The Grabby, Grabby Baby (Is This Behavior “Normal”?)
My 1 yr old nephew discovered I have breasts and started grabbing them.
He even attempts to go into any low-cut shirts to grab them. He just focuses on them all of a sudden! He raises his arms and the minute I pick him up he just…starts grabbing them. Is he okay?
This is normal and common behavior by young children
HA! Yes. Your nephew is absolutely okay. This is super common behavior, at not just at this age. Babies, toddlers, even preschoolers get grabby around boobs. They’re right there! They’re soft and kind of squishy! They’re like a toy that comes attached to only half of the humans they encounter! (And if your nephew was/is breastfed, then he’s got an extra reason to find breasts particularly fun and magical.) There’s nothing abnormal or sexual about what he’s doing (obviously).
It’s the same impulse that causes some babies to perpetually be yanking eyeglasses, or hair, or noses. They find them different or interesting, and their default mode for exploring things they find different or interesting is to grab with all their little might and squeeze/twist/pull/shove it in their mouth.
Tips to help set boundaries
But, that doesn’t mean YOU have to be okay or comfortable with the behavior. Boundaries!
When he dive-bombs for your shirt, say a simple “No, thank you” and redirect his hands to something more appropriate. Hand him a toy or a plastic spoon or a book or your car keys or whatever. (This is exactly why they make all those chunky baby-friendly teething necklaces and such — you can wear something fun that he can grab and yank and bite…that isn’t part of your actual body or the hair attached to your scalp.)
If that doesn’t redirect him and he does it again, put him down. Don’t make a huge deal or give him a “big” reaction (then that will become his fun! new! game!). In time — and I mean IN A LOT OF TIME, because 1-year-old babies require a lotttttttt of repetition — he’ll learn that grabbing you there means he gets put down and no more fun/attention/cuddles with Auntie.
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Photo source: Depositphotos/sergeypeterman