For some women, when breastfeeding stops, the sadness begins. At least that is what happened to me. But it wasn’t just sadness. It was irritability, lack of patience and physical discomfort. I just wasn't feeling like myself.
It was only in talking with other moms that I realized that these symptoms are more common than I knew. There are so many support groups for women to help with breastfeeding. What about those of us that are quitting?
I made the decision to nurse all three of my children, but prior to having kids I was not very comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. Although I wasn’t sure that it was right for me, I gave it a chance for the nutritional benefits for my children. I have to say, with each baby, it felt more natural but I was always ready for my baby to graduate from breastfeeding. Or so I thought.
Imagine my surprise when after weaning my 3rd son, I found myself missing the very thing that I never thought I would do. We just celebrated his first birthday. Do I really miss nursing him? Am I emotional because he is growing out of his baby stage? Is it because I believe that he is my last baby and I will never breastfeed again? What is this change that is happening to me? Is it the shift in hormone levels in my body? My head was filled with questions as my heart continued to ache.
It is not only the emotional factors. I’m fatigued, experiencing headaches, soreness in my breasts, and I have PMS-type nausea. This is something that I also never experienced with my other children.
I have found information on women experiencing sadness and guilt after making the decision to quit breastfeeding before a year’s time. There is not much information available for women who have breastfed for a year or longer and then stopped.
For me, it is just helpful to talk about it and know that I am not alone and not crazy. I have a great support group of friends and an understanding husband. With each day that passes, I can feel that things are getting better. My hope is to share my story with other mothers. You are not alone.