Has your breastfeeding journey come to an end already? Time flies when you spend so much of your energy taking care of your little one.
All good things must come to an end, though, and breastfeeding is one of them. If your baby has outgrown the breastfeeding stage or you've decided to begin weaning, you may notice some changes.
There are some apparent symptoms of weaning from breastfeeding. We’ll go over a few of them so you know what to expect and can ease your worries.
1. Physical Illness
It’s perfectly normal to go through the wringer after weaning. This is because your body is going through a hormonal whirlwind that can cause you to become physically ill after weaning your baby.
Your fluctuating hormones may cause you to experience headaches, exhaustion, or dizziness. This can be closely related to the premenstrual l illnesses you experienced before you became pregnant.
This makes a lot of sense, considering your period should be returning soon if it hasn’t already. Physical illnesses that you encounter after weaning may be entirely circumstantial and could pass when your hormones begin to rebalance themselves.
2. Emotional Distress
When you stop breastfeeding, you may have feelings of guilt or depression. This is totally expected and completely natural.
The stress-relieving hormones from breastfeeding are no longer in effect, which may cause your emotions to come crashing down. These symptoms of weaning from breastfeeding may be mild or severe; every mom is different.
It’s important to know that you are still a fantastic mother, and your baby still loves you! If your depression gets worse after you stop breastfeeding, don't be afraid to talk to a doctor or find a support system.
Even after you stop breastfeeding your baby, your body will still produce milk. This could continue for a while until your body gets with the program. This may cause some pain in the breasts.
Your milk supply will gradually decline and will eventually stop altogether. The rate at which the body entirely stops creating milk varies from person to person.
Some people only experience lactation for a few days after stopping cold turkey, while others continue to create breast milk for years after weaning. It’s safe to say you can expect to squeeze out a drop or two for a while.
To ease these symptoms, you can hand-express your milk or opt for some ice packs to help with the pain. Cradle Me Baby has some helpful massagers that can help ease the pain caused by engorgement.
4. Clogged Ducts
When you abruptly stop breastfeeding, your breasts could become engorged. If this isn’t catered to, you may experience clogged milk ducts, which can be extremely painful.
Simply put, a clogged duct occurs when there is an obstruction of milk flow in the breast. This blockage could be at the nipples or deeper in the ductal system.
If this goes untreated, it could lead to mastitis, which opens another can of worms. Mastitis is a breast infection that causes more widespread problems, like fever and flu-like symptoms. Your breasts will be warm to the touch, and red at the blockage site.
Aggressively treating a clogged duct can reduce the chances of getting mastitis. You can do this the same way you would ease the symptoms of engorged breasts.
The same hormone that helped you feel calm during breastfeeding also suppressed your ovulation. As prolactin levels fall in the body, your menstrual cycle and ovulation may return.
The return of your menstrual cycle and the riddance of prolactin also allow the return of estrogen. Even if you're tired from being a good mom, you'll notice that your vaginal lubrication gets better and your sexual desire goes up.
We don’t have to tell you what the combination of ovulation and a restored libido means. It’s what got you here in the first place!
The good news is thatnow that you’re not breastfeeding, you can opt for birth control with more potent hormones if you wish.
6. Weight Gain
Did you know that breastfeeding burns up to 700 calories a day? Well, now that you’re not breastfeeding anymore, your caloric needs will go back to normal.
Your breastfeeding munchies will take a while to suppress, though. This means that while you continue to hunger for snacks, your body will no longer be efficiently metabolizing fat.
Because of this, you could gain a little more weight while your body adjusts to hormonal changes.
Better Days are Coming!
All these symptoms will pass in due time. Weaning is just a small process in the long and rewarding journey of motherhood.
You should be proud of yourself for making it so far along in the breastfeeding chapter of motherhood. Soon, your symptoms of weaning will subside, and you can continue to reap the benefits of being a mommy!
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