S1:E29 The emotional rollercoaster of weaning your baby
If weaning sent you on an emotional rollercoaster, did you feel alone? I know I sure did! I truly had no idea it would be so emotionally challenging. When Allegra Gast (registered dietitian, board certified lactation consultant, post-partum doula) set about to increase awareness of this challenge, she tugged at my heartstrings! In this episode Allegra will walk us through weaning—emotionally, physiologically, and how-to…..just so you don’t feel so alone out there, friend
Two things to know before reading or listening to this podcast:
1. I am an advocate for breastfeeding AND mental health. You ultimately make the decision that is best for yourself, baby, and the whole family. I stand behind you however you need to feed your little one, mama.
2. If you are experiencing emotions that concern you, please seek professional help. We all need help every once in a while!
This episode is part 4 of 4 in the Mother's Day Month Series!-->Throughout this series we'll talk about nutrition for the ones who made you Mama!
Weaning is when you and baby conclude your breastfeeding. This typically happens around one or two years of age.
You can introduce solid foods around 6 months, but breastmilk (or formula) needs to be the baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year
Remember, milk before food for the entire first year
Physical Side Effects of Weaning
Breastfeeding in general is a very emotional time because of a natural hormonal and physiological shift within the body.
The two hormones that are used to create milk are oxytocin and prolactin. Oxytocin is the love hormone. Prolactin is associated with the feeling of calmness and mellowness.
When you start weaning, oxytocin decreases, which causes you to feel a sense of loss and sadness. Prolactin also decreases, which causes irritability and anxiety.
After weaning, your hormones go back to pre-pregnancy level.
Emotional Aspect of Weaning
That hormonal shifts truly makes this an emotional time!
· If the baby is over 1 years old- do it slowly to help reduce the emotional turmoil, but also to prevent physical issues like clogged ducts.
· If you are weaning, don’t refuse the breast, but don’t offer the breast.
· If they are begging for the breast, use distractions like offering a toy or activity before you give the breast, and you can also cut the time short that they spend feeding.
· If you are pumping, slowly lower the amount of time spent pumping
· Do NOT wean during an already stressful time – it can add additional stress and cause more problems
· Do NOT wean during flu season or a national pandemic- your baby needs all the antibodies reduce infections
· Breastmilk is considered the first vaccination
Mamas, did you know that you can download a free E-book, Frozen to Fabulous, that helps you to better use frozen foods? Healthy frozen foods can be excellent choices when you have a breastfeeding baby in tow. Grab your free E-book by clicking HERE.