Milk Blues : Comment surmonter la déprime post-allaitement - Élhée

Milk Blues: How to overcome post-breastfeeding blues

Motherhood is often presented as an oasis of sweetness made of love, fulfillment and kindness. A wonderful and powerful experience between a mother and her child. However, throughout pregnancy and even after birth, each woman experiences different physical and psychological developments. Each is accompanied by multiple and sometimes ambivalent feelings . This is the case of the known and recognized baby blues, but also of the more confidential milk blues.

Appearing for the first time in 2019 at JollyMama , the term reveals a discomfort that is sometimes deep and long predates its discovery; that of post-breastfeeding depression .

Milk Blues: difficulty ending breastfeeding

Breastfeeding baby before weaning and taking the bottle Élhée

It is often said that the weaning period can be complicated for babies. That they have difficulty leaving the mother's breast and taking the bottle. That eating becomes disordered and that a new balance can take a long time to find.

Conversely, there is still – too little – talk about the discomfort felt by some mothers. Forced weaning to return to work, drop in lactation , baby who no longer wants to breastfeed... A page is turning towards a new stage which can be experienced as a real separation . Nostalgia, sadness, feeling of failure, guilt, abandonment ... So many strong terms, often internalized and too rarely expressed, which make up the complexity of the milk blues.

Physiological causes

Breastfeeding creates a very strong physical and emotional bond between a mother and her child. After spending many months curled up in the pit of her stomach, baby is now linked to her by the breast, whose lactation capacity is almost entirely stimulated by sucking.

The drop in hormones

Breastfeeding releases endorphins , also called feel-good hormones. At the time of weaning their rate drops and often brings with it morale.

It is not uncommon for this transition to also coincide with the return of diapers, another delicate period when female hormones play yo-yo. It is here the cessation of prolactin secretion stimulated by suction, which triggers a return of periods not always expected.

Many physical changes

To breastfeed, every woman needs to eat in sufficient quantity (and quality) to produce rich and nutritious milk for her baby. Also, the weaning period can be delicate if the diet is not adapted.

At the same time, the chest so round and generous when she was feeding, disappears and seems empty as she returns to her pre-pregnancy size. These physical changes following so many others can be hard to live with and reflect an image that is difficult for women to accept.

Loss of physical proximity to baby

Breastfeeding is synonymous with unique moments spent with your child. Skin to skin, caresses, looks... minutes and even hours snuggled up against each other without anything existing around you... Weaning baby means giving up part of this intimacy, this exclusivity, and accepting 'to mourn it.

Moral causes

The milk blues is made up of a multitude of complex feelings specific to each woman depending on her nature, her surroundings and her experiences.

A feeling of guilt

Throughout the weeks or months that breastfeeding lasts, putting your baby to the breast is often the answer to all his problems . Crying, insomnia, fatigue, need to be reassured... suckling soothes all worries.

Also, when they stop breastfeeding, some women feel deprived and struggle to find new ways to meet their baby's needs without delay. This temporary confusion sometimes leads to a heavy feeling of guilt.

The feeling of abandoning baby

Because they no longer feed him from their breast, mothers who have breastfed sometimes feel a cruel feeling of abandonment in the face of their child, like a failure in their duty. The injunction to breastfeed - today recommended by all specialists and for all infants - can also induce great pressure, particularly in the context of forced weaning.

When baby decides on his own not to breastfeed anymore

One day he takes the breast and the next day he categorically refuses to go back to it. He even cries when drinking your milk. Baby seems to have decided to wean and there's nothing you can do about it. His opposition may be categorical and definitive. You have to face the facts, the choice of a bottle and a physiological pacifier to replace breastfeeding has arrived.

A deep feeling of abandonment

Gentle weaning is always preferable. Otherwise, the feeding strike, as it is sometimes called, can be very difficult for the mother. The testimonies collected speak of pain, emptiness and a real emotional breakup , but also of dependence on breastfeeding.

The milk blues is a bit of all of that at the same time. The result of great upheaval, physical and psychological changes and the sum of many complicated emotions, which lead some mothers to experience the end of breastfeeding as a painful moment.

Take a step back and rationalize to better analyze

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and more broadly becoming a mother, generate different physical and emotional states that are not always easy to identify, experience and digest.

Milk Blues, mom in depression after stopping breastfeeding

Baby blues or milk blues, before even naming them, the best solution is to talk about them.
When a child is born, everything shakes up and collides in your life. Your needs, those of your child, your spouse, your older children… Quickly, it is also the return of daily demands and perhaps those linked to your job. You feel your mood changing, getting worse , without really understanding why.

From the first impressions of vagueness, of complications, from the first feelings of less than good, take a break. Tell yourself that these sensations — however contradictory they may be — are normal. You are not the only one who feels them . Perhaps, on the other hand, you will be the first to mention them.

After baby has spent months in your womb, then months at your breast, a new stage is coming, without you really knowing what it will be like. Trust yourself and your little one. Together you will manage to find a new balance.

A new stage is coming: how to be positive

Weaning your baby makes you sad and already nostalgic. You hadn't expected it to happen so soon or you didn't see the time passing, absorbed as you were, in your bubble of love and serenity. Fortunately, nothing is final. You will soon rediscover your joy of living and your desire to communicate it.

Consider mixed breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is over. To prolong its benefits and especially if you do it with pleasure, you can express your milk and continue to give it to your child using their new bottle. If your baby is prone to colic, discover the different criteria for choosing the right bottle .

Take all the time you need

If you can, take time, as much time as you need to fully experience each stage of mixed breastfeeding. If weaning has already started, treat yourself to the luxury of long bottles , comfortably installed with a sling or skin-to-skin.

Treat yourself with pretty baby bottles

We have spent decades enduring the fragility and weight of glass baby bottles, then the poor quality of plastic bottles. A healthy and stylish baby bottle was expected.

A mother who breastfeeds develops and maintains with her child a deeply emotional gesture that is now possible to continue beyond breastfeeding thanks to the sensory bottle . Between softness and roundness, this beautiful object has the aesthetics of the nourishing breast.

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Treat yourself to moments just for you

Because quitting breastfeeding also means adopting a new schedule and taking advantage of a few small periods of regained independence, schedule moments of well-being and pleasure for yourself.

Find at the bottom of a drawer the list of things that you had put on hold during your pregnancy; yoga, jogging, reading, (digital) exhibitions, manicure, massage… and put all these appointments back on the agenda, simply to enjoy and be positive.

Finally, listen to yourself. Be your first therapist by following the advice distilled by your body and mind. Don't give in to pressure, don't feel guilty by listening to those who give lessons and - as much as possible - don't do anything that you don't feel positive about.
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