Oh what a journey it has been. In January, when Aubrey's first birthday was approaching I started to think about weaning. I planned on starting when she was one and slowly tapering off from there. A part of me was really looking forward to being done with nursing and another part of me was not so ready and a little upset. I love all of our memories of snuggling up with the Boppy when she was teeny tiny and I was fascinated with the idea of being the one who was supplying her with all of her necessary nutrients. It's so crazy to think that all of that growing that she did before being introduced to purees was all from the breast milk that my body supplied her with. On the other hand, I was so sick of pumping, and wearing nursing bras and I was ready to have my body back.
I stopped pumping on the day of her first birthday party and I was thrilled when I packed away the pump and all of the 3 million parts that go along with it. I continued to nurse her here and there though. I nursed her first thing in the morning, usually once during the day, and before bed. We did this for about a month and a half and then I dropped the daytime session and only nursed in the morning and in the evening before bed.
The Cycle Returns
I was one of the lucky ones who never had a period while was nursing but as soon as I started weaning, it came back and with vengeance. The month after I stopped pumping is when my cycle started back up. I had no idea what I was in for either. What I'm about the explain might be TMI for some so I'm just warning you now... I was out shopping with my mom and Aubrey the day that it came back and it came on so suddenly. I started to gush blood and I had the worst cramping (very similar to the early stages of labor). I got to the point where I couldn't even walk because I was in so much pain and I was just bleeding so much. We got in the car and headed home and I considered going to the hospital but I didn't, I went home and turned to google instead. I found out that I wasn't alone here because the lining still builds up even though you're not getting your period so it's like your body is making up for lost time. Lovely, right? I had 2 cycles of this and I'm happy to report that the 3th cycle was a charm because I'm back to normal... well in that department anyway.
Something else happened to me when I started to wean. I started to break out worse than I ever have in my life. I'd get the occasional pimple here and there when my cycle was about to start but that was about it. My teenage years weren't too bad on me either and I never suffered from acne but here I am, 29 years old with the face of a teenager (well, add some sun damage and what not to that mix). I actually had acne from weaning. What in the hell is going on here?! I am starting to notice that it is getting better and I'm only breaking out now when my cycle is near but those breakouts are still far worse than what I'm used to.
I had the appetite of a grown man when I was nursing. Actually, I think I ate more than my husband. I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight about 3 weeks or so after giving birth so the appetite was okay. I actually ended up weighing less than my pre-pregnancy weight while I was nursing. I was getting really nervous about my appetite not suppressing because I was still eating the same amount of food and snacks all throughout the weaning process. My appetite finally suppressed by the 3 1/2-4 month mark and thankfully it did because I gained 5 lbs! I don't really mind the 5 lbs because I had room for a little gain but I'd really like to work on toning things up a bit now. Which I am, that's a separate post though. I know some of you that are reading this may give an eye roll and say "really, she's worried about 5 lbs?" When you're 5'2'' like I am, 5 lbs shows, you just can't hide weight when you're that short.
Last but certainly not least, actually most importantly is the mood swings. I didn't experience PPD, actually it's been pure bliss for me. When I passed by the "window" (first 2 weeks following delivery) I thought to myself "Pshhhh no depression here. Who could possibly be depressed with this little bundle of joy to look at and cuddle with all the time?" Prior to getting pregnant I always struggled with some mild anxiety issues. Nothing that I ever took medication for because I could control it on my own but it was still an issue and a struggle. During my pregnancy and even after I felt so different. I had no anxiety at all, not a lot of stress- it was amazing. I didn't even know who I was but I liked it. My normal self returned about 6 months postpartum with a little anxiety and stress sprinkled in but nothing that wasn't normal. I mean I was a new mom, we were building a house, preparing to move; life was constantly changing. If I wasn't stressed at some point there would be something wrong with me, right?
Fast forward to the wonderful weaning stage and the darkness set in. I've never struggled with depression so this was/is all new to me. The first few weeks of weaning were probably the worst. I was in a pretty dark place and I just wanted to be alone, not away from Aubrey, just away from the world. Here I am, 4 months out from the start of the weaning process and I'm still not myself. I think it's gotten better; like I said those first few weeks were pretty rough but I'm still hormonal both mentally and physically.
The Road Ahead
I made the decision at the start of this month to just be done with nursing. It needs to end. I need my hormones to level out and I need to get back to normal. I stopped cold turkey on the 2nd of the month. On the 2nd I only nursed her in the morning, then on the 3rd I didn't nurse her at all so here we go! I also started a healthier routine that has me feeling better about myself which I will post about soon. I'll do an update in a month or so to check in and see where I'm at with this crazy roller coaster ride.
I had no idea what I was in for here. I know it was all worth it though and I don't regret nursing for a single second. I know that I provided Aubrey with the best nutrition that I could and that makes me happy. I'm also proud of myself for making it this far. There were so many ups and downs and supply scares so reaching this goal is such an accomplishment.