Breastfeeding aversion. This might very well be the first time you hear this term. I had an aha moment when I first read about it. I believe it was on Mayim Bialik’s parenting book. Then, I found the page www.breastfeedingaversion.com which I can’t really recommend enough.
Breastfeeding aversion is a phenomenon experienced by breastfeeding mothers when nursing. You might have negative thoughts, a feeling like claustrophobia while nursing. Your baby is latched, you can’t move, you feel trapped. Zainab Yate describes it very well at Kellymom.
While I don’t think I’ve experienced breastfeeding aversion, I think I came close. That’s why I had an aha moment reading Bialik’s book. So, this is normal? Do other mothers feel the same? This isn’t just my hormones acting up. Before and during my period I get very emotional. Even before my period came back, about ten months post-partum, I could feel the waves of emotions. My son was fussier. He wanted to nurse more. I wanted to be left in peace. The thought of another half hour sitting on the sofa with him nursing made my skin itch.
Once I saw that what I felt was very close to breastfeeding aversion I started doing some changes. Please note that I’m not saying that by doing this or that you will overcome BAA, I’m just saying that with some work I started feeling better.
Using a baby wrap or carrier regularly
Baby wraps and carriers are wonderful! I know it feels contra-intuitive to carry your baby with you when you feel touched up. The fact is my arms were free. I could mop the floors, take the dog for a walk or make porridge while nursing. It takes some practice, for sure. There are lots of models in the market. I would recommend going to a specialist who can show you different models and teach you how to wear them.
Long walks on nature while nursing
This was key. Once the wrapping up was sorted out, I committed to at least one 30 min walk daily. It was my dog, my baby and me. Sometimes we hiked up and down. Sometimes it rained. Sometimes the walk took an hour. I even remember going out at 10PM when he was teething. Moving gave me a sense of freedom. The exercise felt good and helped me sleep.
Doing some sort of quick exercise while baby napped
This, again, gave me some control over my body. I knew that with only 5, 10 or 15 minutes I could do something for my health. Keep my heart rate up. Feel better. There are plenty of HIIT workouts on YouTube. If you are lost but want to give it a try, I recommend Lucy Wyndham-read. All fitness levels and has a couple of videos with postnatal specific exercises.
Listening to podcasts while nursing
I binged on several podcasts while breastfeeding. For my is better than watching TV because it’s not as distracting for the little one. You can put your headphones on and listen. If you like history and cinema, try You Must Remember This.
Getting more me time
Even if that meant having dinner in my room while my husband and son had dinner together. Now, my husband puts my son in bed while I take the dog for a long walk. It’s the perfect way to unwind at the end of a long day caring for my son alone.
Follow IG accounts that dealt with this issue…
…notably, Breastfeeding aversion. The thing is that I don’t know many women who have breastfed for so long. So, I couldn’t call a friend who had already gone through this for support. I was afraid of loved ones suggesting weaning my son. I knew I wanted to continue this journey. I just needed some air to enjoy it.
To conclude, the solution to breastfeeding aversion is not to stop breastfeeding, this will only create more frustration to the mother. If your partner, friend or relative is going through this, listen to her, help her, keep her company and take on some of her tasks so she can have time for herself.
I hope this post helped you or a loved one. Please look for professional help if it gets to dark. There is no shame. Remember that there is a community of women out there going through the same. You are not alone.