The Effect of Sexual Abuse and Prenatal Substance Use on Successful Breastfeeding

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Barriers to breastfeeding in women with substance use disorders (SUDs) often exist. Neonatal abstinence syndrome–related feeding difficulties, maternal SUD-related maladaptive behaviors, and psychological comorbidities can adversely affect breastfeeding. A neglected barrier that frequently occurs in women with SUDs is a history of sexual abuse. It is important that nurses and providers understand each maternal and/or infant factor that can affect the breastfeeding course to assist effectively with lactation support for these frequently misunderstood dyads.

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