The phase circumscribing pregnancy, delivery, and the post-partum phase is enveloped by the maximum number of emotional and physical changes and is the most beautiful phase of a women’s life and a very critical one indeed. A thread which weaves the baby and the mother forever. Breastfeeding or nursing is a bliss for a mother as the milk in her body has an ideal balance of sugar, water, fat and protein which is essential for her baby’s healthy growth and development and it boosts the immunity system as well. It also helps the mother in weight loss, reduced blood loss after delivery, in shrinking the uterus size in an improved manner and having lesser signs of postpartum depression, along with minimizing the breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases etc.
With so many benefits at par, it is bound for the mothers to have a tough time when they actually stop breastfeeding. There would be innumerable changes that happen once the mother stops the process of Breastfeeding. We will, however, list five things that can happen.
5 Things That Happen Once You Stop Breastfeeding
- Experiencing Mood Fluctuations: Every mother and baby duo are different, so the time to start weaning would differ from one to another. However, all mothers do experience mood fluctuations as the changes are sudden and unexpected, physically and mentally. Some get upset, weepy, frustrating or apprehensive once they stop the process of breastfeeding. Thus when the breastfeeding ends, it is normal for a mother to experience sadness. Whether gradual or sudden, the process of weaning definitely results in extreme mood fluctuations as the hormones are greatly affected. Weaning does not only refers to end the process of breastfeeding as it’s an emotional time for both the mother and child
- The return of the menstrual cycle: During the process of breastfeeding many mothers get irregular menstrual cycles or they get no menstrual cycle at all for days, weeks or years. Those mothers who solely breastfeed don’t get their cycles or periods frequently for a substantial amount of time once they deliver. One of the changes that happen when you stop weaning is that the menstrual cycle may return. It could be shorter or greater than usual
- Breasts are on a whirlwind: The breast changes after weaning are a surprise package for mothers. Sometimes soft and hard and engorged at others. They leave the mothers in a puzzled state. Once we stop breastfeeding, breasts will slowly start reducing in size and they have chances to return or in some cases not to return to their former size. A lot of this depends on the mother’s weight and her age. Once the baby is weaned off the body stops producing reduced amount of milk.The mothers also need to wear a tight fitting bra as the size of the breast will change.
It is suggested by health experts that it takes almost a month or so for the breasts to get back to a smaller size and shape. When the baby is weaned off, the milk-producing cells will contract. If weaning happens abruptly, then there are more chances of having an engorged breast or blocked ducts (Source)
- The process of the drying of milk takes a while: When mothers wean off the baby, the milk is still seen leaking at times. The time for the milk to dry up will be different for every mother as the bodies are different. Every mother’s feeding cycles are different, so are the weight and age. If the mother has been feeding at frequent intervals, it takes more time for the milk to dry up as the process of breastfeeding is solely a supply vs demand procedure which implies that the more the baby will suck the milk, the larger is the amount of milk produced in the mother’s body. Thus, if the baby is being fed regularly, the milk deposits will take a while to reduce or stop completely thus increasing even the time for the breasts to reduce or shrink to the original size
- Mastitis: Mastitis is fostered during the process of weaning. If the process of weaning happens abruptly, there are added chances for the mother to develop breast engorgement, blocked ducts or mastitis. However, if the weaning happens gradually then the body gets time to get used to the change because of which there are reduced chances for the above to happen. If a blocked duct develops, then the best is to remove the milk through temporary means by expressing with one’s hand or pumping it out. Expressing milk is important, however, the milk should be expressed in small quantity so that the body spontaneously produces less milk. If on the other hand more milk is expressed, the milk stimulation will be high
Thus, we can say that the crux of the matter is once breastfeeding stops, it is more than normal for a mother’s body to undergo physical, emotional and hormonal changes and these will go away with time. This is the time when family members need to understand and support so it becomes stress-free and smooth transition for a mother. Also, remember the bond with your child does not have to depend entirely on feeding, and the physical and emotional bond can be maintained even after the child is weaned off.