sadness while nursing - what's wrong with me? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 07-09-2007, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Every single time I nurse Kalten, within 30 seconds of latching on, I feel this deep sadness/hopelessness, sometimes physically in my chest. Could it be hormonal? We've always had a pretty good nursing relationship, and whenever people say stuff like "he's so big!" I feel so proud that he's BF and I'm meeting his needs and keeping him healthy. When it happens, I try to put words to it and figure out what's wrong, but nothing ever is. What is it? I'd really like to figure it out, as it seems to be getting worse.
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#2 of 30 Old 07-09-2007, 08:28 PM
 
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I'm so sorry to hear that!! Could it be something else that is bothering you that strikes a cord when you nurse? I know for me, I am sad about going back to work full time after labor day. So, from time to time when I nurse I get sad that I won't be able to nurse my daughter all the time once that happens. Sentimental mixed with hormones does it for me.

Have you ever been to the website kellymom.com? I find it to be a great bf resource. Maybe there is something there that can help you figure out the issue.

Good luck!
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#3 of 30 Old 07-09-2007, 09:50 PM
 
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This is totally just a guess, but I'm sort of a psychology geek so I couldn't resist. Prolactin is the hormone that causes tears, and as you can see by the name, it is also the hormone involved in producing milk. (Which is why women cry more than men do.) So maybe you're feeling a rush of prolactin and it's having that effect on you. Anyway, it sounds hormonal to me.
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#4 of 30 Old 07-09-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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Dooney, I know just what you mean. I get the same feeling. I'm pretty sure it's chemical. My feeling is sadness mixed with an intense loss of appetite. It happens a minute or two after DS latches on, and then it goes away after a few minutes. I think what poep said makes a lot of sense. Usually I look into my DS's eyes and take some deep breaths and that seems to help.
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#5 of 30 Old 07-09-2007, 11:09 PM
 
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i don't understand a lot about all the chemicals and hormones associated with BFing, but i heard that when you BF your body produces the happy hormones (seratonin???) So how is it that BF can produce both happy and sad hormones. I'm definately not trying to contradict-i'm just confused.

congrats on making a healthy big baby. Just think...you grew him inside and now that he's out, you are his source of nutrition and growth!!! I hope that makes u smile

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#6 of 30 Old 07-10-2007, 08:14 AM
 
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The hormone oxytocin which is associated with let-down, can cause some strange symptoms, including sadness.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/nausea-bf.html

The info below comes form the above link:

"Other symptoms during let-down: Some mothers experience itching (usually of the breast or underarm area) during letdown; this may be due to the increased blood flow or a response to oxytocin release. Hormone-related headaches or feelings of depression (or anxiety, agitation or anger) during let-down can also occur on occasion."

The other possibility is an imbalance with your thyroid. I had thyroid issues after my dd was born, and it caused strong feelings of anxiety (that usually happened when I was nursing). If you haven't had your thyroid levels checked recently, you might want to see your doctor to rule out that possibility.
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#7 of 30 Old 07-11-2007, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So it's pretty much a "deal with it" thing?
Or should I see my doctor? What kind of doctor?
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#8 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MonkeysRUs View Post
The hormone oxytocin which is associated with let-down, can cause some strange symptoms, including sadness.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/nausea-bf.html

The info below comes form the above link:

"Other symptoms during let-down: Some mothers experience itching (usually of the breast or underarm area) during letdown; this may be due to the increased blood flow or a response to oxytocin release. Hormone-related headaches or feelings of depression (or anxiety, agitation or anger) during let-down can also occur on occasion."

The other possibility is an imbalance with your thyroid. I had thyroid issues after my dd was born, and it caused strong feelings of anxiety (that usually happened when I was nursing). If you haven't had your thyroid levels checked recently, you might want to see your doctor to rule out that possibility.
:
I have thyroid issues as well. One of the symptoms for me is irritability. Are you having any other issues? Extreme fatigue, racing heart rate, excessive sweating, sensitivity to the cold? I have been borderline hyperthyroid since K was born. I think as a general rule if your feelings/symptoms are disrupting your life you should think about seeing a doctor. If they are a minor inconvience then I would work on taking care of yourself and snuggle your babe as often as you can.
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#9 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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Oddly, I've felt negative feelings while breastfeeding once or twice. I could chalk it up to the fact that BF has been so challenging for us.. I have IGT and have to feed baby constantly little ounces at a time and use an SNS to supplement 4-8 oz a day. BUT, the times I've felt it, I know it had nothing to do with any of this or anything else in my life for that matter. I could tell it was purely hormonal. It hit me from out of nowhere at letdown and was mostly a feeling of anxiety... like, 'Aaah! I have to get the baby off my breast now!'

It was pretty surreal. I don't know what I'd do if it happened routinely.

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#10 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dooney View Post
Every single time I nurse Kalten, within 30 seconds of latching on, I feel this deep sadness/hopelessness, sometimes physically in my chest. Could it be hormonal? We've always had a pretty good nursing relationship, and whenever people say stuff like "he's so big!" I feel so proud that he's BF and I'm meeting his needs and keeping him healthy. When it happens, I try to put words to it and figure out what's wrong, but nothing ever is. What is it? I'd really like to figure it out, as it seems to be getting worse.
could you be pregnant?
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#11 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 10:40 PM
 
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Was the birth difficult? Was your own birth or babyhood difficult?

Those are questions that popped into my head, reading your post. Maybe you are still processing something.

Or hormones. Or both.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#12 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 10:50 PM
 
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Are you mourning something? Were you hoping for a natural birth and had a c/s...? Did you have a miscarriage before this pregnancy...? Going back to work soon...? Maybe miss your "old self" a little...?

I remember when DS was a little baby, sometimes when we were nursing or I was lying in bed with him watching him sleep, I would feel so overwhelmed with love that I would burst into tears. It terrified me how much I could love another person, and that if something happened to him I didn't think I could go on living. Basically, I was a hormonal wreck.
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#13 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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So it's pretty much a "deal with it" thing?
Or should I see my doctor? What kind of doctor?
I'm afraid I don't really have an answer, but I do have a few thoughts. You mentioned in your OP that the feelings are getting worse, which suggests that perhaps something besides just the hormones of letdown is going on, such as thyroid issues or perhaps mild depression. As a starting place, I would suggest seeing your regular doctor to talk about things and get some blood work done to check your thyroid.

http://www.kellymom.com/ppd/ppd.html

The above link has some good info on ways to combat PPD without medications. Even if you don't have PPD, the suggestions might help you.
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#14 of 30 Old 07-13-2007, 05:14 AM
 
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dooney

i was like this with ds1 so i started reading while nursing -- doing something to turn off my head. i was injured during his birth (wrecked coccyx due to forceps) so i literally couldn't move while nursing him. after a few months of distractions, i found i didn't need it anymore. i figure it must be normal and probably one of the hidden reasons that women stop nursing so quickly. for me it passed with time.

if i had been thinking about harming my baby i would have seen a doctor, otherwise i was pretty sure that my french doctors would have said "stop nursing if it makes you sad."
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#15 of 30 Old 07-13-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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dooney, my mom had post partum depression after me that really showed itself the most when she let down during breastfeeding. She would have an overwhelming sadness that was not just an emotional feeling, but also a physical one...she says that she could feel it in her chest, sometimes a sadness so deep it was in her very bones. The hormones involved with breastfeeding did intensify the feeling of sadness to a huge degree. For her it got worse because I had colic from food allergies that she didn't know about and I was a really, really, really cranky baby. Too, though she was happy in her marriage, she didn't have much support in her post partum period at all, and so was tired to boot. All of those things combined made for a very sad mama, especially with the hormones of let down.

If you think that that might be the case, I will echo the other pp's and suggest that you DO see your doctor. There are things you can do, naturally as well as chemically, that are safe and effective for treating ppd, and will help to make you feel normal again...even if it's just when you're breastfeeding.

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#16 of 30 Old 07-13-2007, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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BUT, the times I've felt it, I know it had nothing to do with any of this or anything else in my life for that matter. I could tell it was purely hormonal.
Yeah, somehow I really think it doesn't have anything to do with things going on. It just feels like feelings.

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could you be pregnant?
Hm. I doubt it, but I would absolutely love that! Maybe I'll try that preg test I have at home. DH and I planned on stopping BC in December.

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Originally Posted by Momtwice View Post
Was the birth difficult? Was your own birth or babyhood difficult?

Those are questions that popped into my head, reading your post. Maybe you are still processing something.

Or hormones. Or both.
That's the thing. Everything was/is pretty much perfect...

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Originally Posted by gottaknit View Post
Are you mourning something? Were you hoping for a natural birth and had a c/s...? Did you have a miscarriage before this pregnancy...? Going back to work soon...? Maybe miss your "old self" a little...?

I remember when DS was a little baby, sometimes when we were nursing or I was lying in bed with him watching him sleep, I would feel so overwhelmed with love that I would burst into tears. It terrified me how much I could love another person, and that if something happened to him I didn't think I could go on living. Basically, I was a hormonal wreck.
The only thing I can think of is that I wanted to do it without an epi but ended up with one and felt a little guilty for a week or two. But I'm pretty sure I'm over that. I've done the "burst into tears with love" thing a few times. It's different from that, but maybe related?

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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
dooney, my mom had post partum depression after me that really showed itself the most when she let down during breastfeeding. She would have an overwhelming sadness that was not just an emotional feeling, but also a physical one...she says that she could feel it in her chest, sometimes a sadness so deep it was in her very bones. The hormones involved with breastfeeding did intensify the feeling of sadness to a huge degree. For her it got worse because I had colic from food allergies that she didn't know about and I was a really, really, really cranky baby. Too, though she was happy in her marriage, she didn't have much support in her post partum period at all, and so was tired to boot. All of those things combined made for a very sad mama, especially with the hormones of let down.

If you think that that might be the case, I will echo the other pp's and suggest that you DO see your doctor. There are things you can do, naturally as well as chemically, that are safe and effective for treating ppd, and will help to make you feel normal again...even if it's just when you're breastfeeding.
That's exactly how I would describe it. Maybe it's so mild for me because I have a lot of support and Kalten's a really easy baby.

What kind of doctor treats PPD? I don't have a regular doctor. Would my OB help?

Thank you guys so much for your support and ideas and mostly for making me feel like I'm not alone and not crazy. I'd never heard of anyone being sad only while nursing. Within the last few days the sadness sometimes hasn't gone away which worries me. DH and I have a date planned for tonight and K's going to grandma's so maybe that will help a little.
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#17 of 30 Old 07-13-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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Every single time I nurse Kalten, within 30 seconds of latching on, I feel this deep sadness/hopelessness, sometimes physically in my chest. Could it be hormonal?

Sorry, I do not know how to quote ... Anyway, Dooney, I had the EXACT same experience. Although once nursing would get underway, I'd feel better. And I had no depression otherwise - in fact, I was the happiest I had ever been in my life during the first 6 months after having DS. I actually got used to the sensation and it does lessen gradually and go away entirely. It didn't go away entirely, though, DS was close to a year old. I still nurse him now (he's 22 months) and I never get the feeling. Just speculating but I had always thought it was just the hormones triggered by the letdown. HTH
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#18 of 30 Old 07-14-2007, 10:15 AM
 
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Dooney!

The other posters have given you really great info. Perhaps just a few sessions with a therapist who specializes in PPD would help. (although be sure to say, over and over if you have to, that weaning is *not* an option as sometimes even the best therapists don't get that part). Your OB would hopefully have some suggestions on who is in your area. If not, try LLL - they are often familiar with certain therapists in the area. (or public health nurses if you are in Canada, but I don't think you are).

about the epidural too. It happened to me this time too and I can hinestly say that I am *still* trying to deal with it. I am in therapy for mild PPD and I still talk about that dang epi almost each time I'm in.

Take care - I hope you get some answers soon.
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#19 of 30 Old 07-17-2007, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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could you be pregnant?
Took a test today... I'm not.
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#20 of 30 Old 07-19-2007, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I finally called the women's health center. ("I'm going to have you hold a minute - oh wait, are you thinking of hurting yourself or the baby? lol)They made me answer a bunch of questions (I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things have gone wrong a-all the time, b-most of the time, c-hardly ever, or d-not at all - ARGH!) before she would let me explain. It made me so frustrated and for the rest of the call I was bordering on tears. I haven't cried the whole time this has been a problem. When I got to explain what was wrong, the nurse talked to my OB and he said it sounded like a rush of estrogen whenever I nurse. My options were a low dose of... I think she said Lexapro? or "monitor it and let us know if it worsens."
Now I think I am worse off than before.
I had her call in the prescription but I don't know if I'll pick it up.
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#21 of 30 Old 07-19-2007, 11:31 PM
 
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Dooney, I meant to reply earlier but I got tied up with something...

I haven't really told anybody this, but I go through something similar every time I start nursing my baby. She is almost 8 months old now and it has gotten better with time. But it is so strange. Right after she latches on I get a rush of negative emotion. The closest word I have for it is "shame", isn't that weird? I feel strange and sad and shameful, but then after letdown the feeling goes away and I feel very loving toward her and it is no big deal.

I've always chalked it up to something hormonal and I just let it ride. It isn't as intense now as it was months ago. I imagine it will be almost nothing in another few months.

I just wanted to let you know you're not alone, and it's probably normal. Either that or I'm just as abnormal as you, lol.
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#22 of 30 Old 07-19-2007, 11:43 PM
 
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Dooney, sorry I've been offline for a few days. Yes, your OB can help, but if you have a family doc who knows you better, it may be a better idea to call them. I don't have my copy of Hales handy and am stuck in bed with a gimpy back so I can't run to get it to telll you if your OB's choice is the BEST choice for a nursing mama. You might call your local LLL leader and ask her to look it up for you (sorry, I'm usually REALLY happy to do that!). I DO know that zoloft is very effective for PPD and is also safe to use. If you're not comfortable using the prescription you have been given (after you call the LLL leader to find out if it's safe/the best choice while nursing), call back and tell them that you've done some research, don't feel comfortable using the drug they prescribed, but have found that there's another drug that is often recommended for breastfeeding mothers with this issue, and would they consider that instead. Oftentimes, with the medical community, if you're proactive with them, they're willing to work with you.

And I'd definately say that, if the drug they prescribed is a good fit for a nursing mama, and they think it'll help you, and you're getting sadder and staying sad longer, that there is definately NO STIGMA and NOTHING WRONG with taking the drug. If it doesn't help significantly in a week or two, make sure to pursue a change in prescriptions. There are several drugs in the class of safe drugs that affect different women differently, and it might take a couple trys before you find one that works best.

Take care, and let us know how it's going.

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#23 of 30 Old 07-20-2007, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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she said i might not notice a change for three weeks! that's why i considered not taking the med. although, yes i feel like by taking it it means there's really something wrong with me. :/
thank you all for your kind words, they are good medicine in themselves.
i will do lll research, i think our local branch is pretty much nonexistent but i know there are others around.

maybe one good thing about being prescribed meds is that today when it happened i attributed it to a medical problem and was more sort of annoyed about it than sad. maybe that's all i need?
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#24 of 30 Old 07-20-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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When I got to explain what was wrong, the nurse talked to my OB and he said it sounded like a rush of estrogen whenever I nurse. My options were a low dose of... I think she said Lexapro? or "monitor it and let us know if it worsens."
Now I think I am worse off than before.
I had her call in the prescription but I don't know if I'll pick it up.
Even if it is all hormonal, I think an SSRI antidepressant like Lexapro will help. We've been using that class of antidepressants for PMDD fo years with great success, and that's all hormones. And a low dose of Lexapro should be OK for nursing. I take 20mg of Celexa (simliar to 10mg a day of Lexapro) a day and I've been nursing for almost 16 months now, no adverse effects for anyone. If you are worried about safety in nursing, the one with the MOST data on it is Zoloft.

I'm a pharmacist, studying to be an IBCLC, and I was studying the hormones involved in lactation today...dang! There's a lot going on behind the scenes!

But if it's depression, then Lexapro will work, too. Try it for 2 weeks and see if you don't feel a little better.
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#25 of 30 Old 07-20-2007, 07:44 AM
 
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http://www.kellymom.com/health/meds/...hale10-02.html

Info from Dr. Hale on antidepressants in nursing mothers from the above link (see the link for more info):

"Drug Hierarchy

When choosing a medication SSRIs are generally the preferred choice for a breastfeeding mother. Side effects from SSRIs are most common in the first 3 months postpartum; so with an older baby, there is little concern. Hale's "choice hierarchy" is as follows:

* Zoloft
* Paxil
* Celexa
* Effexor
* Prozac"

According to "Medications and Mother's Milk":

Lexapro is L3 (moderately safe), but there have been reports of somnolence in newborns. Dr. Hale recommends caution with newborns and young infant.

Zoloft is L2
Paxil is L2
Celexa is L2
Effexor is L3
Prozac is L2

I would suggest calling your doctor back and asking for a prescription for Zoloft, as Lexapro is not the best choice for a nursing mom with a young baby.
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#26 of 30 Old 07-26-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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Dooney, have you considered that maybe your blood sugar is bottoming out?

I've always been mildly hypoglycemic, and I noticed that after Turtle was born, if I wasn't paying attention to what I was eating, I would get pretty intense mood swings when he nursed.

Just a thought. I hope you figure something out.
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#27 of 30 Old 02-14-2008, 04:23 PM
 
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I wanted to let anyone know who was still following this that as I worked as typing up my personal experience thus far I started doing some research. And as a CLC I was able to hook up with a major breastfeeding guru who took a BIG interest in the problem and got two other big *published* breastfeeding guru's on board. Their interest seems so strong, not because it was just me, but because of the threads here, where SO many mothers stepped forward admitting their feelings. They realize it is very possibly a wide spread problem that has yet to be addressed with breastfeeding mothers. We have been emailing a lot this week and getting some blood tests done and talking to some other med professionals, including a endocrinologist who specializes in hormones. I am not sure how far it will all go, or were it will lead, but if you would like to be "in the know" as thing developed, please PM me, as it will all be too lengthy to continue posting. And any other moms who still or in the past, struggled with the problem, I would love to have your contact information. If we come to any conclusions as to the cause we may want to "interview" other mothers who have experienced it in order to make any research more credible to the lactation community.


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#28 of 30 Old 02-14-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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Ahdoula, did you find out whether it was linked to thyroid? I'ts so weird that you'd bump this thread today..if you read my recent thread on supply you'll know why. Please PM me and I'll gladly give you my contact info.
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#29 of 30 Old 02-16-2008, 01:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryTheres View Post
Every single time I nurse Kalten, within 30 seconds of latching on, I feel this deep sadness/hopelessness, sometimes physically in my chest. Could it be hormonal?

Sorry, I do not know how to quote ... Anyway, Dooney, I had the EXACT same experience. Although once nursing would get underway, I'd feel better. And I had no depression otherwise - in fact, I was the happiest I had ever been in my life during the first 6 months after having DS. I actually got used to the sensation and it does lessen gradually and go away entirely. It didn't go away entirely, though, DS was close to a year old. I still nurse him now (he's 22 months) and I never get the feeling. Just speculating but I had always thought it was just the hormones triggered by the letdown. HTH
same here !
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#30 of 30 Old 04-05-2008, 04:35 PM
 
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Bump for new mamas! Take a look at this new thread!
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