Some women are burning their pump and throwing themselves a party when they’re ready to end their breastfeeding journey. Whether it was one day or 3 years, oh how I applaud you! YOU DESERVE TO CELEBRATE! You sacrificed time and energy and yourself to nourish your child, and now you’re free. Then why, oh why am I just a sad, blubbering mess?!
While many mamas look forward to the time they can have their body back, many women dread the day their baby won’t nurse anymore. There is a period of adjustment, mentally and physically, when our bodies are no longer providing nourishment and comfort to our littles. Our baby is getting older, more independent and needing us just a tiny bit less. With my first daughter, I had so many thoughts when our breastfeeding relationship started coming to an end.
“How would we still have that special bond?”
“Does she even need me anymore?”
“Why do I feel so empty…in more ways than one?”
“Am I the only one that feels like I’m mourning the loss of nursing my baby?”
Spoken now from the other side, I can smile at my weepy self back then and wish I could just assure her it gets even better. Post-breastfeeding sadness is REAL and NORMAL for lots of mothers. That in itself gave me a bit of comfort. You are not alone and there is not only one way to feel as we go through this new phase of motherhood.
As I am beginning the weaning process for my little twins, I’m feeling all the feels.
Here are some ways to empower yourself during this time and overcome the weaning blues you might feel:
1. Focus on Other Ways to Bond with Your Baby.
Breastfeeding is such a special way to bond with our babies, but it is certainly not the only way. When I started purposefully looking for other ways to fill that bond I had while feeding them, my eyes were opened in the best ways. I love singing to them as I rock them, watching them gulp down their bottles, reading books together and our messy bath time. Being intentional with the other moments together can remind you that your bond won’t change post-breastfeeding.
2. Do Something For YOU.
You’ve given your baby your energy, your time, and your freedom. And though we would do it all again a million times, there are some things I’m excited to do post-breastfeeding that I just couldn’t do before. Maybe you want to get back into exercising or running. Maybe leaving the house with or without your baby will be a bit less stressful. Maybe you are able to go on an overnight vacation now! Doing something for yourself and focusing on self-care can be energizing.
3. Go Shopping for Non-Nursing Items!
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn a “normal bra” in the past 10 months. While nursing bras and sports bras ARE comfortable, you can buy something just for you now- a pretty bra, a new dress or the most non-nursing-friendly top you can find 😉
4. Prepare a Freezer Stash in Advance.
If you’re able to plan in advance, saving up some frozen milk in the freezer can help ease the transition for both you and your baby. Being able to give them some breast milk as they transition to formula or cow’s milk (if they’re older than 1) can be empowering for you!
5. Recognize Your Feelings, But Focus on the Positive.
No matter how long your breastfeeding journey lasted, you did something amazing! Women’s bodies are just incredible and so strong. It’s okay to be sad that you’re not nursing anymore, but remember how special of a time it was and be proud of yourself for what you did for your baby. There are so many more milestones to come that are exciting and fun – this is just the beginning!
If your sad feelings do not go away or you’re concerned about what you’re feeling, please reach out to someone. Postpartum depression can surface at different times for different people. Do not be ashamed and know you are not alone! Please read The Postpartum Message you NEED to Hear.
- Adjusting to Motherhood – Anxiety & Postpartum Support Group: (319) 369-7580
- Anxiety and Depression Coping Skills Group: (319) 398-6575
- Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Group: (319) 693-5694
- Foundation II Crisis Hotline: (319) 362-2174
- Healthy Families Line: 1-800-369-2229
- Iowa Concerns Hotline: 1-800-447-1985
- MY NURSE 1-800-IA-HEALTH 1-800-424-3258
- Postpartum Support International (PSI) Warm line 1-800-944-4773 or www.postpartum.net
- Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)
- University of Iowa Women’s Wellness & Counseling Service (319) 353-1898
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