Weaning can be hard for new moms. There is an emotional connection, a time suck (pun intended), can be painful and each child is different. This is a judgment-free zone.
We want to talk about the transition of your breasts during the process. Mother nature is a funny lady. There is no "firm" answer. For some, they go back to the original cup size (although not often the same shape). For others, they remain larger. And to quote one of our team members, they disappeared into deflated balloons.
So you have made the decision you are done breastfeeding. Weaning gradually allows time both for milk production to reduce and stop, and for a baby to adjust to other ways of feeding and comfort. This can be a few days, weeks, months or even an off-and-on process.
Milk or supplements are a main source of nutrition and energy for that first year. Our bodies and our boobs are incredible aren’t they? They provide this because women are magnificent creatures.
Studies have shown if you are trying to wean, changing up your daily routines is distracting so your child is less likely to ask to nurse. This is a good thing. Mothers may be told they need to wean their baby from the breast for a variety of reasons. If you are not fully ready or if you have a fussy child, temporary weaning is always an option. You can maintain your milk production by expressing your milk and then discarding it often referred to as a pump and dump. If you have a few weeks, cutting out one daily feed no more often than every two or three days allows your milk production to decrease slowly with little or no fullness and discomfort. The rate at which feeds can be dropped without discomfort varies from mother to mother. It also can reduce big hormonal spikes.
Breastfeeding is a bonding experience for some. Use this an an excuse for some extra TLC for both of you. Gradually decreasing also ﬂowing prevents your breasts becoming overly full and engorged, which could lead to a blocked duct, mastitis or even a breast abscess. It also makes it more comfortable to hold, carry and cuddle your baby if you need to distract him from nursing. If your breasts become ﬁrm, hard, shiny or lumpy, no stress. This is normal.
During pregnancy, the breasts undergo a number of changes in preparation for breastfeeding. The hormone estrogen causes the milk ducts in the breasts to grow and branch out, while progesterone causes the milk glands to enlarge. As a result, the breasts may become fuller and heavier. The areolas (the dark skin around the nipples) may also become darker and larger.
In addition, the breasts may feel sore, tender, or swollen due to the increased blood flow and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. These changes can start as early as the first few weeks of pregnancy and may continue throughout the pregnancy.
After giving birth, the breasts will begin to produce milk in order to feed the baby. This process is known as lactation. The amount of milk produced will depend on several factors, including the baby's age and how often they feed. The breasts may feel full, heavy, and tender during this time.
Applying a warm compress or taking a hot shower or bath are great ways to relive discomfort. Ice packs can provide relief from swelling. The Bloom Bra has a handy little pocket designed for an ice pack:)
Once you have stopped producing milk comes the real unknown. How are my breasts going to react? Your boobs may continue to produce small amounts of milk for some time. Sometimes the sudden hormonal changes following an abrupt end to breastfeeding may bring on or worsen depression. We are not doctors but we can tell you that you are not alone. Your body is going through some wacky times.