Everything You Need to Know About Post-Wean Boobs
Every pregnant woman or new mother has heard a ton about breastfeeding. Everyone has an opinion on it and seeing as it is something that many new mothers do, it can be quite the unifying experience. But while there is a strong societal emphasis on the mom/baby connection during nursing, there is never a lot of conversation about the transition away from breastfeeding, or weaning.
Weaning can be a challenging time. Sometimes a baby or toddler initiates weaning on their own, other times the mother drives the process by delaying breastfeeding or trying to replace it with other foods or activities. Whichever way it happens for you and your family, it is likely going to take awhile. This puts the mother in an interesting limbo in which her body is still shared with her child, but is also starting to become wholly her own again. It can take a lot out of women mentally, emotionally, and physically.
So let’s talk about those physical symptoms. When your child is ready to wean, your breasts will be going from a food delivery device back to simply breasts...a lot can happen during that time.
Here are the most common things that can happen to your breast during or post weaning. If this happens to you, don’t panic. It is all a part of the process.
Most moms think that once they are done breastfeeding, that painful engorgements are behind them. Sadly, this is not always true. Rebound engorgements are very much a thing. If your breasts do become engorged after you wean, do your best not to stimulate them. A pain reliever can help if there is pain. Warm compresses and showers can help prevent blockage as well as gentle breast message. The engorgement should subside.
Post-weaning, it is common for moms to lose the fat that surrounds the glandular tissue. This can lead to somewhat droopy/smaller looking breasts. Give your body six months to adjust to its new normal - some of your fattiness may return.
Your milk doesn’t dry up the moment your child stops nursing, so keep some of those absorbent pads handy. It can take weeks for your breasts to finally stop producing milk, so be patient.
Dried milk can lead to some solid-feeling lumps in your breasts. Let lumps subside on their own. As mentioned above, warm compresses and warm showers can help along with gentle breast massage. If weeks go by and there are no changes, consult your doctor.
Did you know that your boobs can actually shrink down to a smaller size than they were before you ever got pregnant? Well, now you know. It is possible, so mentally prepare yourself in case it happens to you. (it happened to me!)
Remember that weaning is a process. It may not go as easily or as smoothly as you want it to so try to be patient with your body and your child. Everything will turn out just fine.