Breastfeeding after abuse or sexual trauma

Psychiatrist SuEllen Hamkins, MD, shares advice for women who have been sexual abused or deal with trauma on how to feel more comfortable when breastfeeding
Advice For Breastfeeding After Sexual Abuse or Trauma
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Breastfeeding after abuse or sexual trauma

If you're a mom who's a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and you feel uncomfortable breastfeeding, it can be hard. The most important thing is that you listen to and honor your own preferences. It's your body and you can decide what you want to do with it, and whether or not you want to breastfeed. Rest assured whether you breastfeed or not, your baby will grow up feeling loved and secure. If, however, you want to get over what's making you feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding, tremendous healing is possible. Consult with a psychotherapist who specializes in child sexual abuse. You were able to survive the abuse and now you're having a baby. And you drew on your own strength and courage and ingenuity, and on the relationships with caring people that you cultivated. And all these things are with you now as resources as you prepare to welcome your baby into the world.

Psychiatrist SuEllen Hamkins, MD, shares advice for women who have been sexual abused or deal with trauma on how to feel more comfortable when breastfeeding


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SuEllen Hamkins, MD

Psychiatrist & Author

SuEllen Hamkins, MD, is a psychiatrist, author and founding member of the Mother-Daughter Project, a community of women and girls that developed powerful, practical ways to help mothers and daughters stay connected and thrive through adolescence. Co-author of The Mother-Daughter Project: How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds and Thrive Through Adolescence, Dr. Hamkins has given numerous presentations for parents and psychotherapists around the world, focusing on mothers, daughters, their relationships and the kinds of communities that nurture them.  As the psychiatrist for the Smith College Counseling Service from 1992-2004, SuEllen offered consultation to over a thousand women ages 16 to 23 to help them resist and overcome problems such as anorexia, bulimia, depression, anxiety, trauma, assault, and self-injury.  In addition to her work on behalf of mothers and daughters, as the Assistant Director for Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she has been instrumental in developing strengths-based, narrative approaches to psychotherapy and psychiatric practice, helping people cultivate their values and strengths in the face of serious difficulties.  SuEllen is the mother of two daughters, now 17 and 22, and raising them has been the most thrilling and rewarding work of her life. She lives with her husband and younger daughter in western Massachusetts, where they love to swim outdoors, cross country ski, shoe snow, dance, cook and lounge around in the living room, reading. 

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