P121 New Perspectives on Breastfeeding: A Review of the Role of Trauma Among Mothers with a History of Child Maltreatment


      Current efforts to increase optimal breastfeeding rates focus on the multitude of physical benefits for both mother and child, but do not necessarily explicitly take into account the mother's mental health. Women with their own history of childhood maltreatment are especially vulnerable, yet little is known about their experience breastfeeding. A better understanding of this relationship is critical to be able to better support mothers.


      To review current research that examines how women's personal experience of child maltreatment affects their breastfeeding outcomes and experiences.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      A scoping review was conducted to evaluate current literature on breastfeeding and child maltreatment. After the screening process (n = 275), 8 (n = 8) articles met the selection criteria and were included in the review.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Articles were analyzed for content on breastfeeding intention, initiation, duration, and exclusivity; medical conditions associated with breastfeeding; and mothers’ experiences related to breastfeeding.


      Mothers with a history of their own childhood maltreatment had both decreased exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding. These mothers were more likely to report pain and experience mastitis. Challenges during this period include managing touch, struggling with the power differential between providers and women, and coping with trauma symptoms, such as dissociation. Overall, mothers’ experience of breastfeeding varies: some find it empowering and others experience great distress while breastfeeding.


      For some mothers, it is possible to breastfeed successfully after child maltreatment, but others find the experience distressing. There is a need for a trauma-informed approach to lactation care for women with a child maltreatment history.
      Funding University of Maryland Catalyst Fund.

      Appendix. Supplementary data