Thursday, 2 February 2012

Bon Voyage Baby Milk - The Reason

My boobies are tenacious grafters. 'A' graders no less. They thoroughly deserve an honorary doctorate, ney an OBE,for their valiant and tireless efforts summoning milk for my little girl.

Sat at my humble kitchen table I wistfully picture the queen knighting the hefty contents of my nursing bra for their lactating services to her royal highness' kingdom. This honour would, of course, be duly bestowed upon me at a refined, yet thoroughly indulgent high tea and victoria sponged affair, set amongst the pungent greenery of her back yard, and in the company of her upper, upper class chums, and the Middletons. Elton John and the Beckhams are thank fully nowhere to be seen.

The thing is, as much as my boobies have a penchant for creating unlimited reserves of Gold Top, I need to turn the holy grail of milk OFF.

You see I've been breastfeeding Little A for two years and it's now with very mixed emotions that I need to stop. I say need as I'm very certain that there is a link between my constantly fluctuating emotional state and breastfeeding.

I've always laboured under the illusion that breastfeeding protects against depression. I think by and large this is true, especially during the first six months when levels of the bonding hormone, oxytocin, remain high. But this is not necessarily the case if you possess an intolerance to the other hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

I've recently discovered,  backed up by my GP's opinion, that I've a sensitivity to the hormone, progesterone. After some research I uncovered that a sensitivity to progesterone reduces levels of the feel good hormone, serotonin, and increases the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This is an unwelcome recipe for restless sleep, mood swings, depression, aggression and all manner of unpleasant personality traits. And this has been me, on and off, for that last two years. Sound grand company don't I?

Upon reflection I clearly see that I've suffered from the effects of raised progesterone levels before my period and during pregnancy. I've always experienced PMT, I once became very teary within days of taking a progesterone dominant contraceptive pill and then experienced almost borderline psychotic depression during my first trimester of pregnancy. And according to my informative GP hormone levels remain raised throughout breastfeeding. So I need to stop. I want to see if the effect of milk free breasts helps obliterate the storm clouds I've been toiling under.

So the plan is this .....
  • Wean over the next month (have called in the A-Team)
  • Wait a month to see the effect on my mood
  • Have some homoeopathy and acupuncture to re balance hormone levels 
  • Exercise 
  • If none of the above work I may need a course of anti depressants or St Johns Wort
*HRH and #grooving mums will be proud of my efforts . I'm expecting a knighthood Liz.

So is there anyone else out there at the mercy of their hormones?

*I would like to make it quite clear I am not a royalist but would be partial to a few cakes and cups of earl grey on her majesty's finely trimmed lawn. Beats sweaty Starbucks any day.


  1. Hi Missus. Yes i'm still here. Although I'm in disneyland at the moment - on holiday! My daughter just asked if she could see The Trifle Tower. so cute.

    Anyway, hormones. Shitty. I had exactly the same experience as you during my first trimester. I was crazy, depressed, anxious. I am also the same during PMT. I've been on Prozac and it did help but I do think that research on the link between hormones and depression/anxiety is woefully inadequate.

    Back to blogging, I've been trying not to pressure myself into writing a blog every week, although I will try. I've been finding it hard to be honest. Bloggers block. Still, will def write one next week xx

  2. Phew. Thank goodness for that! Trifle Tower - brilliant! Write when the moment takes you - whether its once a month or twice a week. X

    1. Hi honey i find hard to believe that there is a connection between depression and breastfeeding. My depression was discovered when i was breastfeeding. And i've been up and down for the past 2.5 years but i said NO to antidepresants. I might check to go in a spa retreat every month instead. What do you think? Wanna join me? xx

    2. I love lazing in a spa! Whenever I go to the gym I always spend most of my time in the steam room.

  3. Like you I've always been a bit of a believer that breast feeding releases happy hormones. And (unbacked up by any research just my own experience) I can relate to how the big bonus comes in the first 6 months. I stopped at 1 year - and that really was because I felt I couldn't carry on anymore. I think Pip would have happily continued and still be going now! but I felt I'd given enough and I needed to stop. You've given little A a great run of it, so I think you should feel really proud of yourself. It's great that you've identified some reasons why you've been feeling as you have - and you've got a plan for the month to work to. I really hope that you start to feel better soon.

    And, can I just say, if those are your nursing bras in the photo - it puts me to shame. (Makes note to overhaul underwear drawer...) x

    1. Thank you for your support. I'm certainly starting to feel better. Planning to start the weaning next weekend. Ps. Those are definately NOT my nursing bras!

  4. Hi Older Mum,

    Oh I am also at the mercy of hormones. Pregnancy was awash with tears and anxiety, and my 20month old little boy went down from 6/7 breastfeeds a day to just one (from one side) in January.

    I found the transition very very hard, and found the slump in hormones difficult to manage. If you possibly possibly can, do it as gradually as you can.

    Even thought the hormones have settled down, I am more anxious than I was than when I breastfed during the day, so I am sure that there is a connection between a mum's mood and breastfeeding.

    It sounds like you have a really positive, planned experience of weaning ahead, and good luck!

    I also think a weekly cupcake and earl grey treat would also help morale through your weaning month. Your boobies have put in a big shift - make sure to take them on many trips to nice tea shops as much as you can.


    1. Hi Mammasaver. Yes I plan a gradual process of weaning - am already stocking up on a stash of cake and teabags! Thank you for your positive words.

  5. Good Luck with it all. I so admire how you come up with a firm plan for yourself. Keep grooving, we are with you all the way as you are with us. Thank you

  6. Thank you Kate! Weaning startes this weekend. I am very nervous about it.

  7. I am sorry you are struggling with this, but you don't sound in a muddle at all. I fed both mine for over a year and had to stop with the second one because of his biting. That's when my tears came, because it didn't stop naturally. I suspect you're both ready. You'll be much less tired and therefore less emotional anyway. You'll be amazed how quickly relief sets in and your hormones settle down, but I feel for you. All these milestones are soon superceded with a little more freedom. Then we go get drunk at Britmums Live right? Big hugs XXX

  8. Thank you for your reassurance. I would love weaning to take its natural course but thats not going to happen. As to whether we are both ready we will see. I know deep down that I am not quite ready yet - so I will be crying. Little A will be very upset aswell. Looking forward to a glass (or four) of wine at Brit Mums.


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