15 Truths About Weaning No One Talks About

The decision to stop breastfeeding is a very personal one. Unfortunately, the private nature of weaning can keep new moms in the dark about what it involves.

When I transitioned from exclusively breastfeeding after six months, I was hit with unexpected side effects, both emotionally and physically. Some were good, and some were bad. The experience differed from how I felt at the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. Before and after birth, I read the books, took classes, and talked to supportive professionals and friends. That led to an overall positive breastfeeding experience. And when things didn't go well, I felt prepared for bumps in the road, including a bout of mastitis.

I didn't experience the same openness around weaning. Considering all the pressure to breastfeed, some of it self-imposed, I actually felt ashamed that I was going to stop before the one-year mark. Ellen Maughan, an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) at NYU Langone Health, confirmed that my feelings were normal. She explained, "At times, social, family, or personal feelings can create guilt when it comes to weaning." According to Maughan, it's crucial that moms have accurate information and knowledge about their weaning options. When that happens, they're more likely to feel that they made the best decision for themselves and their babies.

Following my experience, I think it's important to demystify the process of weaning and help other women feel less alone. To do my part, here are 15 things I wish I knew before I stopped breastfeeding.