Post Weaning Depression
Post Weaning Depression

Why so many new mums battle a different baby blues

NEW mums can suffer from the blues not only after birth but when they stop breastfeeding and there is a drop in the "cuddle hormone" oxytocin.

The little known condition called post weaning depression can spark tearfulness, hopelessness, irritability and difficulty sleeping, but the Australian Breastfeeding Association says there is help available.

"Weaning baby from the breast, whether rapidly or over time, can result in hormonal changes.

"As a result some post-weaning fluctuations in mood are commonly felt.

"Grief is a normal and natural response to the loss of something that was meaningful," a spokeswoman from the Australian Breastfeeding Association told The Courier-Mail.



Mothers can feel a great sense of loss when breastfeeding ends Picture: istock
Mothers can feel a great sense of loss when breastfeeding ends Picture: istock

"When weaning happens abruptly or when there is no choice such as weaning on medical grounds there can also be feelings of injustice, inadequacy or powerlessness.

"Even if weaning has occurred by choice due to ongoing struggles with breastfeeding there can still be a deep sense of loss for the breastfeeding relationship mum imagined."

Oxytocin increases during breastfeeding making the mother feel good and enjoy the bonding experience. When this hormone level falls some women are badly impacted.

Other hormones that are influenced when weaning is introduced are prolactin, which brings about feelings of calm and oestrogen also returns to pre-pregnancy levels.

"It can take some time to feel better about things. Reach out to family and friends to talk about how you may be feeling.

"Please know that whether you have breastfeed for one day or two years the Australian Breastfeeding Association is there for you.

"Many of our trained counsellors and community educators have weaned babies themselves in a variety of situations and are there to listen and provide information and support," the ABA spokeswoman said.

Queensland mum Rebekah Parker has breastfed all three of three of her children.

"I had a difficult breastfeeding journey with my first child but have been feeding my three year old middle child until recently.

"I have felt sad that it had to come to an end as I really love the bonding experience.

" But I am still feeding my nine month old and making sure I enjoy every minute. I have never heard of this condition but will be aware of the symptoms in the future," she said.

The National Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 686268 and live chat service is on

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