A Mother often feels that she has lost a close connection with the baby once the baby weans off the milk, leading to a mood disorder characterized by exhaustion and intense sadness. This is known as Post-weaning depression which is caused due to hormonal changes in a mother.
When a mother breastfeeds her child, oxytocin is released. This is the good feeling mothers have during the process of breastfeeding. A mother can bond well with the baby because the sense of calm and affection is triggered due to oxytocin. As the baby starts to wean off mother’s milk, oxytocin is no longer produced and this sudden change causes the mother to fall under post-weaning depression.
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
- Intense sadness
- Less interest in baby and family
- Sleep trouble
How to overcome this?
Weaning can be a complex and emotional process for a mother. To overcome this, mothers can follow the pointers given below :
Mothers body re-calibrates itself to a big hormonal change during the depression stage. When she exercises, endorphins will be released. These endorphins will give the temporary relief from depression. Exercising regularly will give balance to her hormones and soon she will be back to normal and the body will find the equilibrium again.
It is very difficult to eat right when depressed, however, not eating makes it even worse. Eating nutritious meal is important during this period. Omega-3 fatty acid contains food such as avocados and fish can be consumed which makes sure that the brain is sharp and working on its hormone signals. Always keep the body hydrated.
It is always better to take the nutrition from its natural source. Mothers can take supplements after consulting the doctor. Zinc supplements will help to reduce stress. Omega-3 supplements keep the brain active.
See a psychiatrist
The depression usually lasts only for two weeks. If it lasts longer than two weeks, it is advised to see a doctor.
The doctor might prescribe the anti-depressant medications. This, however, is only the last resort. The doctor will give the tips to overcome this and will only prescribe if nothing works.
And lastly, focusing on the positive side of being a mother. Taking support from the family members, speaking out and always remembering that this is just a temporary phase will go a long way!