When breastfeeding ends and your child is weaned (whether its your choice or theirs), it can often come with an onsaught of hormonal changes. In fact, weaning and depression have been linked in many women. While most woman are prepared to watch for high emotions, moodiness and possible depression after their baby is born, many of these same symptoms can occur once breastfeeding is over.
While I couldn't find a lot of medical articles that talked about this hormonal shift, what I could find was tons of moms sharing their experiences and noting that in addition to a predictable soreness and some engorgement, they also reported things like:
These symptoms certainly weren't common for everyone but really, some type of hormonal reaction makes perfect sense. Most women reported feeling better within 2-4 weeks after having stopped breastfeeding.
Its important to note that the hormones we're talking about when breastfeeding comes to an end are the same ones that can trigger postpartum depression – prolactin and oxytocin. Its completely logical that your body would need to adjust from having extended periods of these 'happy' hormones in your system (the length of time you've been breastfeeding can affect how intense these symptoms may be).
At our Every Little Step Baby Basics program with Walmart Canada that took place this week, moms also chatted about tips for reducing pain and engorgement (wear a underwire free tight fitting bra to bed at night, pump a very small amount for relief and decrease that amount each day, use cold compresses or cabbage leaves for added releif) and ways to cut out a feed. We also chatted about food changes as baby matures – more textures, eating what the family eats, using utensils and bowls and plates, etc. You can check out Walmart's wide selection of feeding accessories (like my favourite, the WOW cup) here. Don't forget that shipping is always free making shopping super easy for busy parents!