Stopping Breast Feeding - Symptoms, Side Effects and Unexpected Emotions

When I was looking online, I couldn't find much written on what to expect when stopping breast feeding. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of information out there on how to avoid mastitis and engorged breasts, but when looking for information on what other physical, emotional and hormonal symptoms may be experienced when ending the breast feeding relationship, my trusty Google searches came up short.

I was quite surprised by this. Like many other new mums, I've spent the last 7+ months treading water in a literal sea of breast feeding information. From online hacks and how tos to NCT classes and health visitor demos, there is A LOT of guidance out there if you're trying to find out 'How to Do Breast Feeding'. 

'How Not to Do Breast Feeding Any More', and 'What Stopping Breast Feeding Actually Feels Like' however, are another set of spanners all together. 

With the exception of a couple of articles (like this one and this one) I couldn't find anything much that made me feel better about what I've been experiencing. 

That's why I'm writing this post.

Because in my experience stopping breast feeding comes with a whole bunch of untold feelings, symptoms and side effects that I wished I'd known about before they started happening to me. That's why I'm writing this post. To make anyone out there going through this whole weaning thing feel like they're not alone. And for no other reason. I'm not an expert, this is just what stopping breast feeding has been like for me.

Where do I start... 

There's the nausea, the night sweats and the shitty sleep in general. There's the uncontrollable lactating, bulging, and milking of the self at times most inconvenient (in the car, into an empty bottle...yep).  There's those awkward under the skin spots, lumpy boobs, general exhaustion and impatience bordering on out-right hostility for all other human beings who aren't my baby. 

Oh. And there's the tears, the (however brief) mourning of the end of that particular kind of relationship with my son. 

Well, that's been my experience any way.

I stopped breast feeding completely 10 days ago and in that time these are all of the 'symptoms', 'side effects' or whatever you'd prefer to call them, that I've felt. Things are now a little better though. 

10 Days Later...

After going from seriously full, strangely lumpy and painful over days 1-7 post breast-feeding, my boobs have gone back to how they where pre-pregnancy. Like totally back to normal. I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this though because I now have no bras that fit me whatsoever. How can this be you ask? 

Well, what they also fail to tell you about stopping breast-feeding is that there is a chance that if you forget to adjust your diet back to when there was only one of you to feed, then you will likely experience some form of weight gain

Yep. Having previously bragged about being able to eat a few extra cakes when breastfeeding, I'm now the proud owner of a few extra lbs. I wouldn't mind this if I had the money to replace all of my clothes, but I don't so I'm putting the cakes to one side for a few weeks until life balances back out again!

Emotionally on the first day I finally got my son to accept a bottle I felt jubilant. On day 2 I felt overwhelming sadness and I cried in bed over the thought that my baby didn't need me any more. Of course he does, and after reading this Kelly Mom article I found today I am more in perspective about ending our breast feeding relationship than I was to begin with. I realise that these feelings (and the feelings of hostility and rage my boyfriend is currently bearing the brunt of!) are linked to the shift in hormones experienced during weaning

A week and a half after my last feed with Harry, the most prominent symptoms that I'm still feeling are nausea and exhaustion, just like I did in early pregnancy. I've seen other mums talk about this too so presume like they have that this is linked to hormone fluctuation. 

Man, weaning really does suck. 

Harry has basically flown through this whole thing as though nothing at all has changed whilst I'm all up in here feeling like a bedraggled, lethargic, semi-sane, cake deprived ball of rage. 


If you'd like to read about how I actually managed to wean my baby (who previously REFUSED to take a bottle) you might like this post :)

How's weaning going for everyone else? Have you experienced any symptoms? Please leave a comment below if you want to share your experience too. 




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