Presentation Information

Elizabeth Johnson

When Breast Isn't Best: Challenges and Opportunities In Breastfeeding for Sexual Abuse Survivors

Abstract:

The benefits of breastfeeding are well known. Less known is how pervasive and long-lasting the effects of sexual abuse can be. As many as 1 in 3 women are survivors of contact sexual abuse. And, unfortunately, sexual abuse is rarely over when it's over.

Most new parents state that they want to at least “try” breastfeeding. And yet everyone knows someone for whom breastfeeding “didn’t work”. While informed care can sometimes help families stick with breastfeeding, even well-intended support can be triggering. Providers who deal with new families must have a working knowledge of sexual abuse as well as a trauma-informed approach in order to effectively support breastfeeding families. Learn how abuse can impact ability and desire to breastfeed, red flags that could indicate a history of sexual abuse and practical tools to support all families in a sensitive way.