Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The effects of stopping breastfeeding

By Mona Selinger

If you have been considering about weaning or are busy weaning your child, you should remember that there are a number of side effects of this. Some of the side effects of weaning can be psychological, whilst there are also a number of physical consequences. Understanding some of the side effects of weaning may put you in a better position to identify the signs, or even completely prevent the side effects all together.

Tender breasts are quite frequent after having stopped breastfeeding. This is due to the fact that your body will continue to produce quantities of breast milk for your little one. This will regularly result in engorgement within the breast tissue. This will generally clear up after a few days, but if it lasts for over two weeks you should speak your midwife for advice or medication.

If you continue feeling really full, you may pump to ease some of the pressure. You must however abstain expressing as much as possible at this stage as it will cause your body to produce more milk.

Another effect of stopping breastfeeding is depression. While this does not happen to all mums, it can be relatively typical. The main attributing influences to post weaning depression is the change in hormones, also the difference in the relationship between child and mum. These changes can be quite taxing on everyone in the family, and normally does not reveal any signs.

A great way to prevent depression after stopping breastfeeding is to take it slow. If at all reasonable do not go cold turkey. Slowly weaning little one down to three feeds, then two and finally one feed per day, perhaps in the afternoon, will lessen the shock of the change of routine. Your body will have time to harmonise to the hormonal changes and your mind will have time to harmonise to how the relationship between you and baby is changing.

Something that is not bizarre in moms who are stopping breastfeeding is insomnia. Not being able to sleep well could also be related to the changes in your hormones similar to the way depression after weaning is caused. As with depression after you start weaning, taking the weaning process slow will help with the hormonal differences and hopefully limit the chance of having sleeping problems.

If you are not required to stop breastfeeding cold turkey due to medication or another reason, you should hold out until both yourself and little one are ready to stop breastfeeding. Moving onto solids before little one is ready makes for one unhappy baby. Remember to talk about anything you are not sure of with your doctor or other health professional as they will be able to give you information more suited to your current situation.

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