Nursing aversion, also known as breastfeeding aversion, most commonly occurs when a nursing mother becomes pregnant with another child. It may start with just sensitive nipples.
is a very beautiful and natural experience that helps to increase the bond
between mother and child as well as provides tons of other amazing benefits for
both the child and the breastfeeding mother. Breastfeeding is not without its challenges, though.
There can be
many different challenges that a breastfeeding mother and child may encounter
along the way of their breastfeeding journey. One of those challenges is
nursing or breastfeeding aversion. This occurs when the mother becomes
intensely uncomfortable when nursing her child. However, with the right support
and commitment, any challenge can be
What Exactly is Nursing
aversion, also known as breastfeeding aversion, most commonly occurs when a nursing mother becomes
pregnant with another child. It may start with just sensitive nipples.
Sensitive nipples are a common pregnancy symptom so when a nursing mother
becomes pregnant, nursing may suddenly become very uncomfortable for her. As
pregnancy progresses, the changing
hormones can begin to make the body feel like it’s time to wean the older
this happens, women often feel a strong urge to stop their child from nursing.
Most women who experience nursing aversion describe it as almost impossible to ignore. You may feel
extreme discomfort both physically and emotionally.
Do I Have to Wean if I
can be a common belief that if a breastfeeding mum becomes pregnant with
another child, that she must wean right away. Some believe that breastfeeding while pregnant can pose risks such as
preterm labour. The reason behind that belief is that the oxytocin that is
produced during breastfeeding will cause contractions to start.
However, nursing during pregnancy poses no more risk
of preterm labour than sex during pregnancy, which also produces oxytocin
and is almost always considered safe. Unless your pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy where your health care provider has instructed you to hold off on
sex, then nursing through pregnancy is also completely safe.
Do I Have to Wean Before
you may be wondering that since you can nurse your toddler throughout your
pregnancy, what happens when the next baby arrives? Well, that is completely up
to you and your child. If you choose to do so, you can tandem nurse your children. That just means that you have
two nurslings at once.
Our bodies are capable of making milk for multiple
babies at once, so as long as you nurse your new baby on demand, you will have all the milk that you need
for both children. There is no need to worry that your older child may
drink so much that your little one won’t have enough.
Does Nursing Aversion Only
Occur During Pregnancy?
aversion is definitely most common during pregnancy, but it is not the only
time that it can occur. Sometimes, nursing aversion may affect a mother that is breastfeeding her older toddler. Just
like when nursing aversion occurs during pregnancy, it does not mean that the
mother has to wean her child. It is up to her and her child to decide when
weaning is right for them.
1. Nursing Aversion After
you experience nursing aversion during your pregnancy, it may continue even after the baby is born if you choose to tandem
nurse your toddler and baby. Many women find that the nursing aversion that
they experience with their toddler during pregnancy ceases once the baby is
born, but that isn’t always the case.
Some women continue to have an aversion
to nursing even once their pregnancy is over. Even if the nursing aversion
doesn’t cease altogether, it is likely
that it will decrease in severity.
2. Will I experience Nursing
Aversion with My Newborn?
can be a common fear among women that experience nursing aversion during
pregnancy that they will feel the same aversion when nursing their newborn.
This is almost never the case, however. The vast majority of women have no negative feelings towards
nursing their newborn, even if they tandem nurse and are still experiencing
the nursing aversion with their older child.
Is Nursing Aversion the Same
Thing as D-MER?
is short for dysphoric milk ejection reflex. While D-MER can cause nursing to
be uncomfortable, it is completely different
than nursing aversion. D-MER is typically most prominent in the early days of breastfeeding a newborn. D-MER is
caused by hormones acting inappropriately when a let-down occurs in the
when a let-down occurs, the levels of the hormone prolactin raise.In order to
allow this, the hormone dopamine, sometimes known as the happiness hormone,
must temporarily lower. It quickly stabilizes after this happens, but for
breastfeeding mothers that suffer from D-MER, something about the drop in
dopamine seems to be more severe causing them to experience a temporary
normal for mothers suffering from D-MER to feel sadness, anger, depression, anxiety, dread, or any other negative
emotions for a short period of time during nursing. Anywhere from 30 seconds to
a few minutes is a normal amount of time to feel this way if you have D-MER.
Tips for Dealing with
you decide to continue nursing your child even though you are experiencing
nursing aversion, it can be a difficult thing to stick to. Fortunately, there
are some tips that other mums have found
helpful when dealing with nursing aversion that can hopefully be of some
help to you as well.
Drink lots of water, especially
during your nursing sessions.
as much sleep and rest as possible.
Being tired can make nursing aversion worse.
your best to relax as much as possible
because stress also can make nursing aversion worse.
Set limitations. Start limiting
the number of nursing sessions you have a day with your older child as well as
the length of each nursing session.
Distract yourself! One of the
number one things that other mums say has helped them the most with nursing
aversion is distracting themselves usually by using their phones during nursing
sessions. Social media, especially, can be very helpful for getting your mind
off of the nursing aversion.
Don’t nurse both of your
children at the same time. Many women that suffer from nursing aversion and
still choose to tandem nurse both their older child and their new baby find
that if they have both children latched on at the same that it makes the
nursing aversion much worse. Try nursing your newborn first and then allowing
your older child to nurse once the baby is finished.
it comes to nursing aversion, there is no easy way out. You will have to make a very difficult decision regarding your
child’s well-being as well as your own well-being. You may make the decision to
wean your child which can be very difficult for both of you.
been a constant source of comfort in your child’s life so far so giving it up
won’t be easy for them. It’s also likely that you will struggle emotionally
with ending your breastfeeding relationship and the hormones of pregnancy don’t
make that any easier.
may also choose to stick it out and continue nursing throughout your pregnancy
and possibly even tandem nursing both of your children. This is no easy feat
either. It will take a high level of commitment and discipline to get through
your nursing aversion, but if that is what you want to do, it will be
completely worth it.
Your child will continue to benefit from your breastmilk
and the bonding that nursing provides, and you won’t have to give up that
precious time with them or deal with the struggles of weaning. Whatever
decision that you decide to make, try to stay strong and surround yourself with loving support.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.