also molly-coddle, by 1839 (implied in mollycoddling), from a noun (by 1828) meaning "overly pampered, fastidious, effeminate male," from Molly (pet name formation from Mary), which had been used contemptuously at least since 1754 for "a milksop, an effeminate man," + coddle (q.v.). Related: Mollycoddled.
All his pursuits had been sedentary; for he never went out but with his mother. He was not allowed to stroll about the farm with his father, lest he should get his clothes dirty and his feet wet. In short, he was what Giles Darman pronounced him to be--"a little mollycoddle." ["Babbington Droneham," Hood's Magazine, March 1844]