Earlier this week on Instagram, I shared that it had been about 2-3 weeks since weaning Jack and that the post-weaning anxiety I experienced with Owen was creeping in this time too.
If you’re scratching your head thinking, “post-WEANING anxiety?”, you’re not alone. After you give birth, you’re warned about postpartum anxiety and depression, but no one ever warned me that those same types of feeling, emotions and problems can arise after you wean from breastfeeding too.
I did a little research and found out, it is a thing! It’s not widely studied or documented, but hopefully that changes because it’s a pretty crappy feeling.
A few weeks after I weaned Owen, I just started feeling crappy. I was exhausted all the time, nothing sounded exciting to me, I felt like my blogging career was coming to an end and I was really just not excited about anything. If you’ve ever felt that way, it’s awful. It comes out of nowhere and can be absolutely crippling. At that point, I had no idea that the hormonal changes that come with ending our breastfeeding journey would make such a difference. For months, I just assumed I was in a funk.
I cleaned up my diet, reduced my stress, exercised more and worked on my sleep hygiene and eventually, I bounced back naturally.
This go around, I started weaning with the expectation that this same thing might happen. Instead of being fearful of this phase of motherhood, I’ve jumped on all those tips for balancing hormones, improving sleep and lowering my stress to get me back to feeling like myself faster.
While these tips what I did to help my anxiety and sleep problems after weaning, these should be effective for anyone experiencing anxiety or poor sleep. And, lastly, sometimes we need a little extra help. If you’re feeling really sad and can’t seem to pull yourself out, get out. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! Hormones are wild and can have such a crazy impact on us, do what you need to do to feel your best.
5 Tips for Treating Post-Weaning Anxiety & Sleep Disruptions
When you’re feeling anxious, stressed and depressed, one of the best things you can do are manage these stressful things in your life that are causing you to feel anxious. These are some of the ways that I find to be most effective in managing and lowering my stress.
We’re so fortunate that there are so many natural supplements we can easily add to our diets to help manage stress. A few I’ve started taking regularly again are:
- Equilibria CBD Oil: I prefer Equilibria and take a soft gel in the morning and a half dropper at night just before bed. I like to think of the soft gels as a vitamin, the more consistent I am with them, the more I notice the positive effects. Get 50% off your first subscription box with code FOXANDSHE50, or 15% off any one-off purchase with code FOXANDSHE.
- Ashwaganhda: This adaptogen naturally works with your body manage stress and can aid in helping you sleep—more on that in a second!
- Golden Mellow: I just bought this for two main reasons—it has turmeric which has anti-inflammatory properties, and it has ashwagandha in it. Making a golden milk latte is the easiest way to enjoy this and because there’s no caffeine, you can also enjoy it at night to calm you before bed.
More recently, I’ve started meditating again and oh my goodness! Everytime I start it up again, I wonder why I stopped. I always feel so calm after I do it, and it shifts my mindset for the rest of the day. So, if I’ve been in a snappy or negative mood all day, this totally changes it.
This comes with time and practice, but it makes all the difference in the world to simply be mindful of your thoughts. When you’re mindful of negative or fearful thought patterns, you can stop and re-assess. Our minds are great at taking us down the “what-if” spiral which can be terrifying.
When you’re mindful of your thoughts, you can put an end to those and choose to see that situation through the lens of love instead of fear. This has been a huge one for me! This book has been essential to helping me learn to stay mindful of my thoughts.
After you have a baby and stop breastfeeding, your hormones are likely not balanced. That imbalance is what causes the depression and anxiety. The good news is that our hormones are always striving for equilibrium, but our stressful hectic lives and poor diets can greatly impact them.
To naturally balance your hormones, here’s what I suggest:
Eat Well: Duh, right? Eating a well-balanced diet is essential for balancing hormones. Don’t go too long between meals—this can cause your blood sugar to drop and spike which messes with hormones. Lastly, make sure you get in plenty of fiber—this gut-healing smoothie is a favorite that’s got tons of plant-powered nutrients and lots of fiber!
RELATED: How to Go Mostly Plant-Based
Eat Healthy Fats: My friend Caroline who is an expert on adrenal fatigue told me that breastfeeding depletes our bodies of fat, so loading up on healthy fats can aid in balancing hormones. She highly suggested grass-fed butter as one of those healthy fats.
RELATED: How to Heal the Gut
Limit Toxins: In beauty products, home cleaning supplies, food, etc. Our liver is our bodies main detoxification organ and it helps move used up hormones through our bodies. When our liver is slowed down by detoxing even more stuff, this slows down the process.
Drinking plenty of water is pretty much essential to aiding in any health issue. We need water to function and we don’t get enough, our brain can literally shrink because it’s mostly made up of water. That’s why you can get headaches when you’re dehydrated and not be able to think as clearly.
Staying hydrated helps with digestion, keeping you regular so that hormones are moving out of your body in a timely manner and gives you energy and mental clarity. I know for myself that when I drink more water, I also sleep better too. I aim to drink at 96oz. a day or more. You might not need that much, but for me, it’s the hot spot.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
I remember the good ole days where I’d crawl into bed and instantly pass out. Right now, it’s not always that easy. I’ve started practicing better sleep hygiene to get my body ready for bedtime. So far, it’s working, and thank goodness, because that’s when my post-weaning anxiety gets me—right as I’m falling to sleep.
Blue Light Glasses & Limit Tech
I’ve gotten in a bad habit of sitting in bed reading emails right before bed—terrible idea. Lately, I’ve been putting on my blue light blocking glasses around 8:30 or so and then going upstairs and plugging in my phone for the night around 9:15-9:30. Limiting screen time before bed makes me so much more sleepy!
Around 9:15 when I head upstairs, I take a magnesium supplement. Then about 20 minutes before I plan to crash, I take a half dropper of Equilibria CBD oil, and 1mg of melatonin. Beware of the melatonin supplements that are more than this, in my experience it’s too much and can cause night wakings.
Keep your Room Dark & Cool
You want as little light as possible in your room, and keep it cool, not freezing, but cooler temps help you fall and stay asleep.
Your Bed is Only for Sleeping
Instead of reading in bed or looking at your laptop, read in a chair or somewhere else. Then when you’re sleepy, crawl in and pass out.
Move Your Body
Lastly, exercise is on the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety. The tough part is that when you’re a new mom, you’re also exhausted. It’s important to not push yourself too hard. Pushing your body past it’s limits can actually increase your stress. Instead, opt for things like yoga, pilates or walking until you feel ready for higher-intensity things.
As you guys know, Melissa Wood Health flows are my favorite alongside walking! I’ve never been much for high-intensity workouts and these are both amazing.
I know how awful post-weaning anxiety and depression can feel, and it’s even worse when you don’t know what’s happening to your body. I hope this helps you to feel empowered to make choices that help you feel your best!