toddler hits baby if I breastfeed(32 Posts)
I've posted a similar thread about dd being jealous of new brother when he came home. She whacks him on the head if I breastfeed and it's driving me mad. Even if others are there to play with, she has new toys right next to her, or I put her favourite programme on TV, lavish her with attention etc. I keep saying 'no I can't let you hurt X' but I can't repeatedly unlatch. He only feeds for 7 mins! It's driving me mad.
Gosh how infuriating! I tell you what I'd do. I'd get a baby trap what are they called again? Play pens! I'd get one of those, stick her in it and sit there and feed.
When she stops hitting the baby then she can come out.
I think you need to be super strict. Sit her next to you beforbeyou feed with some story books, explain baby needs to eat, and you would like to read her some stories. If she hits baby tell her off, if she hits baby again take her down and strap in pram in the room or put in highchair. Explain she cannot hit, if she hits she cannot get nice stories.
Repeat all day until she sits nicely next to you and listens to the stories without hitting.
How old is she? They understand more than you think. If she is 2+ I wouldn't tolerate that behaviour.
She's 2.5yrs. I've tried saying, 'I can't let you hurt him.' And being calm etc etc. In truth, it's making me so infuriated that I'm having to forcefully pull her off him. Clearly I'd never hit my child, but I'm not exactly being gentle as she's so strong.
I really appreciate your responses by the way, thank you so much. I'm at the end of my tether.
I wonder if there's any chance she's regressing and would like you to feed/baby her? You don't want to make more work for yourself I'm sure but would giving her a bottle from time to time help get this out of her system?
She's never had a bottle - she was ebf due to dairy allergy and bottle refusal. She's asked to breastfeed but it's been 18 months and not going back there with her!! I think you're right that she wants to be babied so will think about how I can do it more xx
Have you tried inviting her to cuddle you with the other arm while you feed? If she hits him she has to get straight down and sit on whatever step/time out arrangement you have.
It is tricky and infuriating but the behaviour comes from hurting feelings not evil intent.
My DS is the same age as your DD and he more than understands that smacking is wrong, you need to be very strict with her and whatever you do, do not give in.
If this was my DS, before I fed the baby I would explain what was going to happen and the consequences if he smacks the baby, then tell him to go play with his toys and mummy will come play in 5 minutes.
If he smacked once I would remind him of the threat and that if he does it again I will carry it out.
If he smacked again I would carry out the threat, no exceptions. Not even if he apologised and cried etc, I'd still carry it out.
I'm not entirely sure what the consequences should be, because it's such a serious thing she's doing I'd put my DS up in his bedroom if this was him where he is safe. He'd probably cry and ask to come down, I'd say he can come back and play if he says sorry and that he won't do it again. I don't feel it'd make him feel pushed out, I think it'd just show him it's completely unacceptable and that mum WILL carry out the threats. It'd interrupt feeding the baby a lot at first but equally I know my DS would learn after the second or third time.
I'm mentioning my DS a lot because obviously I don't know your DD, OP! So I'm not entirely sure any of this will be useful for your DD but this is what I would do I think
I think being strict and consistent will be the quickest way around this.
I'd possibly consider giving her a baby doll so she can feed her baby at the same time as you and make it a bit of a game?
I agree with PP that her actions are coming from hurt feelings, it can't be nice for her.
Maybe my advice was a bit strict, I don't know! I suppose you could try the come cuddle approach or give her a baby to feed etc and hopefully it'll work.
I just know my DS has a very good understanding of smacking is wrong and I'd be wanting to stop the behaviour as fast as possible. He's good as understanding why he's in trouble and that he should apologise and not do it again. I don't know if your DD is the same!
I think you need to be strict but comfort her at the same time. So as above as long as she is kind to baby she can be cuddled, read to, lullabies in the other arm whilst baby feeds. But then need to be strict if she hurts baby in any way.
I used to feed on the floor and read a story/play with bricks etc when I fed dc at first. Sometimes just a cuddle with my other arm while watching cbeebies.
Sounds tough op, good luck
I agree with those who say she's hurt & jealous. She's very little! She's regressing & super jealous that the baby is 'taking her mummy away'. If you have that in mind and give her plenty of special time (well as much as you can) that will help.
I disagree with being super strict. She's only little! This will pass in time. Certainly don't allow her to hurt the baby, say no often & say we don't hit!
Is your DP/ DH around? Could he help a bit during this hard time?
We had this problem and dd was more like 3.5. A combination of being jealous and just over-excited about her little brother.
We worked with a combination of vigilance (never left them alone, put a hook on his door so I could go to the loo without her getting access to him) and extra attention to her.
One thing that really helped was a pretend game I invented where all three of us got into the bed and the bed became a car and baby brother was the driver (because lying flat on their backs and waving their hands in the air is pretty well all the contribution they can make at this age) and we drove off to all these different places where dd bought all these pretend items. The feeling that the three of us were off having adventures together was an enormous help. And I spent a lot of time reading stories and a lot of time singing to them.
Basically, I felt this issues was different from all the other naughtiness dd got up to, and that it was more important to build a longterm relationship.
If it is any consolation they are now both teenagers and absolutely adore each other. Dd takes ds out and treats him from her wages, ds has been a wonderful caring brother through years of dd's health issues which would have tried anyone's patience. Not sure I could have achieved that through punishing.
Corythatwas - that's really lovely, thank you for sharing
I fully recognise my dd has no evil intent! It's just that logistically its incredibly difficult to feed a baby whilst she is trying to hurt him. I've done time out but she doesn't understand it, I've tried singing, books, using a new doll (present from ds) and endless games and distraction, cuddles, the works...! I'm just not sure what other sanctions etc are appropriate as I can't leave her in her room, as she's only 2yrs and seems really cruel when she's clearly doing it out of jealousy. She'll even do it when my dh or her grandparents are there to play with.
I know there's no quick fix but all your ideas and your own experiences are extremely helpful. Thank you so much
One thing which worked for us was to have a special box of new (cheap!) toys that only came out during breastfeeding. I realise this is probably a variation on what you have tried already as it sounds like she has plenty of new toys...
Hope you find something that works. And repeat "it's only a phase, it's only a phase"..,
After being strict for ages I let mine feed at 2.5 when she kept asking. She couldn't do it properly and gave up bored. Never paid any attention to them since that day and stopped pulling the baby's head off multiple times each feeding.
That's a great idea to call it a 'breastfeeding box' and get out just for feeding! I'm worried she's getting very spoilt recently, but a few more sheets of stickers etc won't hurt!!
I'm genuinely worried she's going to hurt him one day. She pokes his eyes and I can't always get in quick enough to stop her. I want to make sure she knows how loved she is too, but I keep telling her I can't let her hurt him because it's absolutely true. I'd never forgive myself if she damaged his eyes because I was being too soft on her. xx
Was going to say what Roly said ^^ she probably just a wants to know she wouldn't be rejected even if she doesn't actually want to feed. I'm anticipating this with my weaned toddler when next baby arrives soon!
Dd1 used to do this when dd2 was born. She was the same age as your dd and would hit her on the head and say 'off'.
It does wear off in time but in the meantime maybe try to do things which encourages a bond between them and reinforce how much he loves her etc.
She's not spoilt - her world has been turned upside down. She's no longer the only centre of your attention and remember she's still a baby herself really.
Do you have siblings yourself or your DH? You could maybe show her pictures of when your younger sibling(s) were born?
I was also going to suggest a baby doll got her to bottle feed when you feed ds. Make a thing of changing nappies together aswell
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