A breastfeeding relationship involves two people. In order for the relationship to remain a happy one it is important to address any underlying resentments or negative feelings that you might have. For me, negative feelings arise whenever my son decides that he has to twiddle, play with, pat, or otherwise touch my other nipple while he is nursing.
I can’t explain why this particular behavior bothers me so much, but it does. After hearing from others it seems that I am not alone. I will admit that this is something that has bothered me since almost the beginning of our nursing relationship, and it is something that I have always tried to head off. After two years(even after always being redirected when he reaches for my other nipple) he still tries almost every time he is nursing! After researching and speaking with other moms about this common behavior, I have compiled this list of suggestions for the mom who deals with this as well. Try one or a few of these options to see if it works with your child:
- Redirect their hand to your belly or arm(or somewhere you don’t mind being touched or fiddled with) every single time they reach for your nipple.
- Nurse from the opposite side during the night. In other words, offer your child the furthest breast so that you are lying on your other nipple. DO NOT do this if you are prone to plugged ducts or mastitis!
- Limit access through clothing. This works for some but my son just finds his way(and even if he didn’t it seems to still bother me over top of clothing as well).
- Provide a stuffed animal to play with and fiddle instead.
- Holding or play with little hands while nursing.
- Explain calmly and gently that it bothers you. Ex “I don’t like being touched there, you can rub my arm(hold this stuffed animal, hold my hand, etc..) instead”. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat….
So, I offer to you these suggestions to try as they seem to work for many moms. So…what gets under your skin?