It may feel very difficult and frightening to address the topic of sexual abuse, and as women we understand that. If you’re reading this, chances are that you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual abuse or assault. The statistics speak to the gravity of the situation. 1 in 3 Native women will be raped in their lifetime; Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than other women in the USA.
For many moms, breastfeeding can be a healing process that helps to resolve some of the negative feelings about past childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or more recent sexual assault. If breastfeeding increases negative emotions, moms can work with a breastfeeding peer or an IBCLC to find a way that is more comfortable for them to nurse (for example, sometimes a change in position, location, or lighting can help). Some moms find that breastfeeding directly is troubling, but expressing milk with a pump is manageable. A balance between the needs of mom and baby must be found. We would like to support you in finding your balance with some helpful resources.
Mother-to-mother support stories by sexual abuse survivors:
Here is a collection of supportive stories about breastfeeding from other mothers. You may have questions afterward and that’s normal. Consider contacting one of the groups below for support.
Mother-to-mother breastfeeding support organizations:
Experienced mothers you can call for one-to-one breastfeeding information and support. Your information will be kept confidential.
Breastfeeding after Sexual Abuse:
Information for mothers, breastfeeding specialists, families, and communities regarding breastfeeding after sexual abuse or assault
Empowering ourselves and our communities with information:
If you have reached this page after recent assault, please use the following links to find immediate help. You are not alone!
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
1 (800) 656- HOPE
Resources for women living in tribal jurisdictions
It is likely that your community or reserve has culturally sensitive sexual violence services in place. Please refer to your tribal directory or newspaper, or call your local health clinic for a contact number. If you feel unable to call someone in your community, these resources might be of help:
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