By the time your child is ready to wean, you're probably a professional at adapting to your body's frequent changes. It's like a roller coaster with unexpected turns and loops, and you just get used to it after a while. And there are only more changes to come with this new phase. There are some pretty weird things that happen to your body when you're weaning from breastfeeding. But since you're already a pro, it's probably second nature by now.
Aside from the obvious physical changes in your breasts when you stop nursing (insert everyone's fear of saggy boobs here), there are lots of other hormonal and emotional changes that might happen as well. But like every aspect of motherhood, which seems to ebb and flow in a constant state of change, your body is wired for adapting to it all.
Whether you're nervous for weaning or you've been longing for the day when your body is fully yours again — both of which are legitimate feelings — it can help to be prepared for the changes to come. Since every baby is different and no two weaning cases are the same, remembering to do what feels best for you and your child is the best policy, no matter what the changes may be.
1You May Be Engorged
Depending on how often you're nursing when you wean, you may get a flashback to your baby's newborn days when engorgement was just par for the course. It likely won't be as painful as before (thank the lactation gods), but you may experience some pain. If you do experience pain, Kelly Mom suggests manually expressing or pumping just enough to relieve the discomfort.
2Your Boobs May Look Different
According to Baby Center, your breasts may return to their pre-pregnancy size when you're done weaning. Some moms fear sagging and, although it definitely could happen, each woman's body changes differently in response to weaning.
3You May Have A Lot Of Feelings
You may feel a combination of excitement, depression, regret, and happiness, and according to Breastfeeding USA, that's all totally normal. This can be attributed to both the changing hormone levels and the thought of not nursing anymore.
4Your Hormones May Go Through Puberty
La Leche League International noted that moms may experience a change in their hormone levels, particularly prolactin, which will return to it's pre-reproductive levels. This sudden change is hormones is also responsible for feelings of depression that many moms experience.
5Your Milk Might Not Disappear Right Away
You might be done breastfeeding, but your boobs might not catch on right away. If you find yourself leaking or still able to express milk weeks after your baby has nursed, don't worry. According to Breastfeeding Basics, it can take time your milk to dry up fully.
6You May Deal With Phantom Let-Down
According to many "mommy forums" and in my own personal experience, I can tell you that you'll probably experience phantom let-down after you've finished nursing. It's as weird as the phantom kicks you felt after you delivered your baby.
7Your Body Is Fully Yours Again
*Insert hallelujah chorus here.* No matter how long you nursed, the combination of pregnancy and breastfeeding means that your body hasn't been fully yours in a while. And although you're still technically a mom (ie. a jungle gym whose personal space isn't taken into consideration), it may be nice to have at least your boobs back.