No matter what the reason you stopped breastfeeding and are experiencing the sadness of parting from this special time with your baby, here are some important things you should read in the moments when it hurts.
It seems difficult to put into words the hard feelings and sharp pain that the heart experiences when a mom stops breastfeeding her baby - especially if this happens too quickly.
The shattered fantasy, the guilt that floods in and the feeling of failure and anger at yourself start to surface: What did I not do right? Where was I mistaken? Maybe my decisions were reckless?
Anat Yaari, a breastfeeding consultant certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLC), who owns the "Mother and Way" school for training breastfeeding instructors, believes that Western society does not like to be overwhelmed by issues that have a lot of emotions and can ignite quickly. And therefore there is not enough discourse on the complex feelings that mothers experience during this period. As such, your feelings may be silenced with a general statement like, “the main thing is that you’re both healthy, and in the end everyone grows up, even if they weren’t breastfed."
But for a mother whose breastfeeding hasn’t been successful, these feelings can be unbearable, and these comments won’t help things improve. On the contrary, pain can lead to withdrawal and an internal process similar to the experience of grief, heartbreak or separation.
So first of all, it’s important to remember that you’re experiencing human feelings that are motherly and normal. You wanted the most basic and existential thing for your baby. Your hormones and body prepared for the process of motherhood and now, when breastfeeding hasn’t been successful, your hormones are rampant and can make you feel depression, sadness and even anxiety. Beyond hormones, breastfeeding symbolizes the deep physical and emotional connection between you and your baby, the maternal ability and the sweet bubble that was supposed to be just yours and theirs, and if that didn’t happen, it’s painful.
It’s important that every mother who reads, identifies and perhaps sheds a tear remembers the obvious sentences but still needs to repeat them over and over again: it hurts.
Don’t ignore this heartache. You will be a loving, compassionate and giving mother despite the feeling of missing out. The connection between you and your baby will intensify over time, even without breastfeeding.
Don’t forget to find the place and time for yourself, express these feelings. Write, talk about and release them. If you need professional support, don’t hesitate. It’s normal to keep thinking that you want to breastfeed.
So give yourself a big big hug and lots of love, because you deserve it the most.