The time has come to start weaning your baby from the breast and you may be feeling a little sad. There are so many emotions that run through your body, especially when it comes to your child. If you are feeling a little blue as you stop breastfeeding, here are some things you need to know.
What Causes Changes in Mood?
While not much research has been conducted on post-breastfeeding mood changes, the consensus is that it is linked to hormonal changes in the body. When you’re weaning your baby off the breast, you experience a drop in prolactin and oxytocin levels. Prolactin is a hormone required for the production of milk but it also makes you feel calm and relaxed. Oxytocin is a hormone required for milk ejection and is often referred to as the love or cuddling hormone as it is associated with bonding and attachment. With the decrease of these two hormones, you’re likely to feel a bout of sadness.
Can This Lead to Depression?
It’s important to slowly wean your baby and yourself from breastfeeding to avoid an abrupt shift in hormone levels. If you suddenly stopped nursing, you could have adverse effects, which may lead to depression. If you have a family or personal history of depression, you may be more likely to experience it after weaning your baby.
It’s important to note that having the post-breastfeeding blues is different than having depression. You’re going to feel a sense of loss and sadness during weaning and that’s okay. However, if you find that it’s not getting better or it’s interfering with your ability to care for yourself or your child, call us today at 860.648.9755 to schedule an appointment.
To getting you back to your best self,
Lori Calabrese, MD