Breastfeeding is difficult, but when a woman experience breastfeeding agitation, it comes with a whole new set of challenges. Because those feelings of irritation, anger, and aggression seem to come out of nowhere, it leaves a lot of mothers wondering why do women have breastfeeding agitation. Is it something that can be prevented? Is there any rhyme or reason to it?
Well, kind of. According to La Leche League International, breastfeeding agitation can happen to any mom breastfeeding an older child, but it is especially common in women who are pregnant and continuing to breastfeed. Although tandem breastfeeding is perfectly safe and your breasts continue to make enough milk for both your nursing child and your baby, it can still bring on agitation. Many women describe it as a "skin-crawling" sensation and that it can bring on anxiety, irritation, and even anger. But why? What's happening to your breasts that are making you feel so agitated while nursing?
La Leche League International suggested that breastfeeding agitation may be a primal urge stemming from our roots as mammals. It is not uncommon in the mammal world for mothers to feel aggression towards their young, especially when weaning, and the theory behind breastfeeding agitation is that because your body is pregnant, it thinks it's also time to wean your older child from the breast. (Which also explains why women breastfeeding older children may feel the agitation, even if they aren't pregnant.)
It also may simply be a feeling that arises because of the changes your body is going through if you're pregnant. Your nipples and breasts are sore and tender, you're experiencing nausea, and you're exhausted. All of these pregnancy symptoms mingled with a nursing toddler can bring on breastfeeding agitation, too.
The important thing to remember about breastfeeding agitation is that it doesn't last forever. Once your child unlatches, the feelings go away. It doesn't mean you hate your child or have any aggression towards your kid; it's an uncontrollable feeling that comes over you as your body attempts to wean your child.
You can push through and continue breastfeeding knowing that the feeling won't last, but if it's too uncomfortable or causing too many problems, take the steps you need to wean your child so both of you can relax and be happy.