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In this article Kathleen Kendall-Tackett shares clinical approaches to working with mother-baby breastfeeding dyads that have experienced trauma or post-traumatic stress from birth.
Abstract: Birth is life-altering event. Under the best circumstances, it is a happy one. Labor and delivery can be empowering, with mothers feeling that they have accomplished something great. Unfortunately, birth can also be difficult, overwhelming, and for some, traumatic. Without intervention, childbirth-related trauma and PTSD can last for years, coloring how women feel about themselves as mothers, and potentially marring their relationships with partners and babies. Birth trauma and breastfeeding intersect in some key ways. Birth trauma can negatively impact breastfeeding. And breastfeeding can be a source of healing following a difficult birth. This article describes the prevalence of PTSD after childbirth, describes the role of breastfeeding, and discusses some initial steps birth professionals can take to help mothers recover.
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