As anyone who knows anything much about breastfeeding an older child will tell you, “twiddling” is a fairly common phenomenon. For the uninitiated, “twiddling” refers to the nursing child playing about with the spare nipple as she or he nurses on the other side. Can be annoying, can be nice – either way it stimulates oxytocin and thereby gets the twiddled breast ready to deliver loadsa milk once the child is ready to switch sides.

I’ve often wondered how a child learns this, that twiddling a nipple will increase milk flow. Turns out, based on my statistically insignificant sample of one, that they don’t.

ME: Hey you, why do you play with my boob like that?
HER: [No answer, too polite to talk with mouth full]
ME: Honey? Why are you playing with my booby?
HER: [Mouth still full, but not so full that she can’t reply witheringly – I could almost here the “duh” at the end.] BECAUSE, I like your booby.

So there you go. She just likes it, no ulterior motive involved, any lactational advantages an unlooked-for bonus.

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