Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Weaning and Depression

I didn't know that weaning my baby would effect my brain so much. I had already weaned a few babies from breastfeeding, without any ill effects on me. 
My baby was over a year. I loved nursing her. She loved it too. But she was getting older. She could drink cow's milk now. And I was starting to feel run down, needing a full night's sleep. It was time. I started to wean by stopping the night time feedings. It was so hard. She was so sweet, begging me to nurse. I started to feel a little guilty. 
Then, the guilty feelings were masked by a fog that hit me. My days become very long. My daily tasks became larger than life. I no longer had patience for my little ones... Or for adults in my life either. I felt mostly emotionless, unmotivated, tired, and lazy. I knew that these feelings were not normal for me. I remembered that I normally had much more energy, happiness, and patience with my family. I normally cared if the house was a mess, but now things began to slip. And I didn't care.
Then I remembered reading about Joanna's experience with depression and weaning. I realized that my fog had started when I started to wean my sweet little baby. It was encouraging to me, to realize this wasn't the new me, I would get better. Realizing what was going on, I hurried up the weaning process. It was hard for both of us and some days I wanted to just forget it and nurse her again.
But somehow I didn't give in. And slowly my days got better. After about 3-4 weeks of no nursing at all (and about 2.5 months total), I felt happy again. I felt like I could handle my life again. What a relief! 
Depression and weaning is not something that is well known or talked about much. I am sharing my story here today, because I feel it is something that needs to be known among mothers. If I can help even one mother, I would be so glad! 
If you are experiencing post postpartum depression symptoms while weaning your baby, please know that you are not alone!! Hang in there a little longer until your hormones level out! Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor about it! Sometimes our brains need medicine to help us through rough patches, and that is perfectly ok. 
We must take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our babies. 
In my lowest points, I found that grapefruit oil actually worked well! I used it in my diffuser, or I put a couple drops on my shirt. Another thing that helped was to cuddle my baby- a lot. It seemed to help with some of the guilty feelings I was having for not nursing her. It also helped me to talk about my emotions. I have a very large support group of family and friends, and that was so helpful! With all of these things I was able to hang in there through it all with out any medicine; but if it had lasted any longer I would have for sure headed back to my doctor.

If any of you are experiencing this and have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly! 
(I am not a doctor, and I am only speaking from experience. Please consult with your doctor if you are feeling symptoms of depression!)

Thank you for reading!


  1. Okay, I'm not a mother, nor will I ever be one. I don't even want to be one. I couldn't if I tried. I have too much equipment. But my wife experienced the exact same thing. It was kind of heartbreaking to watch her start to tear up as my boy pawed at her, confused as to why he couldn't "nurse-nurse". He'd get angry and sad and that made her sadder than I'd ever seen her before. When I think about it, those feelings then were probably just because of weaning. It's tough.

    Now he doesn't even know what nursing is. As a joke she tried nursing him and he just started giggling.

    I'm pretty much a doofus when it comes to this stuff but I figured I'd just comment on how similar my wife's experience was to yours.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Johnny! That does sound similar to my experience.

  2. I felt more emotional effects weaning my last than I had with previous ones. And with a friend of mine, weaning her last, just threw her body out of whack - both emotionally and also physically - and it took years of trying things and seeing specialists to get healthy again. As you said, I don't think it's well known, and one could experience it without making the connection. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Sarah! I do wish doctors were more aware of this!


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