To think it should be more well known that when you stop breastfeeding you can suffer from depression

(34 Posts)

Would like to share and make aware.

I have slowly been stopping breastfeeding with DS 15 months it now seems that my milk had dried up all well and good. Started feeling not myself last week, absent minded, bad tempered, wanting to cry, it got worse as the weekend wore on. Yesterday spent much of the day crying and thinking things that scared me.

Went to the doctor today I had an emergency appointment, he did some blood tests and gave me valium. I have a proper appointment on Wednesday to discuss where what do from here. Reading another thread on here I learn that stopping breastfeeding can give you very bad PMS.

From this I did a bit of research on the internet to find that you can get depressed when you stop breast feeding because of the change in hormones. Now I told the pediatrician I was stopping breastfeeding a couple of months ago we talked about it but they never mentioned this to me. I should explain I live in the Netherlands and you do not just see the health visitor and you see the pediatrician as well but they also seem to keep an eye on mum and ask how you are and how you are coping so I would think it would be good to warn that you may feel a bit depressed when stopping breastfeeding.

So am I being unreasonable to think that if I had known that stopping breast feeding could make me feel this way, i may have reacted differently and maybe been able to to tell the doctor that it could be a factor.

gwenniebee Mon 18-Feb-13 20:04:30

YABU. I didn't know anything about this and will probably begin to stop bfing (if that makes sense!) when I go back to work. I have a history of depression and have been amazed and delighted by the fact that I seem to have got away without PND.

Thanks for the "heads up".

marzipananimal Mon 18-Feb-13 20:08:54

I knew it could make you low for a few days but hadn't heard of anything worse. I guess the more gradually you stop the better, I stopped super gradually with DS and didn't notice any effect on my mood

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 18-Feb-13 20:20:03

Gosh, I didn't know that! Thanks for sharing it. I hope you feel better soon. YANBU.

I'm bf DD full-time 3 days a week and morning/evening the other 4 when I go to work. She has formula during the day as I couldn't express much. She's nearly 1 but AF hasn't returned yet. Anything that potentially helps with that is gratefully docketed!

I didn't have this problem with DD but I had a lot of problems breastfeeding with her as I was sick when she was 5 days old and it affected my breast milk and I had to formula feed her in the end so it is a bit of a shock.

I think many people just have bad PMS symptoms but some people seem to suffer much worse. Valium seem to have helped certainly with the bad temper and not so much crying today.

natwebb79 Mon 18-Feb-13 20:39:32

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have recently stopped feeding my 15 month old son and gave also felt down, tearful and have been experiencing bad dreams and anxiety. I still haven't had a period (stopped bf 6 weeks ago) but gave had blood test and it came back clear. Just want my hormones to get back on track now as I'm sick of feeling down and moody.

FeistyLass Mon 18-Feb-13 20:42:21

I didn't know this either so thanks for sharing. You're right. It should be more widely known.

poachedeggs Mon 18-Feb-13 20:46:37

When my DS stopped BFing it was very gradual and I didn't notice (his last feeds were night feeds... at 2.3!) until he'd not fed for ages. It was only afterwards that I realised it was correlated with me having a very out of character emotional meltdown at work and generally stropping out.

DD is selfweaning at the moment and January was one of the bleakest I've ever had, terrible SAD and feeling very listless and irritable.

Oxytocin deficiency. Apparently the cure is more sex!

Hope you're feeling better soon OP.

Natwebb hope you feel better soon, Poached hoping you are feeling better.

If me sharing what I am going through helps helps even one person understand what they are going through and helps them get some help for it if needed then that makes me happy.

MummytoKatie Mon 18-Feb-13 21:25:32

I never knew this either. Wasn't an issue as the stop with dd was incredibly gradual (plus the two days after the "last feed" I was on a hen weekend so may have been self medicating!) but I'm really shocked.

Am pregnant again so I'll be careful to keep an eye out for this in a couple of years. (And thanks to poachedeggs advice dh is keen to help out to. hmm )

PoppyWearer Mon 18-Feb-13 21:28:51

Thank you OP! I stopped bf'ing my DC2 a couple of months ago (now 18mo) and have been on a roller coaster since then, seriously doubting my sanity at times, and worse. I am definitely not myself most days and my periods have been erratic, long and horrendous, with accompanying black moods.

I have been blaming my pill, but your post here could be the answer. I'm seeing my GP next week anyway.

Thank you!!!!! thanks

PoppyWearer Mon 18-Feb-13 21:30:05

More sex? If my period stops anytime soon, like this side of Christmas, I'll give it a try. DH will be delighted!

Emsmaman Mon 18-Feb-13 21:37:34

YANBU, although maybe depression is a bit strong. I definitely had a downer and was very weepy, moody in the week or two after stopping completely and I didn't know why until I self diagnosed over google. I felt better knowing it wasn't just me and that it would indeed correct itself.

larks35 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:38:53

YANBU to share. I didn't know this but I only gave up breast-feeding due to returning to work and found that so stressful both times, that I possibly wouldn't have realised that stopping BF was a factor. For both of mine, I did continue with night feeds for a while but had to stop that gradually due to constant fatigue. For each of mine I didn't have a period til at least 4 months after stopping the night-time feeds, but did feel a sense of relief when they finally came.

OHforDUCKScake Mon 18-Feb-13 21:40:04

The few days before my first period after stopping bf my pfb was absolutely horrendous.

I very suddenly plunged into a very dark depression. I couldnt even bring myself to feed him, hold him, look at him or anybody. I was a crying, hysterical, dark mess. I actually cant put into words how bad it was. I made it worse by 'remedying' it with alcohol. In attempt to cheer myself up (not realising what the problem was) I made it much worse.

It was short lived, so in theory Im not sure it 'techincally' comes under the term depression. But it absolutely was.

I will be far more aware of it this time, I certainly wont drink. I'll get the valium ready, vitamin C, sunshine, exercise and hope to God it isnt as bad as last time.

I had only been feeding him once a day as well, I never thought it would give me such a reaction. And no, no one warned me.

Thanks for sharing. Was looking at DD last night as she was having her bedtime feed and thinking how much I will miss BFing when the time comes. Hope you feel better soon OP.

WookieWoo Mon 18-Feb-13 21:42:57

Unfortunately I already knew this due to my own experience. Not nice at all. Still on ads two years later as it seems to have triggered some more deep rooted mental health issues. Nonetheless, with the help of a psychologist and psychiatrist I have pin pointed the start of my depression to when I stopped breast feeding.

I certainly don't believe this would ever be the case for most women but for some I do think that the hormonal changes may trigger depression that is perhaps "dormant", if you know what I mean.

Thanks OP for bringing up the subject and I hope you are ok.

Branleuse Mon 18-Feb-13 21:51:13

i didnt know this, but it stands to reason as breastfeeding causes a surge in oxytocin to help you bond with the baby. I guess if you get used to this level of oxytocin in your body, you may notice it when it stops, or it inhibits depression while you are feeding. Acts as a natural anti-d

This probably doesnt mean that stopping breastfeeding stops depression, but it delays it if someone already has it underlying.

In the same way that coming off an antidepressent wouldnt cause depression, but it may bring old depression back

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:56:09

Thank you for sharing.

Like others on the thread, I am prone to strong anxiety and occasional depression (though thankfully escaped PND). Currently ebf DS who is 6 months - will make sure I tune into my body when we start weaning!

Schooldidi Mon 18-Feb-13 21:58:10

I didn't know this but it does seem to fit. I stopped feeding dd2 not long before Christmas and I've felt incredibly down ever since. I put it down to unresolved grief about my mc last Easter, which it probably is in part, but it's worse now than it was when i was still feeding.

I am also getting the most awful PMT which I ahve never ever suffered from before, but then I've never really had regular periods either due to my pcos so that's taken some getting used to as well.

NotSoNervous Mon 18-Feb-13 22:02:11

shock I've never heard of this so thanks for the warning!

Thanks everybody for sharing your experiences, I know if I had been warned that I could feel at bit down when stopping breastfeeding then I would have been more prepared and maybe could have handled it better.

As it was I decided on Friday that there was something wrong and I should see my doctor on Monday, I go worse at the weekend went on and was having very dark thoughts on Sunday which really scared me. I have suffered terribly when younger with PMS so I knew what I was feeling was much worse than that.

I hope all of you who are also suffering because of this feel better soon and get help if you need it.

kelda Tue 19-Feb-13 09:04:40

Very sorry to hear this. Hope you are getting the help you need.

I have never heard of stopping breastfeeding causing PMS or depression. For what it's worth, I didn't experience any negetive feelings when I stopped breastfeeding each of my three children (each breastfed more then a year). To the contrary, I felt happy that I had succeeded in my goal.

It just shows, different women have different experiences.

Hope you recover soon goodiegoodieyumyum.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 19-Feb-13 09:05:56

I hope you feel better soon smile

I didn't know this, and it's years since I finished bfing. I don't remember it being a problem for me, but I can remember how breastfeeding made me feel like I knew so much more about my body. Being aware that stopping feeding can cause depression is something that I'm sure would help a lot of women.

kelda Tue 19-Feb-13 09:06:05

goodiegoodieyumyum - may I just ask - did your periods (ovulation) return when you were still breastfeeding, or have they only just returned?

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