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Pinching sleepy 1yo

Hello all,

My little girl has developed a habit of pinching when she is tired or falling asleep. I was able to put up with it when it first started but since then she does it a lot more frequently and a lot harder too. She pinches anyone who is holding her when she's feeling sleepy (me, my partner, grandparents etc) and also does it when falling asleep, it seems to comfort her...? She now rolls the skin between her nails and does it in the most sensitive places like our necks, under our arms and on my chest. Because it seems to comfort her, if she comes into bed with us and is unable to settle, she will spend all night pinching my arms, chest, neck, lips, anywhere that is within reach. If I'm lucky she will sleep rolled away from me but then she is pinching my partner all night. The combination of sleep deprivation and pinching could seriously be sold as a form of torture <span><span>lol.

The thing is though, because she is doing it when she's tired or falling asleep its really hard to discipline it. I have tried giving her a soft toy to feel instead but she has no interest in it, I have also tried wearing as many clothes as possible but she always manages to get to my skin somehow. I have also tried holding her hand but she seems to get no comfort from that, choosing to pinch the skin on my thumb or knuckles. In the past I have taken her hand off me to stop her pinching but she only puts it back on straight away and if I continue to do this, she gets angry and starts screeching at me. I have also tried socks on her hands at night which does work occasionally but sometimes she gets really cross that she can't pinch.

You have to understand that I can deal with it during the day because worst case scenario I can put her in the pushchair and take her for a walk to get her to sleep but at night this is not possible and I am also more desperate to get to sleep. Because she is tired (and often I am too!) I can't put her down and say no because its the middle of the night and I! I know that this is how I have gotten myself into this problem but I so want to get out of it, just without depriving her of her sleep, me of mine or my partner of his and causing unnecessary tears!

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? I have not heard of a baby pinching for comfort myself. And if you have experienced this, how did you get it to stop? Or did you just wait for your child to grow out if it?

Help or advice gratefully accepted!

Thanks in advance!


  • I have experienced this but unfortunately cannot offer any help.  My nephew used to pinch the skin on my sisters arm so much that his favourite area is now pure white with no skin pigment.  He is 9 now and if given the opportunity will still sneak a pinch when cuddling up.  I have a sticky out mole on my side that my own son likes to twist whilst he is nursing.  Very painful!

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