When Kyzer was newborn, the support I received from my local LLL, my personal BFing peer-counselor, & friends/family was vital to the existence of my breastfeeding journey.
Life was hard for my boobs in the beginning. Literally and figuratively.
Mastitis, Thrush (that lasted longer than any other case ever heard of according every dr I spoke to, & was FINALLY healed with natural remedies btw), cracked nips, bleeding nips, nipple shield, YOU NAME IT.
I made it though because I had a support team of women who were ready and able to lend advice and share past experience. Thank you, all of you. You know who you are. If you are a woman, and you breastfeed, & you have ever participated in a breastfeeding support group (online or in person)–then thank you. You are the village.
Anyway. So, village bitches. (Yeah, take it lightly, or with wine or whatever) where were you when you weaned? I don’t remember seeing many of us sharing our stories. Or seeing people talk about it as NEAR as much as we talk about the brighter moments or even the sometimes darker moments from the beginning times.
Weaning is not easy.
I want to highlight a few things. And people, if you know me at all, I typically BEAM SUNSHINE and POSITIVITY but right now, clearly, I’m in some type of way. Weaning has got me some type of way.
The above was written in the midst of weaning, during week one. I’m back, now nearly two weeks later to elaborate.
First and foremost, weaning brought on a boat load of irrational emotions and ALL THE TEARS. Like…way beyond what your hormones cause you to do and how you act when you’re PMSing. I’m talking raging bitch one minute, sobbing mess ohmygodyoumightaswellbeapuddleonthefloor the next.
I cried at everything. I was so angry. My poor fiance. I have no idea how he deals or what I caused him to think during that period of time, but God gave him patience for sure.
After like 4 days of my kiddo not nursing, I squeezed the over achieving boob (that he’s been exclusively nursing off of for the last 9 months) and nothing came out. No milk.
Liquid from my eyes, yeah. Why did I feel so crazy?! Why did no one warn me about this? I was so sad yet kind of relieved yet so so sooooo so sad. Like I felt like I had a cloud following me around. I seriously felt depressed.
So, i started to think about the village, & how many women before my time have weaned their children. I hopped on google and typed in “weaning-what to know, hormones and emotions“.
This is what popped up.
I chose the words “hormones and emotions” because I knew that every single piece of me felt CRAZY and so seriously depressed. I wasn’t just feeling sad–this was different. I was angry and unmotivated and sad and tired and just felt AWFUL. Coffee didn’t help. Oils helped, but getting the motivation to get up and actually get my oils wasn’t easy. It was RIDICULOUS. I did not feel like myself at all.
Looking at the google results, I immediately thought of Oxytocin.
I thought about how during the period of time that a woman is lactating, each time she nurses her child the hormone Oxytocin is released. Basically, the production of oxytocin is caused by the infant suckling, & it is responsible for “milk ejection reflex” (let down lol).
Oxytocin is an important part of the mother/baby bonding process, & is the hormone that is also released during other loving behaviors that make us feel good about a person. We experience a surge of oxytocin while nursing & it’s one of the ways that mother falls in love with her baby.
Here’s the kicker. Oxytocin is also a powerful antidepressant, & you can get it pretty much anywhere anytime. When you hug someone or shake their hand, the simple act of bodily contact will cause your brain to release low levels of oxytocin. It’s been called the “trust hormone”, “the love molecule”, & “the feel good hormone”.
I had been nursing my baby every single day, multiple times a day for a year and nine months.
Immediately, I thought “well no shit I’m sad and feel depressed. I’m used to a surge of oxytocin every single day nearly every hour, and now I’m out of milk and I’m no longer experiencing those frequent rushes of oxytocin.”
I’m a firm believer in the power of positive thought and choosing to be happy and thankful. During those two-ish weeks while I was drying up yet kyzer was so sad and still wanting to nurse, I felt like a stranger to myself, I was just so sad and my thoughts so negative.
Depression sucks, and I just can’t believe that we aren’t talking about PPD and weaning depression more often. I have been an active member of the Tulsa breastfeeding community through FB groups, speaking to LLL leaders, and connecting with local moms yet not once have I ever been warned about “weaning depression” when I’ve asked what to expect while weaning, and how to wean/what I needed to know.
I just want other moms to know, if they’re feeling like I was while they’re attempting to wean, that you are NOT ALONE and there is an explanation.
I am officially out of milk. And I officially don’t feel depressed or irrationally crazy anymore, I guess my body has adjusted and it just took some time. How kyzer reacted and continues to act about no longer getting num nums.. That’s another story for another time.
In the following interactions after a new child is born, or when they hit milestones, or when they wean– we are so quick to ask about baby and how they’re doing, because duh, we’re excited and want to hear all about it! But don’t forget to ask about how mom is doing 🙂
And if you are the mom in this weaning scenario, know that you matter and how you feel matters. It’s okay that you’re sad, but don’t keep it bottled up inside! Talk to someone. It always feels so much better once you’ve gotten it out!
Comments/questions/thoughts are always welcome 🙂
Credit for information on breastfeeding/Oxytocin: