Mothers with a disability

What help is available for mothers with a physical disability?

Breastfeeding mothers who are disabled may benefit from different breastfeeding positions and holds, information about medication use while breastfeeding, support from health-care providers and peers. 

A) Describing breastfeeding by mothers with a physical disability

Breastfeeding mothers with disabilities can have a variety of unique challenges. They may benefit from (Powell 2017; Warkentin 2021):

Mothers with a spinal cord injury and only limited hand function and no breast sensation have been shown to breastfeed (Lee 2019; Rabbachin 2020). We have provided care for one remarkable mother in this situation and she was able to latch the baby independently and breastfeed exclusively. Other studies have shown such mothers are more likely to have their milk come in late, to have a low milk supply, and tend to stop breastfeeding earlier (Wendel 2021). 


Lee AHX, Wen B, Hocaloski S, et al. Breastfeeding Before and After Spinal Cord Injury: A Case Report of a Mother With C6 Tetraplegia. J Hum Lact. 2019 May 3:890334419844234.
Powell RM, Mitra M, Smeltzer SC, et al. Breastfeeding Among Women With Physical Disabilities in the United States. J Hum Lact. 2017 Nov 1
Rabbachin N, Faron G, Jacquemain G et al. Case Report: Pregnancy in a Tetraplegic Female. J Womens Health Gyn 2020;7:1-6

Warkentin T, Hermann S, Berndl A. Breastfeeding positions and techniques used by canadians with physical disabilities. Disabil Health J. 2021 Jun 10:101151

Wendel MP, Whittington JR, Pagan ME, et al. Preconception, Antepartum, and Peripartum Care for the Woman With a Spinal Cord Injury: A Review of the Literature. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2021 Mar;76(3):159-165