I cant help but wonder if i will feel better when im done breastfeeding. It seems that i would because my hormones are still not back to normal a year post baby and i still have not gotten a period and i know this is all being effected by my continued breastfeeding.
Has anyone felt better after stopping breastfeeding?
I feel like it made a difference for me. I weaned (to formula) and stopped cosleeping at the same time. With baby out of the bed, we both slept through the night for the first time.
Getting my hormones back to normal and real sleep again is what I think kicked my PPD's ass. It got much better from there.
Just some food for thought:
So yes, when I finally weaned at a few months past a year, I felt better. Within a few months of weaning, my thyroid levels were back to normal, however, and that may have had a lot to do with it, too.
I think each mama is different. I didn't BF my 2nd child at all and had the worst PPD with her. If stopping BF is what it takes to get better, by all means do it. I'm all about the breast milk but I know how it feels to have severe PPD and a sane and happy mama that can care for a baby is most important in my humble opinion.
The further I get past PPD the second time around, the more I look back and realize how depressed I was the first time. I would now say that I had PPD with both DD1 and DD2.
DD1 weaned at 27 months, mostly child lead. I was TTC and conceived the same week she weaned. It was a very wanted pregnancy, and I was thrilled. The conception story, tied in with DD1's weaning was magical.
However, I went into a very very really depression when DD1 weaned, that seemed very much triggered by her weaning. I sought out advice through my LLL Group, as well as here on MDC, and many other women told me similar stories becoming depressed when their babies weaned. It's just something to keep in mind.
FWIW, taking fish oil every day has made a HUGE difference for me. I wish I'd started taking it years earlier.
I think it depends on a million factors, but for some women it helps. Here are my three case studies (my kids, lol):
DS1 - I had pretty horrid PPD, but realized it was sleep dependent. Meaning the more sleep I got, the less moody, anxious, and depressed I was (and fewer intrusive thoughts). I breastfed, and slept with DS1 in the bed more than the co-sleeper so I could just roll over and stick a boob in his mouth. There was a time when I had to get a medical test that required a medication that would not allow me to breastfeed for three days. I ran out of pumped milk the first day and he did have formula...and I got so little sleep having to get out of bed and make bottles that I swore I would never formula feed again. I do have really bad sleep issues though, and it is VERY difficult for me to fall asleep once woken up, so the 5 minutes it took to make the bottle effectively made me stay up for at least an hour. Breastfeeding was probably the only thing that kept me from going off the deep end there because I had NO ONE to feed him a bottle for me (DH was out of state for weeks) and the more sleep I got the better. He weaned sometime after a year.
DS2 - He had (has) severe sensory issues that made him cranky at all times, unable to co-sleep, and over stimulated by being near my boobs when he wasn't hungry. He was the EXACT opposite of DS1. He HAD to sleep in a crib or a swing in a dark room away from us (or be woken up by anything we did) and could not "switch hit" between pumped and boob AT ALL like we had expected after DS1. This was a real problem, because there were times where I had to be at work for 10 hours straight (mostly telecommute, but I can't avoid it when it happens) and he HAD to take a bottle of breast milk at least. If we got him used to a bottle, he ONLY wanted a bottle and refused the breast, if I got him back on the breast he would reject the bottle. I couldn't even wear him in a ring sling because he would totally freak out due to smelling the milk. His personality in general made things super stressful, so even though our living situation was more stable, HE more than made up for it in "high needs" behavior that I just didn't know how to work with. I was constantly in pain from engorgement, and then from pumping, and then I'd dry up after a few days on the pump, and then I'd get him back on the boob and he'd ONLY take the boob again and it was just this awful run around that NEVER stabilized and kept me in worse shape than with DS1. I forced myself to stick it out for the year, and then weaned, and he was a MUCH happier boy. He was happy with a set routine, he never had to "relearn" how to eat, and he stopped freaking out when he got near my boobs, which finally allowed me to get closer to him. We actually bonded in a great way after that, and looking back I wonder if I shouldn't just have weaned him sooner and pumped as long as I was able instead of forcing him to re-learn the breast...I basically never held him for more than 5 minutes at a time for the entire 1st year because of the over stimulation thing, and it makes me sad to even remember that time period. (He has been officially diagnosed now that he's older)
DS3 - I was spooked from DS2 and plagued with regret for sacrificing our mommy/child relationship for breastfeeding. When DS3 had an EXTREMELY tight tongue tie that basically made it impossible for him to drain my breast (thus killing my supply and making him constantly hungry), I started pumping and gave him a bottle, telling myself that I would go back to BFing full time as soon as it was clipped. Due to a really upsetting mix up with the insurance (we named a doctor from our practice in the hospital who had actually LEFT the practice a few months earlier, but he still saw the baby in the hospital which led to the billing disaster from hell and NEITHER practice would see the baby for anything beyond basic and emergency care until it was fixed unless we paid upfront) we ended up getting the clip when he was 4 months old, and it didn't even completely take the first time. During the 3.5 months where I was feeding DS3 with pumped milk, I was feeling very depressed from the mix up, as well as being compounded by the anxiety, intrusive thoughts and depression that I NORMALLY get with PPD. I was feeding him pumped milk, but I thought EVERYONE was judging me. I thought the bottle feeding mom's were all looking at me and sneering and thinking "see, it IS easier! We knew you'd fail." and I thought all the breastfeeding moms were judging me for using a bottle, even though I was still pumping (which isn't a cake walk for me like it is for some women...I find it painful and horribly overstimulating). In reality, my friends and family aren't jerks, and no one was judging me, but because of the PPD I constantly felt like I was in an oppressive fish bowl surrounded by people who were happy for my pain and stress. I ended up weaning him VERY early because of it...and I did get better. Looking back I regret it a great deal though, because I feel like it was mostly the paranoia that was getting to me, and in the past I have combated that very effectively with therapy. I would have still had many of the symptoms, but I am disappointed that the first thing I did when I was getting paranoid was to stop breastfeeding (probably because I was primed to do so after my experience with DS2) instead of trying therapy first since it had worked so well in the past.
So in summary:
DS1 - Breastfed for 1.5 years, no regrets.
DS2 - Breastfed for a year, regret not stopping sooner.
DS3 - Breastfed for a few MONTHS, regret stopping too soon.
PPD was bad with each, but looking back I would have done totally different things to combat it in each situation. Quitting might help you, or (like with my DS1) might make it far worse.
I'd visit KellyMom.com for some specific tips
The key is to do it slowly - like over a few days - so you don't have pain.
What helped for me - I took some Claritin D for a really bad allergy attack. It dried me up. My doc warned me that this can happen. I was considering weaning anyhow so I just kept taking the stuff. My milk dried up in like three days with no pain.
But if you want to do it drug free, try KellyMom
No, No, No....don't stop breastfeeding. It's better for the health of your baby for you to take medication for your depression and continue to breastfeed. Secondly, are you seeing a therapist? Do you have a support system in place? Can you afford to hire a postpartum doula...many will allow for a fee scale dependent on income. Dona.org has a listing of postpartum doulas in your area. You may try and read some books about ppd to help reassure you that you can make it through this. There are online sources for venting about postpartum depression..just google postpartum depression forums.
If you are having issues with sleeping from night nursing, then you can night wean your babe depending on the age. Generally it's accepted that babies that have doubled their birth weight are healthy enough for night weaning. You can try to break the nursing to sleep association by practicing NURSE, PLAY, SLEEP. Eventually your babe will learn how to self sooth. You may want to try a pacifier depending on the age.
If you have any specific questions, please pm me. There are studies that suggest that breastfeeding is actually therapeutic for ppd moms.
I'm going to agree with the last two posters. With DS1, my PPD went through the roof when I stopped breastfeeding. I think the sudden hormone dropped made it worse, not to mention the guilt and remorse and sadness about losing the nursing relationship.
With DS2, I persisted, and I think breastfeeding kept it from going over the edge.