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Understanding Why Your Baby Pinches Herself: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’ve noticed that your baby often pinches herself, you may be feeling concerned. Rest assured, this is often just a part of infant development. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons why your baby might be pinching herself and what you can do about it.

Why Does My Baby Pinch Herself?

Babies explore their environment primarily through touch, and pinching is a part of this exploration process. From understanding their body’s response to different sensations, learning control over their tiny fingers, to self-soothing, babies pinch for various reasons.

The Sensory Development Aspect

Often, babies pinch themselves or others to understand the sense of touch. It’s their way of exploring the world around them and discovering their capabilities.

Seeking Attention

Babies could also resort to pinching when they are trying to grab your attention. If your baby gets a reaction from you when she pinches herself, she might continue to do so.

How to Respond When Your Baby Pinches Herself

If your baby’s self-pinching is causing distress or if it’s leading to self-injury, there are a few strategies you can implement to help.


Try to divert your baby’s attention when you see her starting to pinch herself. This could involve giving her a toy or engaging her in a different activity.

Teaching Gentle Touch

Help your baby understand the concept of ‘gentle touch’. This can be done by guiding her hand to stroke a pet gently or touch a soft toy.

Why Babies Pinch: The Basics

At what age do babies start pinching?

Babies typically start to pinch around 6 to 9 months, when their fine motor skills develop enough to allow them to grasp small objects or pinch with their fingers.

Why does my baby keep pinching herself?

Babies often pinch themselves or others as a way to explore their environment, test their strength, or comfort themselves. This can also be a sign of tiredness or restlessness.

Why do babies pinch when tired?

Pinching can be a form of self-soothing, a way for babies to manage the discomfort or restlessness they may feel when they’re tired.

Managing Baby’s Pinching

How do I stop my baby from comfort pinching?

You can discourage comfort pinching by offering a distraction, such as a toy or blanket. Encouraging your baby to use a pacifier or a soft toy can help them to find alternative methods of self-soothing.

How do you discipline a child for pinching?

When your child is old enough to understand simple instructions (usually around 2 years old), you can begin to explain that pinching hurts and is not nice. Use a calm, firm tone and be consistent.

How do I get my baby to stop twiddling?

Twiddling is similar to pinching in that it is often a self-soothing behavior. Distracting your baby with a toy or involving them in a new activity can help stop twiddling.

Pinching and Breastfeeding

Why does my baby pinch me while breastfeeding?

Babies may pinch while breastfeeding to get a reaction, to keep themselves awake, or as another method of self-soothing.

What if my baby bites while breastfeeding then laughs?

Biting during breastfeeding is often a sign that your baby is teething. If they laugh afterwards, it’s likely because they are enjoying your reaction.

Self-Soothing and Comfort Pinching

Should I stop my baby from self-soothing?

While it’s important to encourage healthy self-soothing habits, you may need to guide your baby towards alternatives if they’re using potentially harmful behaviors like pinching.

How long should you let a baby self soothe?

This varies by age and individual child, but generally, you can begin to let your baby self-soothe for a few minutes at a time around 4 to 6 months of age.

Why does my child pinch for comfort?

Comfort pinching is a self-soothing behavior. If your child is often stressed or anxious, they may use pinching to calm themselves down.

Understanding Sensory Behavior in Babies

Can babies pick up on your energy?

Babies are highly attuned to their caregivers’ emotions and can often sense stress or tension, which may cause them to react with behaviors like pinching.

Can babies sense mom in the room?

Yes, babies can recognize their mother’s scent, voice, and even her presence in a room, which can affect their behavior and emotional state.

Pinching and Autism: What Parents Should Know

Do autistic kids pinch?

Some children with autism might pinch or exhibit other sensory-seeking behaviors, though it’s important to remember that pinching alone is not indicative of autism.

What is self-soothing in autism?

Self-soothing in autism can involve a variety of behaviors, such as rocking, spinning, or pinching. These are often a way for the child to regulate sensory input or emotions.

How do I know if my child is not autistic?

While an evaluation by a professional is necessary for a definitive diagnosis, lack of social interaction, delayed language skills, or repetitive behaviors are common signs of autism. However, not all children displaying these behaviors will have autism. It’s always best to consult a medical professional if you’re concerned about your child’s development. Your Partner in Baby Sleep Training

It’s important to understand that pinching, especially during sleep, can be a self-soothing mechanism. Some babies may pinch themselves to fall back asleep or navigate through sleep cycles. If you’re struggling with your baby’s sleep habits, can be a wonderful resource. With expert tips and strategies, they can help you establish healthy sleep habits for your baby, reducing the need for self-soothing actions like pinching. Embrace the journey of parenthood with confidence with


While it can be distressing to see your baby pinch herself, understanding the reasons behind it can help you respond better. Remember to seek professional advice if the behavior causes harm or doesn’t decrease over time. You’re doing a great job, and every challenge you face is making you an even better parent.