The Unexpected Side Effects of Weaning


Can we talk about post-breastfeeding changes for a hot minute? I feel like weaning doesn’t come up in conversation enough. Is the topic taboo? Maybe it is. Either way, I wish I knew what I know now before having kids, so I’m just going to dive on into this one, in hopes that it helps someone else out along the way.

Before having babies, you might go to a breastfeeding class to learn as much as you can without actually having a baby in your arms to try to latch onto your breasts. Once you have the baby, you start to understand what that class was all about as you re-learn everything you thought you already knew. You might be pretty successful from the start, or you might struggle. Regardless of how well it goes or how long breastfeeding lasts, at some point, that breastfeeding relationship slows down or comes to an abrupt stop. “Weaning” is a gentle term to describe this time for which you probably weren’t adequately prepared. 

We all experience these physical changes differently, so I won’t generalize here and say that my experience is going to be yours. Personally, between two pregnancies and breastfeeding two babies for almost two years each, my boobs have been in baby-mode for five consecutive years and counting. Though I think I remember what they were like before having kids, my memory could definitely be skewed because motherhood really has changed me in more ways than I like to admit.

The way I remember it, though, is that they had a full shape and made my petite body feel a bit top-heavy. Now though, with my second baby completely night-weaned and mostly daytime weaned, they remind me a lot of my postpartum tummy: soft, suddenly quite a bit smaller, and utterly void of life. I can’t fill up any of my nursing bras anymore, and my pre-pregnancy bras are completely useless, too. Where was the warning on that one, breastfeeding class? 

Anyway, this sudden deflation has taken its toll. First, it resulted in a frantic evening running through the house, making a fool of myself while trying on old bras in hopes that something, anything, would hide the fact that the upper portion of my body suddenly looks pre-pubescent while the lower portion of my body still screams “mom bod.” Then there were the texts to my friend who had fully weaned her second baby, as I asked if this was all normal. She assured me I was not alone.

Aside from the emotional damage caused, it’s also led to more shopping trips and financial drain than I’m comfortable sharing. On a related note, it’s also been enjoyable to go shopping with kids in tow; they are so interested in bra shopping. I’m not usually into bribing, but yes, I’ve had to bribe them to get through the pain of a shopping trip that I resent just as much as they do. 

Okay, but breast changes aren’t the only changes we experience during and after weaning. There is also a bit of emotional change along with the physical, knowing this time is either coming to a close or already over. It’s a tough pill to swallow, whether breastfeeding has gone perfectly all along or if it has come with bouts of frustration. It’s another emotional separation experience, similar to the mixed emotions that come after giving birth. Whether hormones are fully to blame or not, it can be tough saying goodbye to the familiar and welcoming in a new phase of life.

It would just probably all be a lot easier to handle if my boobs would just go back to their old normal.

This new normal is going to take some getting used to.

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Sarah Rizzo
Sarah is a Massachusetts native, currently living with her husband and two young children, ages 4 and 1, in the same North Attleboro neighborhood where she and her husband grew up. When her daughter was born in 2014, she left the workforce and decided to stay home, while also building up a portrait photography business, capturing the bump through baby phase of life. Now with two kids in tow, the days are busier and the nights are more sleepless than she ever imagined possible. When she musters up enough energy, she gets the kids outside to play, visit local parks and farmers markets, and help out with tending to the gardens. Other times, though, she can be found hiding in the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee and eating the very same snacks she denied her children five minutes prior. This mom gig is no joke and she is just trying to find some balance in what she does.