Presentation Information

Justine Leach

Breastfeeding Grief: When Things Don't Go As Planned

  • Speaker: Justine Leach , Ph.D
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU, 1 Dietetic CEU

This presentation explores the mental health impact of breastfeeding journeys that do not go to plan and sets out practical steps perinatal professionals can take to better support parents who feel a deep sense of loss when they cannot feed their babies in the way they had hoped. Combining personal narrative, professional insights and research findings, this presentation sheds light on the emotional toll of lactation difficulties. Many parents who initiate breastfeeding are invested in its success and deeply conscious of its benefits, leading to feelings of grief, frustration and guilt if their plans are disrupted. Moreover, some causes of breastfeeding challenges, such as birth trauma, a period of maternal/infant separation after birth, medical issues, pain, and lack of support can contribute to parents reporting their breastfeeding journey was traumatic. And even though the cessation of breastfeeding can bring a mix of emotions from relief to a deep sense of loss, these challenges can leave their scars that parents often bear alone. This presentation describes the protective power of trauma-informed emotional support for parents whose breastfeeding journeys do not go to plan. Participants will learn how to listen to stories of breastfeeding grief/trauma, how to hold space for parents going through feeding challenges and how to help parents navigate hard choices around infant feeding.

Live Presentation Schedule

Apr 2, 2024