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ASPartOfMe
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07 Jun 2022, 2:37 pm

’Breast feeding is hard for autistic mums and here's why'

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New parents always remember the moment where you're discharged from the hospital, get home and suddenly realise it's just you and your baby and that sudden realisation of "now what do we do". But those feelings of confusion, isolation, and sometimes distress are even more acute for autistic mums as they navigate motherhood.

Kathryn Williams, remembers finding even the set up of a maternity ward distressing. Then when she had her first baby, poor coordination made the tasks which fill almost all hours of those early days - the nappy changes and breastfeeding - particularly hard

“I had very poor coordination after I gave birth. All parts of having a new born can be far more difficult for autistic women than I think it is for the average new parent, so even changing nappies I found incredibly difficult."

Take the example of not realising you need to go to the toilet until the last minute," Kathryn explained. "People say surely you must know a bit’ and the reply to that this ‘genuinely no, not at all’. So I think that not being believed is a big problem”

Kathryn, now 36, only found out she was autistic after she’d had her two children. She is now director of Autistic UK, an Autistic led advocacy group and a student at Cardiff University. Research from Autistic UK and Swansea University, working with the University of Kent has found that breastfeeding support from midwives and health visitors is often not well suited to meet the needs of autistic women.

Those sorts of things also apply to breastfeeding. So when your milk releases, the average woman will feel that that's coming out and it won't be a very intense feeling, but they'll know but some autistic people don't know that their milk is releasing, and others felt it's so strongly that it was actually really unpleasant.”

Dr Grant added: “Another major thing is the sensory environment around autistic people is felt quite intensely a lot of the time. So the feeling of having your baby's body skin to skin, being all hot, and wiggly, and all of those sorts of things that little babies do, could be really uncomfortable.”

Dr Grant said: "It is widely acknowledged that breastfeeding support in the NHS is woefully inadequate; due to severe underfunding and a shortage of over 10,000 midwives, it is not possible for most mothers to receive the support they need to meet their breastfeeding goals. We know that in the UK mothers who are younger and from low income backgrounds tend to breastfeed less, but there is less recognition of factors like neurodivergence. This review has highlighted that there is an urgent need for maternity and infant feeding services to accommodate the needs of autistic mothers."


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Joe90
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15 Jun 2022, 11:10 am

I'm sure giving birth to a baby is 1000 times more sensory triggering (severe pain) than breastfeeding/cuddling a baby.


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Ettina
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18 Jul 2022, 5:46 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I'm sure giving birth to a baby is 1000 times more sensory triggering (severe pain) than breastfeeding/cuddling a baby.


It's a one-time event that everyone expects you to find overwhelming.

Meanwhile, breastfeeding and cuddling are things you generally do for hours each day while caring for a baby, continuing on for months to years.

It really makes no sense to compare them.



Twilightprincess
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19 Jul 2022, 4:15 pm

I didn't find cuddling my baby difficult. Nothing felt better than holding him.

I had some issues with breastfeeding but nothing that NTs don't experience with some babies as well. We eventually got it figured out. From a sensory perspective, I did find it a bit uncomfortable at times but totally worth it.

With that being said, we're all different of course.


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IsabellaLinton
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19 Jul 2022, 4:24 pm

I don't think of labour pain as a sensory trigger.
Back labour with a vacuum birth is brutal, but it's different than sensory triggers.

For me, sensory triggers are repetitive annoying sensations that persist.
I can't stand being touched or stroked or smothered by people.
I can't do light touch, like a fly walking on my skin.
Breathe in my ear and I'll want to club you.

I can't stand when little kids poke me or pull my clothes for attention.
That freaks me out way more than pain because it feels invasive.

I don't remember cuddling or nursing to be a problem.
I loved it, and loved the smell of newborns / breastmilk.
I didn't even mind the dirty nappies or spit up.

For some reason I was grossed out by mucky food on the high chair tray.
I didn't want to touch that.



Twilightprincess
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19 Jul 2022, 4:28 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I don't think of labour pain as a sensory trigger.
Back labour with a vacuum birth is brutal, but it's different than sensory triggers.

For me, sensory triggers are repetitive annoying sensations that persist.
I can't stand being touched or stroked or smothered by people.
I can't do light touch, like a fly walking on my skin.
Breathe in my ear and I'll want to club you.

I can't stand when little kids poke me or pull my clothes for attention.
That freaks me out way more than pain because it feels invasive.

I don't remember cuddling or nursing to be a problem.
I loved it, and loved the smell of newborns / breastmilk.
I didn't even mind the dirty nappies or spit up.

For some reason I was grossed out by mucky food on the high chair tray.
I didn't want to touch that.


Did yours ever bite? Mine went through a biting stage. Ouch! :lol:


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IsabellaLinton
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19 Jul 2022, 4:30 pm

I don't remember but I don't think so.

I had insane mastitis though.

That was one of the worst pains I've ever experienced, worse than a broken bone.



Twilightprincess
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19 Jul 2022, 4:45 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I don't remember but I don't think so.

I had insane mastitis though.

That was one of the worst pains I've ever experienced, worse than a broken bone.


I've been there. I was at the ER once with H1N1 and mastitis at the same time. Fun times.

Another painful situation was when I had to take a standardized test in a different city, so I went there with my electric breast pump, but after I finished taking the test, I had trouble finding some place to pump. It hurt, and I leaked through my clothes before I found a place I could use.


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IsabellaLinton
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19 Jul 2022, 4:56 pm

I never used a breast pump.
It was all au natural, meaning also I couldn't have a babysitter.

That sounds brutal with H1N1.
It's crazy what we go through.



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19 Jul 2022, 5:02 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I never used a breast pump.
It was all au natural, meaning also I couldn't have a babysitter.

That sounds brutal with H1N1.
It's crazy what we go through.


The breast pump came in handy. I didn't leave him very often but it came in handy during those rare occasions. I also had trouble getting him to latch on in the beginning because he was preemie-sized, so I had to pump and then feed him with a bottle.

I felt like a cow.


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IsabellaLinton
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19 Jul 2022, 5:09 pm

I remember I had one. It was yellow and I think it was a manual pump? I couldn't figure out how to use it. Also, my baby refused all attempts at using a bottle for water, or a pacifier, so there was no use even trying.

We went straight from nursing to a sippy cup.

My exh used to call me a Whale when I was pregnant.
Adios, amigo!
I think I was a Size 6 for my biggest maternity clothes.



Twilightprincess
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19 Jul 2022, 5:16 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
My exh used to call me a Whale when I was pregnant.
Adios, amigo!
I think I was a Size 6 for my biggest maternity clothes.


Yeah, I can relate.

Mine said that I was "fat." When I put my hair up into a ponytail, he said that I looked like a "fat boy." I was overweight, but it was at least partially due to dealing with his abusive and demanding a**.

He was jealous of the baby.


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19 Jul 2022, 8:33 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:

Mine said that I was "fat." When I put my hair up into a ponytail, he said that I looked like a "fat boy." I was overweight, but it was at least partially due to dealing with his abusive and demanding a**.

He was jealous of the baby.



Send him my regards.


Image



Twilightprincess
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19 Jul 2022, 8:48 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:

Mine said that I was "fat." When I put my hair up into a ponytail, he said that I looked like a "fat boy." I was overweight, but it was at least partially due to dealing with his abusive and demanding a**.

He was jealous of the baby.



Send him my regards.




Thanks! :D

He’s basically doing that to himself these days. He’s using hard drugs.


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Joe90
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20 Jul 2022, 5:28 am

Ettina wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
I'm sure giving birth to a baby is 1000 times more sensory triggering (severe pain) than breastfeeding/cuddling a baby.


It's a one-time event that everyone expects you to find overwhelming.

Meanwhile, breastfeeding and cuddling are things you generally do for hours each day while caring for a baby, continuing on for months to years.

It really makes no sense to compare them.


I meant it from an Aspie point of view. I'm put off having a baby because of the birth pains already even though I've never given birth before. If every woman felt like that then there'd be no babies being born.


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Twilightprincess
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20 Jul 2022, 1:35 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Ettina wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
I'm sure giving birth to a baby is 1000 times more sensory triggering (severe pain) than breastfeeding/cuddling a baby.


It's a one-time event that everyone expects you to find overwhelming.

Meanwhile, breastfeeding and cuddling are things you generally do for hours each day while caring for a baby, continuing on for months to years.

It really makes no sense to compare them.


I meant it from an Aspie point of view. I'm put off having a baby because of the birth pains already even though I've never given birth before. If every woman felt like that then there'd be no babies being born.


I wouldn’t worry about it unless you, otherwise, really wanted to have a baby.

Not everyone has to have children.


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