Information sheet on infant feeding for women who were sexually abused in childhood

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National Network on Environment and Women's Health (NNEWH)
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National Network on Environments and Women's Health
National Network on Environments and Women's Health
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Toronto, ON

This information sheet is based on the 2005 study “From Hurting Touch to Healing Touch: The Infant Feeding Experiences of Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)” by Penny Van Esterik and Karen Wood.  It states that for many women, the experience of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has a lifelong impact, and may affect infant feeding practices. Breastfeeding or seeing other women breastfeeding may trigger sudden intense emotional memories of abuse. Sexual abuse in childhood affects every woman differently. The birth of a child, and the breastfeeding experience, has for many women been a negative experience. For other women, it has been a healing experience.

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