Dylan Dreyer: ‘No one talks about the emotional toll STOPPING breastfeeding takes on a mom’
Dylan Dreyer, accomplished meteorologist and adorable co-host of the TODAY show, is sharing something that not enough people talk about: what happens when you stop breastfeeding. If you’ve ever weaned a child, chances are likely that you had no idea what you were in for, both emotionally and physically.
When you’re pregnant and nursing, it feels like everyone is focused solely on how breastfeeding is going, if you’re breastfeeding enough, that you’re planning on breastfeeding for the first year, etc., which is…fine. It’s important to check in with nursing parents on every level. But after solids are introduced, and a baby turns into a toddler and either begins to wean of their own accord or mom decides her boobs are closing up shop, many nursing parents are left wondering, “What the f*ck is happening to me?” for a variety of reasons.
“No one talks about the emotional toll STOPPING breastfeeding takes on a mom,” Dreyer writes in her latest Instagram post.
Dreyer says her youngest son, Oliver, “wasn’t into nursing,” so she would feed him once in the morning and pump the rest of the day.
“I pumped and pumped and pumped (ABP…Always Be Pumpin I called it) and still had to supplement because I didn’t produce much,” she continues. “Pumping gave me such dysphoria…a feeling that wasn’t really a depression, just a momentary fleeting feeling of hatred toward everyone and everything in the moment and a feeling of nausea that was sickening.”
She explains that after having such a bad experience with pumping so much, she assumed she’d be more than ready to complete her breastfeeding journey with her son — but because nothing is ever cut-and-dry when it comes to the parenthood experience, she’s not quite ready.
“‘One last pump,’ ‘one last nursing session,’ ‘today’s the day I’ll stop completely,” she writes. “Every time I think about completely calling it quits, I feel an ache in my heart and my stomach and I can’t quite do it. Maybe it’s because I know this is likely the end of this era in my life. A sadness that I’m moving into the next phase of my adulthood. Or maybe it’s the DAMN HORMONES!!!! WTF???”
As the mother of two little girls, one of whom is 16 months old and for sure my last baby, these words hit me right in the heart. Both of my daughters decided they liked solid foods more than nursing once they were old enough, and both of them self-weaned. Which is great! That’s what you want to have happen! No wringing your hands over the guilt of “should I wean now?” because the decision is made for you. But my littlest love still nurses in the morning, sometimes for no longer than 30 seconds. She doesn’t cry for it, she doesn’t pull down my shirt — I just offer it to her, to “see.” When she stops accepting it more than once, I’ll know. But I can’t quite quit yet, because I know that for as tough as breastfeeding can be (especially in the beginning), I will mourn it ending for the rest of my life.
…And also because the hormone crash after weaning completely is an evil bitch, and I remember feeling blindsided the first time around. And sorry not sorry, but I’m not looking forward to the hormone crash happening on top of my seasonal depression/pandemic depression/anxiety disorder combo.
This is why Dreyer’s words are so important for moms in this position to hear right now.
“No one, not a single person, not a single doctor, not even myself having gone through this with Calvin, told me what a mind f**k this would be,” Dreyer concludes. “So to all the women out there who are calling it an end to breastfeeding/pumping, I’m here for you! I get it! I’m going through it too! It sucks and I hate it and I feel sad, sick, and guilty. It probably won’t make you feel better because we won’t feel better until these damn hormones are completely out of our systems, but misery loves company!”