Nearing the end of my pregnancy, my physical and mental state vary widely. Sometimes I'm feeling rested, elated, and even excited. Other times I'm feeling exhausted, achy, and defeated. Managing breastfeeding discomfort is a challenge, but managing the breastfeeding aversion that accompanies the frustration from pregnancy discomfort is the most challenging.
Breastfeeding aversion can happen at any time; not just during pregnancy. Another term that comes to mind is "touched out." I like to categorize all situations where I have no significant physical breastfeeding related pain, but actively do not want to breastfeed as fitting into the aversion category. Situations in this category are feelings or thoughts that are preventing me from meeting my nursling's need. Here are some tactics I like to use to help ease me through these times:
* Acknowledge the negative thoughts. I can tell I'm having an aversion when thoughts like "I don't want to do this right now," "this is the last thing I want to do," "you don't really need this," "I wish you would stop," etc. these thoughts swirl around my head furiously until I stop breastfeeding if I don't calm myself down. Each time I have a negative thought I acknowledge it, and actively think of a couple of positive thoughts. For example: "I'm meeting your breastfeeding need in the most loving way," "you DO need this or you wouldn't ask for it," "You feel loved and comforted when I meet your needs," "this nursing session won't last forever," etc.
* Mental distraction. This can be in the form of an activity like reading an article, watching a movie, playing a game, or it can be choosing to actively think of something else. Think about a past conversation you had or a problem you'd like to solve (not breastfeeding related). Anything to keep your mind focused on something other than the urge to stop breastfeeding.
* Physical distraction. This may sound bizarre, but sometimes I pinch myself slightly to focus my mind on the new pain rather than what is going on at my breast. Maybe I pinch my leg or slightly pull my hair. Nothing too painful, just enough to occupy my mind with a different sensation. Sometimes this works for a couple of minutes, sometimes only for a moment.