***Ask an Expert is a blog feature hosted by a team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Once a month each IBCLC randomly chooses a question from The Badass Breastfeeder Facebook wall and provides their response on the blog.
By Wendy Wisner, IBCLC
“How do you overcome nursing aversion? I’m 10 weeks pregnant, and when I’m exhausted and my 16 month old nurses, I cringe. I want to throw up, my skin crawls. I end up crying. It’s so uncomfortable. I don’t want to quit nursing, but I’m about to because this is miserable!”
Nursing aversion is something many moms experience when they nurse during pregnancy. Whether it’s from your changing hormones, change in milk volume (a drop in supply is normal during pregnancy), fatigue, or emotions about it all, it is very understandable that the nursing dynamic would change during pregnancy.
What to do? First, maybe knowing that it’s normal will help some. Also know that it does get better for some women after the hormonal onslaught and fatigue of the first trimester. Some women find that the physical discomfort starts to get better when they start to produce colostrum (around the start of the third trimester).
Make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Eat well, stay hydrated, make napping or sleeping in (when you can) a priority. While nursing, try deep breathing, meditation, or distraction to get your mind off it. Some mothers sneak in a book, a little online time on their phones or computers — whatever works at redirecting your thoughts.
It’s certainly ok to set limits with your daughter. Some moms will allow their child to nurse to the length of a familiar song, then stop (the ABC’s and Wheels on the Bus are good ones!). Others find counting helps. Both help your child measure time and know what to expect. If you limit nursing times, offer extra snacks and extra cuddles!
It helps also to take things day by day, since there are constant changes during pregnancy. Be gentle with yourself and with your child. You are just at the beginning of learning to care for yourself and both of your kids. You will find your balance.
Wendy Wisner is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), writer, and mother of two amazing boys. In addition to her work with breastfeeding moms, she has published two books of poems, and a handful of articles about mothering and breastfeeding. She blogs at www.nursememama.com.