Have you ever heard of breastfeeding aversion? No, I hadn’t either, not until I turned to Google to find out why suddenly, breastfeeding was making my skin crawl.
It’s actually pretty common, apparently. it is feeling touched out, like your skin is crawling and generally hating breastfeeding. For me, thankfully, it’s temporary, and linked to my periods, but I wish I had known about it earlier. It scared me a little bit how one day I loved breastfeeding – and I really do love it – and the next it was literally making me feel sick. However, as quickly as it started, it passed, and we were back to normal. Until it happened again.
Breastfeeding aversion can happen for various reasons, but as I said above, for me, it is linked to my periods. I was SO lucky that my periods returned like clockwork when Elizabeth was five weeks old (can you hear the sarcasm there?), despite exclusively breastfeeding. Clearly, my body hates me. After tracking it, it seems to be that the aversion happens a week before my period is due. It coincides beautifully with a dip in supply (again, totally normal!) so she’s feeding more than normal, and when I am at my worst with PMT so I’m generally grouchy, emotional and fucked off enough as it is. A fabulous combination, right?
Thankfully, the breastfeeding aversion only seems to last for a day, alongside the dip in supply. During that time, I really have to grit my teeth when feeding because every feed makes me feel irritated. It’s nothing to do with Elizabeth – I still love the cuddles and closeness, but the sensation of her feeding makes me feel almost sick. It doesn’t hurt – just feels, I don’t know, annoying?
When it passes, and it does pass, everything goes back to normal I love it once again. There are a few things that you can do to help you through a phase of breastfeeding aversion, which I’ve listed below, but mostly, it’s telling myself that it’s nothing that either Elizabeth or I are doing, that it’s normal and that it’s temporary. By adopting that mindset, rather than let myself get pissed off, it makes it a tiny bit easier. I also remind myself of all the incredible benefits that both us get from breastfeeding and how much I usually love it.
Tips to help you get through a breastfeeding aversion
Drink plenty of fluids: Breastfeeding makes you incredibly thirsty. Unless you are severely dehydrated, it doesn’t generally affect your supply but being well hydrated makes you feel an awful lot better. I know when I don’t drink enough, I feel grumpy, so chuck in the other factors and I’m one big ball of fucked offness. It doesn’t have to be water, all fluids help, but just restrict your caffeine intake and be careful with the booze.
Sleep: Easier said than done because babies, in general, are pretty shite at the whole sleeping malarkey. However, grab those naps when you can, because if you are tired and cranky, you’re even more likely to feel pissed off with feeding.
Binge: Not on the chocolate, although if that helps, go for it. I’m on about binging on your favourite box set. Having something else to focus on whilst you’re feeding can make you forget how irritated you are for a little while.
Get help: If it carries on, or you’re becoming irritated because it hurts, ask for help. Health visitors can help, although many are not particularly knowledgable when it comes to breastfeeding. Have a google to see if there are any breastfeeding support groups in your area that can check baby’s latch and make sure everything is ok.