Nursing Aversion/Nursing Agitation

tandemlogoWhat they don’t tell you about nursing during pregnancy or tandem nursing.

Nursing Agitation/ Nursing Aversion is a common experience between pregnant or tandem nursing mothers. It affects one third of pregnant or tandem nursing mothers. It is a feeling of agitation, annoyance, or even physical revoltion, “skin crawling”, the mother gets while nursing the older child. It’s thought that nursing aversion/agitation may be caused by the body instinctively telling the mother it’s time to wean in preparation for a new baby.

As common as this is it isn’t something I had ever heard about until I went through it myself and did some research. When I found out I was pregnant Marcus and I were so extremely excited, and after talking about it we decided that I was going to tandem nurse. As most of you know since I’ve posted before about my plans to extend breastfeeding and tandem nurse. So once I found out I was pregnant I continued to nurse Jellybean. I blogged before about my struggles with breastfeeding during this pregnancy in my Extended/Tandem Breastfeeding blog. So most of you know about my milk drying up and how┬áI was continuing to comfort nursing and a few weeks later my colostrum came in, and this is when my nursing agitation/aversion started. I was about half way though my pregnancy. For me the nursing aversion/nursing agitation started with having feelings of annoyance whenever Jellybean would want to nurse. Even the feeling of him sucking made my “skin crawl”, like nails on a chalk board or when your knife slips while cutting something on your plate and makes that squeaky sound. Staring down at my sleeping baby nursing all I wanted to do was rip my boob out of his mouth. I felt terrible. I felt like a horrible mother. “How on earth could I feel this way about my child? What happened to feeling calm and relaxed and loving this bonding experience?” I felt ashamed and embarrassed so I decided to do some research. I instantly felt better knowing it was completely normal and common. As common as it is it seems like most mothers have never heard of it, and even those who experience it are just like me and to ashamed and embarrassed to admit it and just give up on breastfeeding. I was so determined to tandem nurse that I pushed through it and as my pregnancy has progressed the feelings became less and less and now I’m able to enjoy nursing Jellybean again.

It was extremely hard for me to deal with and even though I was determined to push through it I was still so ashamed. I never told or talked to anyone about. I didn’t even talk to Marcus about it until recently. He was extremely supportive as always and wondered why I never opened up to him about it. Luckily for me it has now completely passed which is good since my due date is tomorrow and Littlebean will soon be making his appearance which means we will be starting our tandem nursing adventure. The best advice I can give a mother who plans to breastfeed during pregnancy and tandem nurse is to talk to someone. Let someone know what your feeling. Make sure to have lots of people around you that completely support your decision to breastfeed. Try not to feel ashamed about something that is completely out of your control, and feel better knowing it’s very common. And last but not least if for some reason it gets to a point where you can’t handle it anymore and decide to stop breastfeeding don’t beat yourself up about it. We all do the very best we can as mothers, and our own health and sanity is extremely important too. Healthy Mommy means a Happy Baby.

Here are some things that helped me:

1. Distraction – While nursing try to keep yourself distracted. I normally either have my phone close by to cruise around Facebook or Pinterest. Some times even just watching tv helps keep your mind off of it.

2. Schedule – Having some what of a schedule and timing nursing sessions. I have an app on my phone that I keep track of all feedings and time left and right breast. Knowing how much longer you have left to nurse helps a little bit.

3. Sit up right – For whatever reason this helps. Trying to lay down and relax for whatever reason made my feels worse for me.

4. Support – Talk to someone about how your feeling. This page is great for getting support from other nursing mothers. Talk to someone close to you too, someone who is extremely supportive about your choice to breastfeed, that will help encourage you.

2 thoughts on “Nursing Aversion/Nursing Agitation

  1. Yes, this happened to me and I now have to say “No” during our initial “Don’t offer, don’t refuse” plan. Many don’t understand how horrible aversion really is. I nursed through pregnancy and the last time I let him nurse was literally for 2 seconds, as his sister was eating. I’m making the case for 2.5-year-old nursing is when he’s ill, which rarely happens anyway.

    Good luck, you’re not alone :)

    • I’ve been lucky that since my second baby was born it has pretty much disappeared. I’m successfully tandem nursing, although I’ll take it as comes. My 17 month old has definitely started nursing a lot more since second was born. Thanks for the comment and the like.

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