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Breastfeeding Aversion – What Helped You?

“I felt so irritated when my baby was nursing.” “Nursing made my skin crawl.” “I couldn’t stand another moment with my baby at the breast. We had to stop that nursing session immediately.”

Has this ever happened to you? Perhaps it was a one-time occurrence, or maybe it happens on a regular basis. Maybe you’ve discovered these negative feelings arise only at certain times: when you’re tired, around the time of your period, during pregnancy, etc. However you experience it, Breastfeeding Aversion and Agitation (BAA) is a very real phenomenon and one that often leaves those who experience it feeling guilty.

When La Leche League USA brought this topic up on Facebook, readers were quick to chime in with their experiences and what they did to alleviate the negative physical and mental aspects of BAA. Below are excerpts from that conversation, including a number of resources that provide more information about BAA: why it occurs, who does it affect, and how to combat this phenomenon in order to continue breastfeeding.

“Yes, it happened with each of my two children around age two. It began with nighttime feeds, so ultimately I gently night weaned. I also became pregnant, and then it intensified. It had gotten to where I dreaded nursing and had to clench my jaw and make fists, the aversion was that strong. Given the age my nursling was at, I decided to fully wean, taking it, in my case, as nature’s sign that it was healthier for me mentally to be done and to be able to focus my physical energies on the new baby growing inside instead. Our own bodily autonomy matters, too, and is our first example of consent with our children. It’s okay to begin to place boundaries when you feel it has become needed for your own mental health. But only you will truly know when that’s time.” – Emily S.

Heather and her daughter

“I had it on and off for these two years of nursing my babe. It’s awful and scary and the negative emotions are overwhelming. Honestly, I just had to push through because when I was able to think logically (when she’s not latched) I knew I wanted to do this for her.” – Heather F.

“Once my period returns, I feel it right before and during my period. I have to distract myself by reading or playing a game on my phone while they’re nursing because I just want them to be done. I’m fine again once my period is done.” – Courtney C.

“I did but discovered it was attributed to undiagnosed Postpartum Anxiety. Once I started on medication, I was right as rain. For me, it started around four to five months postpartum. Nursing would make my skin crawl. I’d clench my jaw and fists. I hated that rage feeling I’d get and I knew it wasn’t normal.” – Athena C.

Kumara nursing her children

“When aversion hit, it was bad. It took all my love thoughts away. I wanted to nurse. I wanted to breastfeed until toddlerhood. I wanted to do it. Luckily, I found articles and posts that made me feel like I’m not the only one. There are so many other moms going through the same right now; we all deal with it differently.” – Kumara K.

“Try magnesium supplements (I like the spray or drink) and make sure you’re getting enough other electrolytes and vitamins and water and sleep. This really helps with nursing aversion.” – Cassie J.

“When my little was two, I night weaned. The break from nursing at night and eventually the extra sleep was helpful in managing my aversion.” – Lara J.

“I have had several aversions. It’s usually when I’m busy doing something or just want to relax, and it feels like I’ve lost all rights to my own body. I just pushed through them and focused on how I said from the very beginning that I’d allow her to wean naturally, when she’s ready.” – Shelby S.

Stephanie and her family

“When my first son was born, I felt so yucky at first when nursing him. Like, I felt dirty and annoyed. I don’t know why. I credit my husband’s support and positive affirmation to helping me turn it around. He was amazing and helpful and let me know constantly how wonderful he thought nursing was. And he was protective of us when I nursed in public. I successfully breastfed my first for just over a year, then my second son I nursed until just past his second birthday.” – Stephanie M.

“I said positive affirmations and made sure all my needs were met. Eating, drinking, showering, praying, writing, and trying my best to keep oxytocin flowing (helped) so the aversions didn’t stay long or they weren’t as bad as the worst ones I have had.” – Shena J.

“We weaned. It wasn’t worth it to me to potentially ruin my breastfeeding journey with my second child (due in July) to continue nursing my toddler. We created new comforting rituals to replace the nursing.” – Courtney S.

Resources


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