Twiddling while Breastfeeding is one of those challenges that can get my blood to boil. I’ll admit that our breastfeeding journey has been quite easy, but oh man – breastfeeding a newborn was definitely less eventful than a twiddling toddler!
There is never a dull moment with a toddler in the house. They come with a bucketful of fun surprises on a daily basis that keep parents on their toes. To begin with, just as you (finally) learn how to breastfeed, they turn around and start weird habits like twiddling during nursing sessions.
Now we are left with a whole new set of challenges to navigate.
What is Twiddling?
Lets start by learning what the word twiddling actually means: twiddling when referred to breastfeeding is the act of fidgeting with the nipple such as twisting, pulling or pinching it. However, It’s good to know that twiddling often happens while nursing because it’s a natural way to stimulate a letdown.
It’s very common to have never heard about this particular quirk until experiencing it first hand. No one told me ahead of time? I had no idea that twiddling was a thing until I read about it in a Facebook parenting group and my family had never heard of this term either/
Maybe I was going to be one of the lucky ones and I’d escape this uncomfortable act. Little did I know shortly after my toddler Luca’s first birthday, he started to develop a fascination for twiddling and I realized I needed to curb this activity pronto!
How do I Stop Twiddling while Breastfeeding?
Incase you do not enjoy it when your infant / toddler twiddles (Ugh and I DESPISE it), then it is time to let them know how you feel. I personally have developed a handful of ways to decrease the twiddles, one of which is to physically remove their hand and explain that it doesn’t feel good. (Consistency is key. Don’t expect overnight results in curbing the twiddling fascination).
“It’s very difficult to completely stop this behavior. Don’t get too mad if your kiddo is relentless with it. It can be very soothing for them.“-Mama Questions
Do all Nurslings Twiddle while Breastfeeding?
The longer I’m a parent the more I realize how different all children are. They all come with their own personality and quirks. Some like twiddling, some don’t, some pull on mama’s hair, some like caressing your face etc. toddlers don’t all respond the same way however, twiddling is very common.
5 Best and Proven Ways to Stop Twiddling while Breastfeeding
1. The Right Breastfeeding Top
I love the tank top and the breastfeeding bra listed below.
These two articles of clothing have been a life saver for me when breastfeeding Luca. Reason being that the nursing top unlatches from the shoulder strap making nursing your infant and toddler so much easier. When seeing photos of me with Luca as an infant I will cringe by the thought of breastfeeding without this amazing piece of article.
I can’t emphasize enough how much harder it is to breastfeed when you don’t have the right tools at your disposal, therefore and after 27 months of breastfeeding I can definitely say that this combo has paid for itself many times over.
==>You can find my recommended top here: Supplies Needed for Breastfeeding – Don’t Overcomplicate It<==
2. Nursing Necklaces
It is a little known fact that many mamas wear nursing beads on a regular and people will often swear by them because of how useful they can be.
The reason being that your toddler will stop twiddling your nipple if they can twiddle something else so it can be helpful to present an alternative object that is equally appealing. These beads will often do the trick for many nurslings so in conclusion you should head over to Amazon via my link below to check out some amazing nursing necklaces.
3. Block with your arm or just a finger
Sometimes the simplest strategies are the most effective. Take this cost-free approach for example.
Fold your arm over your other breast to physically keep your nursling’s hand from grabbing the nipple. Sometimes my toddler will try and push my arm away. Specially if he’s tiered and therefore more impatient. Just covering the nipple with your finger can sometimes be a good alternative if your toddler wants more general “boob contact”.
Speaking to your infant and toddler has proven to be a huge contributing factor to preventing toddler speech delays. Remember that their understanding is developed before their ability to verbalize thoughts, so speak to them about why you don’t like it when they twiddle while breastfeeding.
Start by communicating what your needs are and then move their hands away to show them where you’d prefer them to be. Do this repeatedly as needed. If my toddler Luca is not giving in I like saying : “It’s my body and I don’t like that” because it’s never too early to teach consent.
As a reminder, don’t worry that your infant or toddler might not be speaking yet because they understand far earlier than we give them credit for. If they are not listening it can be that its too difficult to refrain from touching your nipple. Following Gentle Parenting practices has really helped me be less stressed during disagreements with my son.
5. Take a break
Physically stepping away from a stressful situation is an underestimated yet very powerful strategy for calming your nerves. Yet with our toddlers and infants it can be one of the most difficult things to do (we all know of that mom guilt!). However, if your toddler is insatiable that day and won’t stop trying to twiddle while breastfeeding, don’t feel bad about taking a break.
Step away for a moment and tell your little one that you need to take a break. This can help them get twiddling off their mind and think of other things in hopes that it will lessen the fixation. It also gives mama a moment to collect herself if feeling extra irritated.
==>Are you taking care of yourself? 7 FREE Self Care Ideas for a Bad Day<==
It is true that breastfeeding can create great moments for bonding with your little one past infancy, but it also comes with it’s own set of challenges. Although absolutely despising twiddling while breastfeeding, the above hacks have made our breastfeeding sessions more manageable.
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What are the most challenging quirks that your toddler or infant exhibits when breastfeeding?
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