as he doesn't twiddle.


    I had to do this with my younger daughter when she was biting. It took maybe 5-6 times of putting her down and walking away before she got it.
    He's 2 years and 4 months. :) I've thought about this, but I'm afraid it will cause him to wean. Oftentimes if he can't twiddle, he won't nurse. I want him to keep nursing (we both love it!), but I just want him to stop twiddling. Ugh!
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  • What about if he puts a hand on your stomach and can fiddle with your skin?  Can he "twiddle" your pinky finger, perhaps?  Did the nursing necklace have beads that were a similar size to your nipples?  It sounds like a muscle-memory finger thing that provides a lot of comfort.  (I sympathize.  For my daughter, it was pinching my stomach.  I was able to transition her to just having a hand on my belly (though I didn't care if she massaged it or grabbed gently).)

    And it's OK to tell him that you can't tolerate the twiddling any more, and if he chooses to wean because he can't twiddle, that is his choice too.  Boundaries over nursing are hard, but they're important too!
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    URMySunshine77jesuisfatigueecagoldi
  • a) How did I miss that you were pregnant?!! That's exciting congratulations!!

    b) I agree with pp that if he chooses to wean that is his choice. Equally you may find that he doesn't choose to wean, when it comes down to actually having to choose no nursing ever, or nursing without twiddling.

    c) Have you tried moving his hand so it's on your breast but not on the sensitive nipple?

    d) My LO uses a dummy/pacifier, so sometimes (if she's being super twiddly) helps to put a dummy in her hand. It's the same kind of shape/size, and I leave her arm resting at the same angle across my breast. If she goes back to my nipple, I remind her she needs to be gentle because Mummy is sore.
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    Emerald27jesuisfatigueecagoldi
  • I'm a strong believer that nursing is a relationship and that mama's feelings matter.  I ABHORE twiddling - can't stand how it feels!  So I don't think any mama should have to put up with it ;)  I would just end the nursing session and tell him he can't have milk if he twiddles.  He's old enough to understand that if done firmly but gently.

    And congrats on the pregnancy!
    [Deleted User]URMySunshine77jesuisfatigueecagoldi
  • DD was a pincher and when she was an older toddler I would give her a small satin blanket to hold when she was doing that.  She loved the silky texture and it would occupy her better than anything else and avoided the extreme freak-outs that would occur if I just abruptly stopped nursing.  I think the trick is to find the right alternative.  Of course, at age 2+ it is also fine to set limits because he is old enough to understand.  Congrats and good luck!
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  • congrats on your pregnancy! no suggestions, just commiserating here-- i find twiddling SO annoying. DS has this creeping twiddle hand... i gently take it away and put it by his side and immediately it starts inching back. reading this thread is inspiring me to make a more concerted effort to transfer the twiddling onto an object other than my nipple.
    jesuisfatiguee
  • Can you somehow completely cover the other nipple?  Llike with a thick bra, or a duct tape 'X' (kidding).  Put the scratchy side of Velcro or something unpleasant on the other boob so he doesn't want to touch it?

    I know it's a bit of a stretch and would need you to get creative to pull it off...but he may naturally choose not to want to touch the other breast if there is no nipple to twiddle?

     

  • Aagh... oh, mama. I feel your pain. Twiddling= so infuriatingly annoying. I honestly just got a wave of that awful feeling of wanting to scream just thinking about, haha

    I tried everything on your list, the only thing that really helped was time. It was awful for a bit, but when I had finally had enough and was consistent in saying, "You may not, that is owie to mommy," and moving his hand, it improved. I won't say it completely eliminated it- he has not nursed in probably 6 months and still tries to reach in my shirt as he's falling asleep, haha- but at 2 the problem is impulse control, not inability to comprehend he's not allowed to do something. Once he figured out I would not allow it, period, he would accept redirection much more easily.

    How long have you been trying to redirect him? He may just still be in the phase of "I used to be allowed, maybe if I persist I'll be allowed again!" My only recommendation is consistency.

    Hang in there...
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  • So glad you found a solution! That is a really smart idea!



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  • Genius!

     

  • I've tried this out but my 15 month old started biting down after I told her she can't touch it hurts mom. So I'm at a loss for now. Just a couple days ago chomped down now I have a cracked nipple and lo refuses to nurse with a shield and becomes very upset either way. I'm thinking teeth are coming soon
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