My Toddler Is Obsessed with Grabbing My Boobs ... How Do I Get Her to Stop?

“Help! My toddler keeps grabbing my boobs, which is really awkward when we’re out in public. Why is she doing this (and how do I get her to stop)?”

Without knowing more about your specific situation, it’s hard to say exactly why your toddler is engaging in this behavior, but rest assured that it’s actually very common (and nothing to panic about).

Children who have recently weaned from breastfeeding will often grab at breasts out of habit. They also do this when they have learned to associate mommy’s breasts with self-soothing. And yet another possible explanation is that your toddler is just plain curious or might like the way your breasts feel!

Whatever the reason, you’re at the point where you want the behavior to stop. So, how do you do that? Set clear boundaries. Tell your child that she touched mommy’s breasts already and knows what they feel like, and now that she’s growing up there is no more touching of private body parts—in public or in private. You can do this while gently lifting her hand away from your breast. She may protest but stay firm (in an empathetic way, of course).

Another option is to give your child a transitional object. For some, this is their thumb, but it could also be a soft silky blanket, pillow, or cuddly stuffed animal. This object can help comfort your child when sleepy, anxious or frustrated. If she is not excited about any of these things, see if you can interest her in one of your old soft white T-shirts (unwashed so that it smells like mommy).

Bottom line: This behavior won’t last forever, but you can help curb it by communicating openly with your child and creating reasonable boundaries.

Dr. Fran Walfish is a California-based family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent.

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