Thursday, April 28, 2016

Weaning and its Challenges

Edited with permission, CC.
    Toddler Picturesque is almost two, and I have been practicing self-weaning with her for breastfeeding. If you'd like to see my other article on breastfeeding past a year, go here. 
    So what is self-weaning? It is when you let your child decide when to stop breastfeeding and let them wean themselves. Well Toddler P. has done just that, and has slowly made her way to breastfeeding only twice a day now. Although this is a bitter sweet moment for me, it is amazing to watch her make the decision to no longer breastfeed. 
    I expected with weaning that there would be some soreness and some sadness, but I had no idea the changes that would take place in my body from her weaning!
    Every month I was eagerly waiting to see if my period would come, because I had the weirdest, pregnancy related symptoms. I had nausea most of the month, backaches, acne, cramping, ocular migraines, exhaustion, and pain in my breasts. I couldn't figure out what was going on, because I wasn't pregnant. Come to find out, most women experience pregnancy like symptoms when they are actively weaning. This is due to hormone changes and losing certain chemicals in the body such as oxytocin and prolactin (which are hormones that produce milk). Prolactin is a natural hormone your body makes to stimulate lactation and helps to create a relaxed feeling when baby nurses. Oxytocin is the hormone that is required for let-down, it also is called the love hormone as it makes momma especially happy when nursing (see this helpful article for more info).

   Unfortunately there is very little research about this out there,  but thankfully I found other moms who had dealt with similar symptoms and boy was it a relief! So I thought I'd share the information I found with you. If you are reading this and are in obstetrics, please do some research on weaning and the hormonal changes it causes for mothers. It could really benefit other mothers!
    I found that weaning has meant the following symptoms that get worse at the times when my hormones fluctuate (such as at ovulation or during my menstrual cycle):
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Sore boobs
  • Headaches
  • Extreme hunger
  • Some issues sleeping
    When you were weaning your little one, did you have any of these struggles? 
    If you would like more information, I found these articles helpful! "No You're Not Pregnant and Simultaneously PMSing" and "Weaning From Breastfeeding is Exhausting."

    DISCLAIMER: Please remember I am not expert, I just am a mom sharing my experiences in hopes that it will help other moms. If you experience any of the above symptoms and are concerned, go see a doctor.

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