Nursing after sexual abuse

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Nursing after sexual abuse

The woman who has sexual abuse in her past may experience difficulty during pregnancy, during birth, and also, during breastfeeding. This can manifest unexpectedly as unwanted memories, flashbacks, feelings of anger, feelings of helplessness and loss of control. What the woman wants to do very quickly, is engage her partner or her husband, explain the situation, and decide where she might be most comfortable in her home breastfeeding. If the bedroom is not a comfortable location, if she does not want to breastfeed at night, she can pump and express her milk and have the husband or the partner feed during the night feeds. She also can opt to exclusively bottle feed her baby with her breastmilk, if that is also one of her needs. In addition, it might be helpful to seek counseling to reinforce the nutritive nature of her breasts in order to feed her baby, instead of the culturally, sexual nature of the breasts.

Watch Cynthia Epps, MS, IBCLC's video on Nursing after sexual abuse...


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Cynthia Epps, MS, IBCLC

Infant Feeding Specialist

Cynthia Epps, MS, IBCLC holds a master’s degree in nutritional biochemistry and is a board certified lactation consultant in private practice in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in home and internet consults for new mother/infant couples from birth through two years of age. She covers early breastfeeding questions such as learning to trust the breast, establishing a good milk supply, sore nipples, colic and reflux; as well as “back to work” protocols for the working mother and “transitioning to solids” at six months per the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization guidelines, plus food wars and gentle weaning guidelines for the older infant. In addition, she has written for LA Family Magazine and Mothering Magazine, and leads infant feeding workshops throughout the community. With the wisdom of motherhood still largely negated or ignored, she specializes in combining ancient matriarchal traditions with modern science to help the new mother transition into the time-honored role of nurturing her baby with body and breast. She continues to pursue the goal of redefining the human infant feeding norm as breastfeeding or breastmilk for all children.

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