Weaning disrupts your hormones.
Pregnancy messes with your hormones. Breastfeeding messes with your hormones. And, yes, weaning messes with your hormones. The good news? You are in the home stretch of the child rearing hormone roller coaster… that is, until you get your period back… or get pregnant again. Okay, so as females we are pretty much always in some state of being hormonal, and weaning is no exception.
Weaning changes your sexuality.
Breastfeeding decreases your libido. Lactation literally prevents your body from releasing the hormones that make you want to have sex. Also, getting freaky again can be daunting when you are lactating. Couples are funny. Some get into it, some don’t. But, most parents don’t feel “sexy” when they are breastfeeding. Once you are weaned, give it a couple months for your hormones to settle down and you just might get your groove back. (Now is a great time to plan your first overnight away from the baby!)
Weaning changes your breasts… hang in there!
Okay, so there is a pretty big debate over what breastfeeding does to your breasts. I tend to not be able to believe that pregnancy and lactation doesn’t make your breasts somewhat saggier. I mean, have you seen what boobs go through during breastfeeding?? I don’t physically examine too many recently weaned breasts, but I will tell you about mine to make you feel better.
So, buy yourself some nice skin-tightening lotion and rub it on those weaned boobs. They’ll look a little better soon.
Weaning changes your identity as a parent.
Breastfeeding is a parenting tool. No matter what age your child is, breastfeeding fills a whole combination of your child’s needs. The cool thing is that you don’t even have to know exactly what that need is (lucky thing, because it is really quite hard to decode screaming). Boobs will fix it nine times out of 10. So, when a parenting tool you have used 90% of your mothering life suddenly (or gradually) is not there, you may find yourself feeling inept at mothering all over again. Fear not. You will discover new parenting techniques by necessity, and you will regain your mothering confidence.
Weaning brings a lot of feelings.
Whether you weaned gracefully, you weaned before baby was ready, or baby weaned before you were ready, there are a lot of feelings involved in weaning. I think many lactating parents are completely unprepared for this. Even if they really wanted to wean, they often surprised by feelings of regret or sadness. Because weaning messes with your hormones (see #1 above), many feel fluctuating moods or a persistent sad state. Weaning could bring to light Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorders.
Weaning may cause you to see yourself as an uninhabited, non life-giving source for the first time since you conceived! For the first time in a really long time, your body is solely yours again. Seeing your body may bring up a whole other set of emotions, good or bad.
Breastfeeding has been such a huge part of your life, so once you wean, you may start to find you have spare 30-60 minute windows in your life. At these times, discover a renewed zest for getting shit done. Or enjoy sitting and doing nothing without someone or something sucking on you. Taking some time to accomplish your own agenda can be a way to reframe any negative emotions associated with weaning.
Weaning changes your wardrobe.
No longer will you have to ensure that every outfit is nursing accessible. You don’t have to wear a tank top under every shirt. Wear whatever the hell you want! This weaning-related life change actually isn’t a problem at all. Embrace your post-weaning wardrobe freedom with joy!