Breastfeeding Aversion and Agitation (Aversion)
Published work and Research in the area
There are only a few studies about aversion, my research piece published here 'describes the phenomenon of breastfeeding aversion and agitation (BAA)', BAA is an acronym I use from my research, but 'aversion' is generally what is used to refer to the phenomenon. This case study, asks whether aversion is a normal biological trigger as part of evolutionary theory.
Another research study shows that breastfeeding can bring to the fore 'embodied emotional sensations', and is really the only piece of research that could be directly related to the cohort of mothers who suffer from aversion that I have come across so far. It also, crucially, notes that it is not D-MER, nor Post Natal Depression, which many of us keep reiterating much to the irritation of doctors and healthcare professionals who try to help us. Having 'embodied emotional sensations' is certainly an accurate all-inclusive description that would allow the varying severities of BAA women experience to be included, and the researchers call for further investigation. See here for the abstract and conclusion.
An Australian article published by the founder of the first aversion support group suggests that certain supplements can help lessen aversion in tandem breastfeeding dyads. Mel Morns has suggested for many years that magnesium chelate can help lessen aversion, and certainly, anecdotally many women attest to this.
There are two books published, one is a personal narrative, another makes reference to 'breastfeeding agitation', and is by Hilary Flower, an excerpt is:
Breastfeeding agitation is no fun, and pregnancy seems to be a particularly common time for breastfeeding agitation to strike (affecting roughly one-third of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers). Some pregnant mothers can tell you exactly what week the agitation set in for them, and although it differs from woman to woman, mid-pregnancy seems to be a common time of onset. Many women find that the agitation abates in late pregnancy, while others find that this is when it’s most intense. Still, agitation can strike any mother who is nursing an older child, even without a new pregnancy. During tandem nursing, it tends to be triggered only by the older child’s suckling, or it may happen only when both children nurse simultaneously. Tandem nursing mothers who subsequently become pregnant may be particularly likely to get it. In many cases, the trigger may have little to do with pregnancy or tandem nursing.
The full article can be read here: Leaven, Vol. 39 No. 4, August-September 2003, pp. 90-91.
Whilst there is little-published research literature on aversion or 'BAA', there is a great deal about breastfeeding, lactation, parenting, and maternal and infant nutrition that can help us understand BAA. An important study looking at first-time mothers experiences when breastfeeding shed lights on the most important aspect of breastfeeding promotion for me, aside from the health benefits which are paramount. That is the reality of breastfeeding being difficult for some women, throwing one out of one's comfort zone, calling into question one's own autonomy, control over one's own body and, of course, the emotional aspects that come with this.
Additionally, here are a few related studies that may lend towards some understanding into BAA;
17, 53–58.GynaecolAmir, L.H., Dennerstein, L., Garland, S.M., Fisher, J., Farish, S.J., 1996. Psychological aspects of nipple pain in lactating women. J Psychosom Obstet
Britton, J.R., Britton, H.L., Gronwaldt, V., 2006. Breastfeeding, Sensitivity, and Attachment. Pediatrics 118, e1436–e1443. doi:10.1542/peds.2005-2916, pe1436
Crespi, B., 2014. Medical, ethical and personal dimensions of parent–offspring conflicts. EMPH 2014, 51–53. doi:10.1093/emph/eou008
Depression During Pregnancy & Postpartum [WWW Document], n.d. . Postpartum Support - PSI. URL http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/depression-during-pregnancy-postpartum/
Glynn, L.M., Davis, E.P., Schetter, C.D., Chicz-Demet, A., Hobel, C.J., Sandman, C.A., 2007. Postnatal maternal cortisol levels predict temperament in healthy breastfed infants. Early Hum. Dev. 83, 675–681. doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2007.01.003
Grey, K.R., Davis, E.P., Sandman, C.A., Glynn, L.M., 2013b. Human milk cortisol is associated with infant temperament. Psychoneuroendocrinology 38, 1178–1185. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.002
and breastfeedingHaig, D., 2014. Troubled sleep Night waking, parent–offspring conflict. EMPH 2014, 32–39. doi:10.1093/emph/eou005