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Ways to manage nipple twiddling and other nursing gymnastics

First... Why do babies/toddlers play with your nipple/breasts/hair/earrings, hit, etc? Multiple reasons: They are in the process of learning they are a separate being from mom/parent. Playing with the breasts/nipple can produce more oxytocin and trigger another letdown (more milk). The actions can reduce your baby’s stress or provide comfort. They are busy explorers.

If you want to reduce these antics, here are a few things to try:

🧸 Give your baby something else to play with like a soft small toy/cloth

💫 Wear a nursing/teething necklace (baby teething safe)

🫶🏾 Hold their hand or play with their fingers maybe even singing “This Little Piggy”

😌 Redirect - come up with a phrase like “soft, please” to say in a neutral voice and gently move their hands every time until they learn your boundary

🤱🏾 For younger/smaller kiddos - try a breastfeeding position that makes it harder for them to reach the other nipple etc

🙈 Cover the other nipple with your hand, fitted bra/clothing, silicone pasty, or bottle nipple held in place

With each method try to keep nursing a peaceful experience. If your baby/toddler gets frustrated, try another one.

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