Facebook Pixel

The End of Breastfeeding: Depression After Weaning

Rate This

I snap at my husband when he tries to use a certain coffee cup. I grit my teeth at my kids when I hear them fighting with each other. I look at my baby drinking whole milk out of a sippy cup and I burst into tears. It is 6:40 a.m. on a Monday and it has been two days since I quit breastfeeding.

It was days away from my son’s first birthday and I began to wean him. I took plenty of time and started by just dropping one feeding a day. About three or four days later, I dropped another one. The transition was very smooth. It was easier to stop breastfeeding my son than I thought it would be. I wasn't expecting that it would be worse for me than him.

It was sometime around when I started dropping feedings that I felt different. I was sad and I didn’t know why. I was irritable and seemed to have less patience than usual. I finally admitted to a close friend how I was feeling.

She told me that I was not alone and she had also experienced sadness shortly after her baby’s first birthday. After talking to her doctor, she found out that it was common for women to experience some depression after weaning due to a shift in hormone levels.

It feels like the worst PMS that I have ever experienced. Emotionally, I feel like I did right around the time when I became pregnant. As I researched this topic, I found that it was more common than I knew. Every entry, blog or question on this topic sounded just like what I was experiencing. It is helpful to know that I am not alone.

If you recently quit breastfeeding and seem to be experiencing feelings like this, TALK TO SOMEONE. Remember to take care of yourself as well as your children.

Add a Comment24 Comments

(reply to Anonymous)

My son did the same thing. He threw his cups of whole milk on the floor and looked at me and cried as he gave me the baby sign for milk (nursing.) He got over it and now LOVES whole milk. It may take a little time for your baby to get used to because it is new. Best of luck!

July 25, 2009 - 12:52pm

I am so glad to hear Im not alone! I have just weaned my 16 month old this week she actually weaned herself ,I have tried to nurse her and she laughs and bits me (she never bit me before) I know she is healthy and old enough to be weaned but I nursed my son untill he was 3years old so this is so different to me he didnt really want to stop even then..I have been so depressed a feel like I am going to cry if I even think about it I dont want to do anything but stay home I kindof feel like Im in a daze and I hate it it feels like it will never go away even though I know it will... I am going to give it alittle more time and then I think I will go to the Dr. and try some medication to help get me through this.I so miss the bond I felt from nursing but this is way beyond that.Thanks for sharing ...Beth

July 15, 2009 - 8:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to nursebeth)

Im commenting on my post ...Im happy to say it s been about 10 days now and Im feeling much better!!! It will get better ladys and the feeling will subside just give it some time..Learning to cherish the other special things about being a Mommy!

July 25, 2009 - 9:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

i am so glad ive seen this comment , when you are feeling blue it helps to know that you are feeling better after 10 days or so. i am feeling so down at the moment my body has gone into melt down since i stopped feeding nearly a week ago ( baby is 17 months old) i dropped feeds very slowly & didnt think i could have an issue. been feeling so tearful and acting very irrational . not normal at all. thanks for this post xx

June 12, 2015 - 5:37am
(reply to Anonymous)

Glad to hear it. I agree, we just do other special things together now. Thanks for the update!

July 25, 2009 - 12:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks so much. I came across this while researching depression after weaning. I gradually dropped my 9 month old's feedings, but quit for good last Wednesday due to weeks of biting issues. I wasn't ready, but we couldn't get past it, and I had already quit pumping at work, so my supply couldn't take much of a hit. The past few days, I've been SO short-tempered. My husband is at his wits end wondering why I'm so unhappy and snappy. Today is the worst day! I'm sad. So sad. I feel empty. I can't shake it and I could cry at the drop of a hat. I feel tired and alone. Depressed. It's awful. I know this has to be it because it's so NOT normal for me. I just hope it doesn't last long.

July 15, 2009 - 11:32am
(reply to Anonymous)

You are not alone! Today is the first day that I am feeling "back." I also pray that it doesn't last long for you. I think it was almost 2 weeks for me. I went to the gym today and the exercise seemed to help me too. I encourage you to talk to a supportive friend about how you are feeling. You may be surprised to find how many women go through this. Give yourself a break from daily chores that might feel overwelming and try to treat yourself to things that make you happy. That is what seemed to work for me to get through the sad days. I told my husband that my mood was being affected by a shift in my hormone levels and that the crazy lady living inside me would hopefully go away soon! He laughed and that helped. If it begins to feel worse, please call your doctor! I wish you the best and would like to hear from you again!

July 15, 2009 - 3:39pm
(reply to Susan Schade)

Hi Susan - thank you so much for your comments. I have been scouring the internet trying to find out why I am feeling so depressed, moody, teary, snappish, overwhelmed, angry and generally unable to cope. My children are 6 and 3 and it has been approx a month since I weaned our 3yo (I breastfed our 6yo for 2 years). So for the past 7 years I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding and for the most part having a wonderful life. Until tonight I have been perplexed about why my world feels as though it is suddenly falling apart around me. I am now quite sure this is attributable to weaning. The weaning happened to be quite speedy - almost overnight (both 3yo and I were comfortable with the decision) so the hormonal changes would be dramatic. I feel comfortable going to an acupuncturist or similar to help me through the next few months now that I know what the probable cause is. Your honesty has saved me many days/weeks/months of heartache. Blessings, Nicol x

July 23, 2009 - 4:43am
(reply to greentreefrog)

I am glad to hear it. Thanks for your comment and take care of yourself. Best of luck!

July 23, 2009 - 7:40am

My kids were weaned long before their first birthdays; and I had the advantage of being able to work from home while they were all little ones, so it wasn't a matter of having to rush them off to daycare. I agree that there is probably no "right" time to wean, as that is a personal decision. One of my friends nursed her son for 3 years (yes, 3), which I thought was totally ridiculous. But, it was her decision.

July 8, 2009 - 7:03pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Parenting Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!