|I have seen my sister go through hell when she was weaning
her child. What can I do to avoid that pain?
It is not uncommon that weaning is harder for the mother
both emotionally and physically, then for the child. The
most important tip for relieving both types of discomfort
is to go slowly. By slowly decreasing the amount that you
feed, you will naturally decrease the milk supply without
stress to you or your baby. It is entirely possible that
you will experience some emotional upheaval over the weaning
process. For some women, who escaped fairly unscathed up
to now, this can be an unpleasant surprise. The hormonal
changes associated with weaning are considerable, so mood
swings, irritability and even depression are not uncommon.
There can also be sadness over the loss of the physical
connection that you have enjoyed with your baby up to now.
This is a perfectly normal thing to grieve about, and accepting
the sadness as a part of the process is the healthiest way
to deal with it. Cry if you feel sad. It will pass. However,
if you are experiencing intense unmanageable emotions or
are feeling so sad that you are unable to function, then
you may be experiencing post natal depression and should
seek help. Read the section on post natal depression.
Sudden weaning, for whatever reason, can be a very stressful
activity for both mother and baby. Because your breasts
will carry on making milk for a time after you stop feeding,
you will experience engorgement, which is extremely uncomfortable.
It is not unusual to have fevers as well. The best policy
is to reduce the discomfort to manageable levels while your
body adjusts to the changed situation. Hot compresses will
soften the breasts, and a small amount of expressing can
be a great relief. Try to express enough to reduce discomfort.
If you express to enthusiastically then you run the risk
of stimulating milk production! Hot baths and pain killers
are also helpful. Do not be too heroic about this –
if after a day or two you are still in pain, then you should
consult your doctor.
Baby may be very unhappy as well and require plenty of
reassurance, especially if you had to wean suddenly. Be
patient and accepting of baby’s misery, keep things
quiet and try to spend extra time cuddling. Make sure that
other care takers are informed and will also give baby extra
Your breasts may never return to their former glory. They
are likely to be less firm and also change in size, either
larger or smaller. Changes in the breasts can continue for
up to a year after weaning, and you may even still produce
a little milk for that long. This is all perfectly normal.
Weaning - Bottle
Weaning - Cutting down on feed
Weaning - Demanding dummy
Weaning - Exhausted mother
Weaning - Preparation
Weaning - Regression
Weaning - Self weaning baby
Weaning - Sick baby
Weaning - Weaning off bottle