Hello from Ives & Christy
Our desire is that the ula and us blog inspires, educates, and provides practical tips and tricks to help you conquer your individual summits.
If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that I (Christy) recently stopped breastfeeding. During the weaning process, I dealt with some hormonal shifts that caused postpartum anxiety/anger a few days in a row. I thought it would be interesting to share with you some of my findings and tips in case there are other mamas that have gone through something similar.
What hormones are changing?
What I found is that it is not uncommon to feel sad, tearful, or mildly depressed. It's also normal to have mood swings or anxiety. With that said, it isn't necessarily healthy and it's important to understand what your body is going through so you can spend extra time caring for yourself during this process. The good news is that it seems to be short term and should go away in a few weeks or up to a month. Unfortunately, there isn't a ton of sound research on this subject, but it's assumed that hormonal changes are a huge factor in mood shifts during and after the weaning process. If you have and/or are breastfeeding then you probably know that when you breastfeed your body creates prolactin to produce milk, this is a hormone that makes you feel calm and relaxed. In addition, oxytocin is needed for milk ejection and this one is known as the love and bonding hormone. This is the same hormone that is released when we fall in love. With these two hormones regularly being released into your body, it makes sense for you to go through a shift when you begin to cut them out during the weaning process.
Intuitively and from my research, the faster you cut out feedings and/or pumping the more significant you will feel the hormonal shift. The gentler you cut out feedings, the more time it gives your body to adapt. Most advise to drop approximately 1 feeding per week and to slowly work yourself down. I took this approach initially, but after looking back I definitely stopped a little too suddenly for my body to adjust appropriately. I also had a lot of stress, with COVID 19, moving into our house, and adjusting to a new work schedule where I was working from home with no childcare. I know other mamas are in the same boat and being a mama can be stressful in general, so more than anything this is a reminder to truly take care of ourselves first. Let's flip the script mama and nurture ourselves first, as it becomes impossible to give to others when we don't spend time on ourselves first. It's the small things that add up.
Tips to ease the transition and take care of yourself:
These are simple tips that I hope you found helpful! If you personally experienced any type of post weaning blues or anxiety, let us know what helped you! Everyone is truly unique and if these feelings continue to occur, reach out. Put your health first and everything else falls into place.