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Breastfeeding Helps Mothers Overcome the Legacy of Abuse and Adversity: It Makes All the Difference

by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA
  • Duration: 75 Mins
  • Credits: 1.25 CERP, 1.25 L-CERP
  • Learning Format: Webinar
  • Handout: Yes
  • Origin: GOLD Lactation 2015

We do not live in a perfect world. Many new mothers have experienced abuse and adversity as children. They often wonder whether they will perpetuate the cycle of violence that they have experienced. They may also have a history of depression and wonder whether this has harmed their children. Fortunately, we can offer new mothers hope. Recent studies have found that breastfeeding helps mothers mother—even when there is a history of abuse. It not about the milk; it’s the physical act of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding improves maternal sleep, lowers the risk of depression, lessens anger and irritability, and even attenuates the negative effects of past sexual assault. Breastfeeding offers mothers a chance to do things differently—to be a different kind of parent. When it comes to overcoming adversity, breastfeeding makes all the difference.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Understand breastfeeding’s role in protecting infants from the harmful effects of maternal depression.
Objective 2: Describe the importance of maternal responsivity to long-term health for the baby.
Objective 3: Describe the role of breastfeeding in lessening the impact of the mother’s previous sexual assault.