My 14-MO Daughter Pinches Herself Until She Bruises: Advice?

QUESTION:

Hey, moms! My 14-month-old for the past two months will not stop pinching her nipples.

I noticed shes leaving little bruises sometimes on her tater tots, which is why I’m trying to get her to chill out. All I find online is referencing breastfeeding moms with twiddling.

Any of you moms dealt with this? And what was your personal movement with it? I don’t mind it, but she’s being a little rough with it! Thanks."

RELATED QUESTION: How Can I Teach My Toddler Not to Hit or Bite?

TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“Sadly, my now-20-year-old did this when she was younger… yes she was breastfed, it started when she was a little more than a month old. She would try to squeeze mine as she fed off the other. I’d move her hand away each time. So she began doing it to her own. Although at first I thought nothing of it, by the time she was two (still nursing) I realized what a bad habit this was. She only squeezed her right nipple as she’d nurse. Over time I’d redirect her physical behavior and try to give her something to keep her hands busy, but soon noticed she was doing it while watching TV, on car rides, or self-soothing to sleep. Unfortunately, she now has one huge nipple and one “normal” nipple. She hates it and is embarrassed by it. Her 18th birthday she decided to pierce her nipples so they were both “hard” looking constantly. Stop it while you can.”

“Honey, ask her doctor. People are so judgemental these days and the first thing most people think is she’s being abused. There are way too many negative Nancies out there and most of them probably don’t have kids.”

“Self-harm releases endorphins that help the individual feel better it becomes a coping mechanism. It can be difficult to treat children who self-harm because it is such an effective technique for the child. Regardless of the reason for the behavior whether emotional or social the harm becomes a part of who they are and how they identify themselves. Find out if there is a certain time that she does this? After not getting her way, ignored etc… It could be a way of getting your attention. It does however need to be addressed with the child’s doctor.”

“She may have an allergy or itchy tater tots… maybe show her how to put lotion on them…they are obviously bothering her. Take her to the doctor if you feel it’s not usual… don’t listen to these yahoos that wonder has she been touched… go the medical route first.”

“My daughter did this for months and it drove me crazy! I always kept a shirt on her but sometimes she would do it through her shirt. I just always told her please don’t pinch your boobies(she calls mine that). She literally just stopped one day. They are also very sensitive at that age, their whole body.”

“You could always put mittens on their hands; it won’t pinch as hard.”

“My 4yo calls them her ‘boobie knuckles’! Maybe a sensory thing? Does she express any other behaviour that isn’t typical?”

“Try giving her a blanket or something she can stroke instead to self-comfort.”

“Bandaids over them? I never had this problem but maybe if she can’t feel them she won’t grab them? Just a thought. Hope everything works out!!!”

“Maybe get her some squishy stress release toys! Right when you see her about to pinch, introduce a toy. Have her distracted with that. She’ll forget about it!”

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20 Likes

I simply tell my daughter that she needs to leave her nipples alone and they are not for her to play with and that works for a couple days, and yes I have to tell her not to do it like 20 times in 5 mins but she gets tired of me saying it and stops, try a shirt or sweater too

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1st of all, using words and praises such as “tater tots” instead of the actual terms for body parts, is how sexual abuse and grooming is kept hidden. Use the proper terms with your kids.

90 Likes

Make sure she knows the real names for vagina, nipples, butt, I just want to point out how important that is. I would just tell her that she can do as she pleases, but be gentle so she doesn’t hurt herself. Do not shame her, it’s totally normal for them to check things out.

My daughter did this for months and it drove me crazy! I always kept a shirt on her but sometimes she would do it through her shirt. I just always told her please don’t pinch your boobies(she calls mine that). She literally just stopped one day. They are also very sensitive at that age, their whole body

1 Like

She could be doing it because you give her the attention she is looking for…pay less attention to it and the behavior may stop…worked with my 3 kids when they did similar things

2 Likes

Please stop referring to your daughters nipples as tater tots. She will learn to call them this phrase and that is not okay. Giving fun/cute names to private body parts instead of calling them by their real names leaves children vulnerable to grooming and sexual abuse.

55 Likes

For the love of God please do not refer to them as tater tots!

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One call them boobies or breasts it completely eliminates any question if god forbid someone else is touching her wrong so she can say plainly that they are, 2 keep a shirt on her and take her hands away when you see her doing it saying no. It’s pretty normal but the more attention you give her for doing it other than the redirection of her hands & saying no will just make her do it more. My son was obsessed with his penis every diaper change he’d grab it and start pinching & pulling it out from the sides, he now isn’t to interested in it because I said no you don’t do that to your penis and moved his hands away or told him it’s not going anywhere and removed his hands🤷🏽‍♀️ now at diaper changes he doesn’t mess with it unless he’s about to pee then because he’s seen daddy hold his to pee in the potty he does the same.

  1. Refer to body parts by their anatomically correct terms. Penis, vagina, breasts are not bad words and knowing them helps keep kids safe from sexual abuse. I’ve also been told by social workers that if a child uses words like “cookie” or “tater tots” while reporting sexual abuse, their testimony is invalid. They have to use proper terms. Please start using the correct words now, rather than having to break the habit later.
  2. put bandaids over her nipples. It may stop it. That’s what I was told to do when my babe kept twiddling during nursing, maybe it’ll have the same effect. She won’t be able to access her nipples, so she’ll lose interest.

Can everybody stop going after her for using nick names…

I think she got the point 20 comments ago folks!! :roll_eyes:

34 Likes

Let’s be straight, real quick, some parents, myself in this category, do not have the luxury of their children ever being anywhere but home- I say luxury because a break would be great. He is now 4 1/2 and I’ve been away from him probably a total of 2 weeks his whole life (left then only with my mother and/or his dads mother/father) I’m not saying for a second that protecting our children isn’t important, but i feel in today’s world it’s equally important to protect their innocence. My son has always referred to his nipples as “pickles” which is hands-down the cutest thing ever. He pinches his own the second he is shirtless… and this has been for years… I’ve never thought anything of it… never bruising mind you, but he knows their there. I don’t have any advice as far as that goes… but let your kids be kids for as long as they can be, if you know they’re safe… their “tator tots” ain’t ruining anyone’s day but yours :woman_shrugging:t2:

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there is a disorder my sister has which can cause you to pick at yourself… she picks at her ears. you can take meducine for thst sort of thing. talk to her pediatrician about obsessive pinching and picking. what shes doing could lead to self mutilation.

Maybe she just referred to them as tater tots on here because she was uncomfortable talking about her baby’s body parts with strangers…

20 Likes

Some people just has to talk

First of all tater tots is not at all an acceptable replacement for nipples or boobs. You should never name probates after food. Secondly she’s probably just noticing that she has what she has and you have what you have. She might be wondering when she will be more like you.

9 Likes

Sadly my now 20 yr old did this when she was younger… yes she was breastfed, it started when she was a little more than mo no old. She would try to squeeze mine as she fed off the other. I’d mover her hand away each time. So she began doing it to her own. Although at first I thought nothing of it, by the time she was two (still nursing) I realized what a bad habit this was. She only squeezed her right nipple as she’d nurse. Over time I’d redirect her physical behavior and try to give her something to keep her hands busy but soon noticed she was doing it while watching tv, on car rides or self soothing to sleep. Unfortunately she now has one huge nipple and one “normal” nipple. She Hates it and is embarrassed by it. Her 18 bday she decided to pierce her nipples so they were both “hard” looking constantly. :woman_facepalming:. Stop it while you can

3 Likes

Wow, way to be judgemental assholes for real. Pretty sure she asked for advice not to be bombarded with “your kid is gonna be molested because you call her nipples tater tots.”

Omg, everyone calm down about the little name she gave for her child’s nipples! As a mother of 4 I have always used different little names for body parts mostly bc our babies are so innocent to us that it seems a little bad to call it the actual terms at these ages and we want our children to remain innocent as long as possible! Trust me they learn quickly what the actual name of the body part is and I agree once they are above 3 or 4 years of age you can start to tell them what the body part is and is actually called and I only started doing that bc I read that if your child God Forbid was ever sexually abused and had to be questioned in court etc that if they dont call the body part by the actual term then it cannot be used as actual evidence…but nobody really wants to look at your 2 year old and say “vagina” or “penis” it just dont sound right for a baby lol

No wonder they say mom groups are a nightmare!! Thank God their wasn’t any when I was having kids… You people are not nice to each other at all!!

69 Likes