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Motherhood: How Breastfeeding and Weaning Affect Your Emotions

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Recently, I was asked to share an article with Dr. Sara Gottfried’s community.

When I think of hormones, I think about the hormonal jungle I had to navigate as I made my way through pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and weaning.

Looking back, what made these experiences all the more challenging was that they didn’t “look or feel” like anything I was told they would by the mainstream medical world.

Writing this now, as a mother of three, I can reflect on how my emotional and mental experiences played out very differently after each of my three births. Not one of them followed the “typical description” you find in the little pamphlets sent home with you from the hospital.

The truth is that sometimes very healthy, right-functioning breastfeeding experiences do not generate positive emotional states.

And sometimes, hormone-induced depression surfaces as a direct result of weaning from breastfeeding.

But these experiences related to breastfeeding and weaning are rarely highlighted or exposed in messages around women’s health.

I share more about why it’s so crucial to understand what’s happening hormonally during these times in order to release so much of the guilt and confusion when our bodies don’t “respond” the way they are supposed to over on Dr. Sara’s blog.

Click Here to read more!

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{ 3 comments }

Ming

Hi Lisa, perhaps I am having the so called “hormone-induced depression surfaces as a direct result of weaning from breastfeeding” that you mentioned above. Thank you for helping me through your book Replenish. It has helped my marriage and my general well being , mothering my kids.

Amy

Wonderful article. This needs to be proclaimed from the rooftops! I struggled so much with my moods during the many years I breastfed five children. I knew it was best for them so I continued, but I felt like a failure for not feeling “loving and motherly” while doing it. Then I learned about D-MER (if I remember correctly it stands for Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex) – I also had that and would feel this dark cloud of doom come over me during the first minutes of feeding. I thought I was crazy until I found other mothers have the same problem! I’ve always wondered what it was that made me different in that regard – that maybe my diet or some lack of nutrients was the ultimate cause of it all. If I ever go back to school I’d like to research it!

Laura

I think that with both children the period of anxiety and depression that I had within six months of cutting way back on breast feeding was related to that. It terrified me both times, I saw doctors thinking something was wrong as I was having physical symptoms, that I now think were related to anxiety and were self-perpetuating and hormonally driven. The first took me 3-4 months to bounce back, the second time was more like 6. I remember actually googling delayed PPD because the timing with weaning had made me wonder… Thank you for this article!

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