What To Expect?
Though breastfeeding will be a little tough during the initial days after childbirth, it is the easiest and healthiest way to feed your baby quickly. You can offer your breast right away when your baby is hungry or when he is hurt to comfort him. Mainly at night when your baby wakes up for a feed, you don’t need to wake up and go into the kitchen, make formula milk, wash the bottles, etc. You can offer breastmilk whenever your baby wakes up at night without any disturbance in your and baby’s sleep.
Breastmilk has many antibodies which fight many infections and build immunity in your baby. It benefits the mother also by decreasing the chances of breast-related problems like breast cancer. It also helps in reducing your postpartum weight.
No matter how long you have been breastfeeding your baby there will come a time when you have to stop breastfeeding. Weaning your baby is not so easy. It is going to affect you and your baby in many ways. It’s very hard for your baby to stop breastfeeding completely since he is having it since his birth. Check here to know more about how to stop breastfeeding.
There is no perfect guideline on when to stop breastfeeding. Some mothers wean their babies as early as 6 months and some continue to breastfeed after 2 years also. It depends on the mother and the baby to get ready for weaning. When you plan to wean your baby, you should be ready for breast-related problems and plan before itself on how to handle them.
Side Effects and Problems Of Weaning On The Mother:-
1. The fullness of the Breast:–When you stop breastfeeding, the next day your breast may become full because of the milk your breasts are producing. You can pump out some milk for comfort. Never pump out all the milk from the breast. This may make the breast produce more milk as breastmilk goes through the supply and demand process. The more you feed your baby or pump out milk, the more it produces. You can also overcome this problem by weaning gradually. These means don’t stop breastfeeding all of a sudden unless it’s an emergency. Wean slowly by decreasing the amount of breastmilk you give to your baby every day.
2. Clogged ducts and Mastitis:- Clogged ducts are caused when the milk in the milk ducts has become full and the milk is not expressed outside on time. If the milk in your milk ducts is not expressed properly through pumping, feeding, or massaging with warm water. these clogged ducts will lead to a severe condition called mastitis in which your breasts become red, hot, and tender. You may get fever and chills too. Doctors treat this with warming pads, pumping out the milk, and using antibiotics.
3. Hormonal Changes:-–Since your not breastfeeding and your breast is not making any milk, there will be a continuous decrease in the hormones and enzymes which produce milk in your breasts. These changes in hormones can cause headaches, nausea, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. You can consult your doctor to have any medications or for help.
4. Increase in chances of pregnancy:- When you were breastfeeding, the hormones which help in producing breastmilk reduces the chances of ovulation. That why some mothers don’t get correct periods when they are breastfeeding. There will be changes in the cycle of menstruation. After weaning your hormones will be back to their healthy state and you will be on your regular mensuration cycles and hence there is an increased chance of becoming pregnant again. You can try birth control methods at this time to avoid pregnancy.
5. Extreme Tiredness:- After weaning or stopping breastfeeding, the estrogen and progesterone hormones that help in ovulation, rebalance themselves thus causing fatigue and tiredness. Since your body is going through many changes it is very common to face some health issues like hair fall, headache, depression, and tiredness.
6. Increase in Weight:- Many women experience an increase in weight right after weaning. This is not due to weaning, it depends on how many calories you’re taking in a day. During breastfeeding our calorie intake is high to meet the necessity of producing breastmilk. So you have to cut down some extra calories after weaning. Maintaining a healthy diet will not increase your weight. This is not possible right after wearing, it takes a few days to few weeks for your body to adjust to the changes going on in your body after weaning.
7. Bonding of Mother and Baby:- After weaning you may feel difficult to handle your baby when he is crying, hurt, or want some comfort. You may feel a little depressed and impatient. Because babies find comfort only in breastfeeding. That’s because it creates an attachment and a strong bond between the mother and the baby. You can try other ways to soothe your baby like playing with him, cuddling him, giving lots of kisses and hugs, etc.
8. Stress for the Mother:- All these changes in the body and weaning your baby and handling will become more difficult and you will be stressed and depressed a lot. Stopping breastfeeding needs so much patience and time. Along with this, the changes in your body after weaning like acne, headaches, fatigue, tender breasts, etc will make you even more uncomfortable as you have to handle both your baby and your body. Taking the help of your partner or any other family member will help you relax. Remember that we are social beings and cannot live or do everything on our own. We are dependent on each other for everything.
9. Nighttime sleep:- In the initial days after weaning you may find it difficult to sleep throughout the night though your baby is sleeping continuously at night without waking up. This can happen due to hormonal changes and you need some time to adjust back to your normal sleep.
Side Effects of Weaning on the Baby:-
- Since your baby is no longer having breastmilk, he is more prone to infections. Because there is no breastmilk that contains antibodies to fight against all infections. So you have to take more care of your baby now and give him nutritious foods
- You have to replace breastmilk with some nutritious food like cowmilk, formula milk, or any other fruits and vegetables which are healthy.
- Your baby might get fussy and angry with you when you stop weaning. You may feel like your doing something wrong. But that is very common. Try to build a bond with your baby through other activities. You can buy some new interesting toys like a panda car, cycle, and other toys to keep him engaged and distract him from breastfeeding.
When will your Breastmilk Dry Up after Weaning?
Your body will start making a small amount of breastmilk during pregnancy itself. After your delivery, your milk production increases, and your milk finally comes out from the breast on the 3r or 4th day if you don’t feed your baby on the first and second day of his birth. When you start feeding your baby, your breast wi;; produce more and more milk. If you don’t feed, your breasts will eventually stop making breastmilk.
Drying up milk is also called lactation suppression. Some women may stop producing milk after a few days of weaning. But for some women, it may take weeks, months, and sometimes years to dry up completely. The longer you breastfeed your baby, the longer it will take to dry up completely. Your breasts may still be leaking for months after weaning. If you were breastfeeding your baby frequently, then it takes some more time to completely dry up. If you were producing less milk during breastfeeding, your milk will dry up within a few days.
How To Dry Up BreastMilk At Home:-
- Don’t wear tight bras. This may make you discomfort and you will not know whether your breasts are full of milk or not. It is very necessary to keep an eye on how full your breasts are so that you can express some milk out if they become too full to avoid clogged ducts and mastitis. So wear comfortable bras.
- If your breasts are leaking you can use breast pads to soak the milk. Change them when they become fully wet.
- If your breasts have become hard and tender you can apply cold packs, and massage your breasts with cold compressors.
- Cabbage leaves have been known for ages to stop the breasts from producing milk. You can cut out large cabbage leaves without their veins, keep them in the fridge for some to two hours and then place it in your bra for one to two hours. You can try this method for one week or until your breasts are not full like before.
- If you will uncomfortable sleeping with your full breasts then sleep on one side or sleep on your back.
- Avoid lactogenic foods like oats, flax seeds, garlic, leafy vegetables, barley, fennel and fenugreek seeds, brewers yeasts, etc.
- These home remedies will work 90 percent, if still your milk supply doesn’t decrease, talk to your doctor. They will give you some supplements which help in suppressing lactation.