May 2, 2011 11

Post Weaning Depression Is Real Yo!

By in breastfeeding, toddler

First I titled this “Post Weaning Depression Is Real” and then I felt really sad. Sadder than I already am about this weaning business that my twins have decided to partake in on their own without my permission, presumably the first time they will do something I don’t approve of. But I guess deciding to wean is better than say taking up the dirty habit of smoking at 17 months. So I added the “Yo!” for effect and so I don’t salt my cheeks with the river that wants to flow from my eyes. But I’m still going to sit here and eat 7 (or more) dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s in an attempt to feel better. I want to ask them, What the crap, kids? Why are you done with mama’s milk? And I have, only without the crap part but they just smile and say ma-mums and pinch my nipple. But have no other interest in it whatever.

Ma-mums is for you! I tell them and express some milk to give them a taste in hopes they will be like Yay! Ma-mums! Give me some! Only they don’t talk that much yet but I just wanted them to latch on and have some. (Pause for unwrapping another dark chocolate peanut butter cup, which goes great with milk by the way.)

In all this weaning business I just kept trying for one more time. One. MORE special breastfeeding moment so I can take a photo to remember the last time or say a prayer or just have one more ONE MORE time where I have that bond, that connection, that amazing oxytocin that I am clearly addicted to and need and want more of. But I end up feeling like a freak trying to force a moment that my kids don’t want. And even if they do latch on for a moment, by the time I got the camera around our bodies they become more interested in the camera than their ma-mums. And all I can think of is why? I offer. They just don’t want it.

Why don’t they want me anymore? Why are they done with ma-mums? It’s clearly my fault. I did something wrong. Maybe it’s because I am a working mom and they got used to the bottles during the day and the morning and night moments at the breast got fazed out of what they wanted? Maybe my low supply (which I know I have) was too frustrating for my kids, who now are older and need more and want more?

And so this just makes me sad. Dwelling on it too much kind of sad. Sad when I put on their bedtime classical music playlist and song number 5 comes on I remember that’s the song that would come on when my son Hunter’s suck would slow and he’d start to fall asleep. Sad that when I see other moms breastfeeding I get irrationally jealous. Sad. Empty, in a weird way. Like I’m “done” and my kids are breaking away from me. Which makes sense. They were in my belly for 36 weeks, they breastfed for 17 months … now they don’t “need” me anymore. Okay, yes, I know they need me in so many many many ways, but they don’t need or really want ma-mums. Which just makes me terribly sad.

So in an attempt to not let the depression get worse, and not for me to overdose on dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and because the change of hormones has been very very noticed, I took my first yoga class today (after years of not doing yoga). Something for me. Something to help my aching back, get air in between my bones, have more positive affirmations to add to my daily momtra. And something I hope will help me not be such a sad mommy when they say ma-mums and don’t want any.

Have you ever experienced post weaning depression? How did you cope? Should I just have another baby? (That last question is a funny. Sort of.)

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11 Responses to “Post Weaning Depression Is Real Yo!”

  1. azurah says:

    i have tried weaning my 2 years plus daughter for several times. Everytime the effort is almost succeeded, i back off. I believe it is because i am not ready.

    my daughter is of course happy to get to breastfeed again. Last time was easier with my boy. It was because i’ve already had my daughter when i weaned him.

    So to answer your question, haha, maybe you should have another baby.

    Anyway, part of me will be very glad to have her to stop breastfeeding. Maybe i can start yoga class to that she doesn;t really rely on me for milk (and comfort feeding).

  2. Christie
    Twitter:
    says:

    ::hugs:: I’m so sorry this is so hard on you.
    And yes, you should have another baby. You hear that, Mr. Michele? Get to baby-making!

  3. Sahara says:

    Thank you for posting this… this is the same thing I have been feeling as my 9 month baby wants to nurse less and less and less. Especially that middle paragraph about working and supply and the questions that roll around and around like a thunderstorm and never really go away. I didn’t realize this complete, well – sadness – was normal.

    I once read an argument that mothers breastfed their older toddlers “just for themeselves [the mom]” and thought that was ridiculous, because who would voluntarily want to cope with trying to nurse a distractable, willful, curious, unproprietary, toddler and all the infections and leaking and things that go along with nursing? But now I understand, now that my daughter is ready to move on from breastfeeding, without me! (Not that I agree with that argument! Anyone who has TRIED to nurse a child who doesn’t want to nurse will LAUGH at that argument.)

    So I keep pumping because it’s like this one last little thing I can do for her, is at least give her half of her food while I’m at work (even though pumping is mind-numbing and I’m sick of it…) and wonder how on earth I come to peace with this depression

  4. Katy says:

    I was so not ready to wean DD1 but had to had 11.5 months for a 5 day mapping project for my geology degree in the field. There was just no real way to work with pumping or anything out there. When I cut out the first feeding, I cried & cried. When I nursed her for the last time to sleep the night before I left, I felt like my heart was breaking. When I came back, I still had a bit of milk & was so hoping that she would want to nurse. She didn’t. She was done. There was no interest. I found out I was pregnant with DD2 the morning I returned, so I wonder if that had something to do with it. I am going to let DD2 go as long as she wants. The knowledge that I would be nursing another baby soon got me through! My husband said that when he saw DD2 nurse for the first time I got this ahhh dreamy expression over my face. Sorry I am no help, lol!

  5. Michele says:

    Thank you all! You all are of help just to hear I am not alone. Much love to each of you!

  6. Funny that I just stumbled across your site – and this post – because the post I have scheduled for tomorrow is my own weaning depression angst. And my kid is 3.5 yrs old! I don’t think it’s ever easy to lose that special connection (oh wow – I’m crying. Again.). We should probably start a support group. ;)
    Thank you for your honesty!

  7. Nancey says:

    My son just turned 1 June 4th… it’s now June 6th. I decided to stop nursing him when he turned 1, so that morning was his last. I had felt sad at the thought of it as the day approached, but I felt like it was the best thing to do. I rationalized that his immune system is built up to the point that he doesn’t have to rely on mine, that he wasn’t getting as much nutritional value from my breastmilk as he does the food that he eats now, and now he has to start focusing on how to drink from a cup. But now I’m “reverse” rationalizing… thinking that ‘what if he does still need my antibodies for his immune system’… ‘what if he just wasn’t ready emotionally to be weaned’… etc. But I realize that these new thoughts are caused by my hormones going out of wack, and that these thoughts are selfish. He doesn’t need to be nursed by me anymore, even though we both want it. He is growing and he needs to learn bigger and better things. We shared that special bond, but now we can share so much more than that now. A lot of time was spent on nusring, but now that time can be spent doing other things with him like teaching him how to draw, or ride his new bike, or read books, or master drinking from a cup :)

  8. Janna says:

    My daughter abruptly weaned at 6 months. Nursed before her morning nap one day, then never did it again. I tried everything I knew to do to get her back to breastfeeding, but wanted nothing to do with it. I worked with my LC, who finally agreed that my sweet, super independent baby was indeed done, and was one of the few who weans early. I had grand plans to breastfeed for at least a year and longer if it seemed right at that time. I was DEVASTATED when she stopped, and to be honest, I’m still very weepy if I think about it. I loved nursing her…more than I ever thought possible.

    But, there were signs that she was starting to prefer the bottle. It’s ironic, too, because we spent my first two months back at work trying desperately to get her to take a bottle (of pumped breastmilk). She wanted nothing to do with the bottles! Some days, she wouldn’t eat at all until I got home and nursed her all night. It’s been a little over two months since we last nursed. I pumped for those two months so she could still get breastmilk, but I just weaned from the pump. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

    I shouldn’t be surprised. My daughter came into this world strong willed and stubborn, independent and ready for the next new exciting thing. She is not a cuddly or snuggly baby, but she is smart as a whip, strong, healthy and I love her unconditionally. I just wish I had know the last time was THE LAST TIME, so I could have cherished it. I just hope I didn’t rush her through it.

  9. Automotive says:

    Amazing – an individual gotta check this out

  10. Becky says:

    I stumbled across this site because I think I am going to have a hard time with weaning. I have to start traveling for work again soon, and my husband suggested we just wean our son for good, so he’ll have an easier time while I’m away. Our son is 17.5 months, and I never expected to go this long and I don’t really WANT to travel with my pump…but the thought of no longer breastfeeding after all this time makes me sad. And my son is not ready to stop on his own, so it’s going to involve some tears if we go through with this.

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