Now more and more people are talking about postnatal and postpartum depression, and rightly so. Even celebrity mums like Mandira Bedi, Lena Headey, and Chrissy Teigen have talked about how they struggled with depression during their postpartum period. Pregnant women are getting all the support they need to talk about how pregnancy isn’t always a pretty picture that they thought it would be. And not many people, even women are aware of post-weaning depression. Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding session for mom and the baby. And being aware of post-weaning depression can help mothers prepare better for when it’s time to stop breastfeeding.
Weaning can be hard on a mother as she might feel sad about losing the bonding experience she had with her child when breastfeeding. When a mother is breastfeeding, her body releases hormones like prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones help the mother to feel calm and less stressed. It can also increase the feelings of affection in a mother (1). So it’s possible to start feeling sad and anxious when you are weaning. Here are 7 tips that will help you to cope with postpartum depression and ease your pain:
1. Find Time To Break A Sweat
You might not be in a mood to workout when you are feeling low. But workout has more benefits than the obvious- weight loss. Working out can elevate your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. And of course, you become more fit and healthy. Working out releases feel-good hormones and also takes your mind off things that bother you. Rather than just waiting for it to pass or dwelling on the time you miss breastfeeding, doing something productive will help you cope with the situation positively (2).
2. Do Some Fun Stuff
Being a mother doesn’t mean you need to stop having fun. Plan a romantic date with your partner or invite over your friends or family for a get-together. Catch up with your friends over some coffee or lunch. It is easy to get caught up in taking care of your baby and immerse yourself in the role of a mother. Try to proactively make time for yourself by asking someone to babysit or your partner to take over the baby duty for some time.
3. Get Some Sun And Fresh Air
Getting yourself out of your bed or house might seem like an impossible task. But push yourself to go out the door and get some fresh air. Take baby steps. You can go out and put your bare feet on the grass. Connecting with nature may help you feel good.
4. Get Your Oxytocin Levels Up
Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone is good for you. Oxytocin is released during labor and breastfeeding. You can stimulate the production of oxytocin by hugging, kissing, and being intimate with your partner. So find some cuddle time with your partner today!
Rise early every morning so that you can carve out some time just for yourself. Sit on the floor with a mat facing the sun and meditate. Get in touch with your inner being. Think of positive thoughts and remind yourself of everything that you are thankful for in life.
6. Try To Maintain A Good Sleep-Wake Pattern
Your sleep must have taken a hard hit after having a baby. After weaning, you will have one less thing to do in your day. So take advantage of it and try to sleep early. Ask your partner or family to take care of the baby if he/she wakes up at night. Try to rise early and start your day by doing something you love. Meditating for a few minutes will help you start off on a positive note.
7. Eat Right
You might be tempted to eat foods that are rich in sugar or unhealthy fats when you are feeling low. But try to make healthy choices and go for healthy alternatives when you are in the mood for snacking. Following a healthy and nutritious diet can help you feel better physically as well as emotionally. Cut down on foods which contain caffeine, sugar, processed carbohydrates, artificial flavors, and low protein (3).
Don’t make the mistake of waiting for it to pass if you feel more anxious and depressed with every passing day. Making small changes in your everyday life can help you feel better. Read a good book or go out for a picnic- anything that makes you feel alive. If you don’t feel better after a few weeks, and it starts disrupting your daily life, don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor right away. Your doctor might be able to give you better care than you can provide for yourself.