5 yr old son wont stop touching my breasts

My 5-year-old son can not stop touching my breasts.  He does not do it to other women, just me.  He will walk up to me and just rest his hands on them.  He will reach and touch them when I strap him into his car seat.  He rubs/caresses them in his sleep as if they are his security blanket.  He motorboats me. The list goes on and on. I am at my wit's end trying to get him to stop.  I move his hands away, tell him no, slap his hands, tell him "no boobies".   We have had the talk about how our bodies are private and nobody should touch your private parts. His father says it is because I breastfed him too long until he was 2.5.   I know that is not the reason and it needs to be stopped.  I don't know what else to do as nothing I have tried has worked, although it has become less often since SIP began.

[Moderator note: this question has been asked quite a few times in the past. See "Child's Fascination with Breasts" ]

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This sounds developmentally normal and I agree with you that it's not because you breast-fed too long.  It also sounds like something that you are uncomfortable with and that you are ready to have him stop doing this.  It sounds like you are already giving him good clear messages about the fact that you don't like him to touch your body in this way.  It's possible that he is testing limits and is responding to your discomfort. It's also possible that he's just seeking comfort because breasts were a way that he got comfort from you for a long time.  It seems like it's important to calmly and firmly continue the message that this isn't how you want to be touched by him.  At the same time, can you offer him another form of comfort and cuddling.  "I don't want you to touch my breasts, but I would like to give you a cuddle and hug if you want to do that." Is there a comfort object that he likes that he could hold while you are snuggling with him?  If he doesn't stop when you ask and redirect him, I think you could try standing up, moving away, and physically (and gently) stopping him.  But maybe just for a moment, and then as soon as he's stopped, come back and offer the alternative form of comfort and physical closeness.  Over time it seems like the combination of the calm and firm limits with the other ways of being close to you will help him move on from the breast obsession.  It also sounds like getting your husband on board with the plan would be important. If your son is hearing your husband's disapproval of his behavior, that may also make it into a bigger deal and increase his persistence. 

My son is the same however, in this case luckily, I don’t have a husband telling me what to do. He finds comfort and security in them which makes sense! It’s your husband sexualizing this not your son. As long as your ok with it and it doesn’t bother you that’s all that matters. He understands not in public like his other favorite, being naked. In my experience it lessens and then stops. I would trust your own intuition and tell your husband to mind his own. 😉 

His dad is half right, as your son is certainly seeking comfort from your breasts - but he's way wrong that you breastfed "too long." In fact the WHO recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 years. Of course he doesn't do it to other women - it has nothing to do with breasts being breasts or a sexual part of women - it's just a very comforting, nurturing part of his MOM. It sounds like you might be feeling like the fact that he's your son, vs your daughter, is part of this. I can assure you it's not. I have close friends with girls who stroked and lay on their mom's breasts for YEARS - until much older than 5. This is, IMO, well in the range of normal. Punishing him by slapping or anything else harsh is inappropriate. Why do you think it's happening less since SiP began? I would guess it's partly that he's slowly maturing, and partly that he has you around more, and feels less anxiousness and need for you. The more secure and loved he feels, the less he'll seek comfort in ways you don't like. 

My son did this too, and after a while (but later than 5!), I needed him to stop, at least in public. He could understand this - when he was awake. Your little one will not be able to stop caressing you in his sleep! We bought a lovey together - a very soft stuffed animal. And when he started to stroke me and I wanted him to stop, I'd kindly say, "where's your panda? this is a good moment for panda." etc. and hand over the bear. Just redirect like you would any other toddler or young child behavior. They're learning, so teach - with compassion. No way can he grasp that your breasts - his food, drink, comfort and love for years! - are now suddenly your "private parts."

Don't fear that he'll never leave you alone and pull away. He will. He will eventually pull completely away and leave you completely without him, except by calls and emails, 99% of the time. You are enjoying the best years right this moment. Feel joy and gratitude and go easy on your extremely young child.

I breastfed my kids two years each and they did not touch my breasts constantly, so I do not think it has anything to do with you breastfeeding 2 1/2 years. Breastfeeding is protective against breast cancer! I would just keep gently reminding your son that your breasts are not for him to touch now. I am sure it will pass!

Just a thought...  I used to work in a daycare and one of the four-year-olds started behaving towards baby dolls in ways that were inappropriate and surprising. Nothing we said or did helped. It turned out that while at his uncle's house, he'd come across a stash of "girly" magazines that the uncle thought was well hidden. Once they knew what was going on, the parents were able to get the stash moved and talk to the boy about what he'd seen. It was pretty heady stuff for a kid that small--strange and compelling and scary at the same time. He expressed his feelings in a active, physical way rather than talking about it. I am not saying at all that something like this is happening, but it would explain a lot. Computers, magazines, television, movies...a lot of strong images are as close as our phones, iPads, and laptops. Even the best parents can't know everything their kid could have seen. And it would make sense that he would exhibit behavior towards you as his "safe person" and "main female."

I breastfed my son till 3.5 years old, and even though now at almost 5 he remembers nursing and asks if there is still milk in the boobies, he is not otherwise obsessed with them.  My daughter is 8 and nursed till (2.5 years old) and she actually seems to get comfort from putting her head on my breasts when she is cuddling with me.  It might be just a comfort thing for your son, I don't think it has anything to do breastfeeding long. 

Just wanted to chime in that my daughter is the same. She'll be 5 years old in April and loves my breasts. She does everything you listed. She's even said that she loves me more than dad because I have breasts. Actually, she also grabs his chest and nipples, too! What we've done is talked about consent. There is a good comic book called "Consent for Kids" by Rachel Brian. It's for older children but we change some of the words to make it fitting for her age. When my daughter tries to do all things (grabbing, etc) I gently yet firmly let her know that she needs to have consent to touch that part of my body. Then I gently, but firmly, remove her hands or face. Then I say I would want everyone to have consent from her when they touch her body. And then I have to do it over and over and over again. She definitely understands the concept of consent now, and she knows to ask me before touching my breasts. If she tries to touch my breasts before asking for consent, I stop her and say that she forgot to ask for consent. Then she asks. The answer is always no, but she's allowed to ask, right? Ha. It's not my favorite stage in the world and the repetition is killing me, but I can see change happening and I think we're setting her up for larger concepts later on.

I think this is normal and will pass. My second child is 5 now and still does this. She calls them squishies and will snuggle into them or sometimes grab or try to touch them. I gently remind her not to when she is trying to grab or squeeze. My older child did not do this, but similarly, after he stopped breastfeeding he became obsessed with my armpits and every chance he got would stick his hands in them. Kind of funny. Just don't make it too big a deal. You can do the gentle reminders and have him stop but I wouldn't worry about it. And don't listen to your husband. Your son is just seeking comfort and this isn't abnormal or something you caused.

If you're right that your breasts feel like a "security blanket" for your son, I wonder if he would be more responsive to being presented with an alternative, like "you can give me a hug" or some other special gesture between you that you are comfortable with, like a head-rub or a hand-squeeze. That way he can learn a new ritual for getting closeness from you.