Breastfeeding aversion/ agitation and weaning

Breastfeeding aversion/ agitation and weaning

One of the most common reasons for night weaning is tiredness, but it is also often driven by the onset of breastfeeding agitation (aversion). Breastfeeding agitation or aversion (also called BAA) is essentially a concept of rejection. The rejection is felt by a mother when her child asks to breastfeed. This feeling of aversion is common in three situations: breastfeeding older children, breastfeeding during pregnancy and during tandem breastfeeding.

The origin of these feelings of rejection is not very well known, but it does not seem to be hormonal causes, but rather it is a process that many mammals also experience when they feel that the time has come to wean from the breast.

Often, this feeling of aversion is increased at night because tiredness and the tension of not being able to sleep increase these feelings of rejection. This is why many families opt for partially stopping to breastfeed during the night, so-called night weaning. The mother can rest a little more because she avoids some night feeds in this way, but breastfeeding can continue as normal during the day. Depending on the baby’s age, it will be necessary for the other parent or another trusted caregiver to take over the night feeds.

I would prefer not to stop breastfeeding just yet

Chances are that if you’ve read this far, you’re thinking of weaning because of breastfeeding agitation, but you may also feel unsure about it and might not know what you want to do. Or you may feel bad about stopping breastfeeding your baby and feel sorry if your baby might have a hard time. In this case, you can try:

  • Relaxation techniques or yoga
  • Play music or a podcast to help focus your attention on the content and distract from the breastfeeding process.
  • Depending on the baby’s age, try to agree on a time per feed (but this can be very difficult to achieve at night).
  • Try to ask your partner to help you to take care of some of the feeds and see if sleeping a little longer will help you to overcome the rejection.

These approaches do not always work, and so, in this case, there is no other option but to completely wean and stop breastfeeding. It is important that you acknowledge these feelings, don’t feel guilty for having them and understand that it is more common but not often discussed. It is not easy to express that you do not want your child to be close to you, to touch you or ask for breastfeeding, and when your child does, you feel like a little monster comes out from inside you that pushes you to separate your child from your body and encourage them to stay away.

I think I want to stop breastfeeding.

If you want to stop breastfeeding and wean completely or partially, there is more personalised information in our App, LactApp, where you can find out more about all methods and techniques that you can apply to achieve your desired weaning. There is also a consultation channel where you can talk to our experts. You can download the app for iPhone or Android.

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