Whether you breastfeed for three weeks, three months, or three years, the decision to wean is an emotional one and moms all deal with it differently. Today meteorologist Dylan Dreyer has a necklace that she says helped her come to terms with her decision to stop breastfeeding her son.
In an appearance on Katherine Schwarznegger’s Instagram series BDA Baby, Dreyer opened up about not only her jewelry but also about her whole breastfeeding journey with youngest son, Oliver.
Dreyer explained that because she didn’t produce much milk, in order to hit her one-year breastfeeding goal, she had to pump a lot, and it was not a great experience. She also admitted to experiencing Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D MER) during her pumping sessions. D MER is a common but poorly understood phenomenon that some people experience during nursing or pumping when their milk lets down. It’s characterized by intense but short-lived feelings of anger or other negative emotions but is different from postpartum depression in that it only lasts a few minutes each time and the negative feelings disappear and are replaced by more normal feelings.
“I wanted to just throw things across the room,” Dreyer said of her experience with D MER. “If my husband was in the room I’m like, ‘Don’t even talk to me right now.’ I hated my job; I hated everything around me. I would make myself a sandwich or something to eat before I would sit down and breastfeed and the second I started pumping, I wanted nothing to do with food. I hated food, I hated everything.”
But when Oliver turned 1, Dreyer couldn’t make herself stop, despite the negative effects it had on her and the fact that her son was ready to wean.
“I couldn’t stop breastfeeding. I couldn’t stop pumping. I couldn’t stop feeling guilty that it’s like, ‘Well, I’m not going to give them breast milk anymore — he’s just going to switch to cow’s milk I guess? And I can’t do that to him,’” she told Schwarzenegger. “I couldn’t shake this feeling I had.”
But then she discovered a company called Milk and Honey that makes jewelry from breast milk and she was able to let her anxiety go. “It was the only way I could let go of breastfeeding because I couldn’t do it physically. I could not get myself to stop.” The jewelry in question is a simple white bead on a delicate chain.
She said she’d never told anyone before about its origin. “It’s beautiful jewelry. But I haven’t told anybody what this is.”
Despite her negative pumping experience and her weaning anxiety, she was eventually able to make herself stop pumping. “And, honestly, it was making the jewelry that made it like, ‘OK, so this still exists, it’s still there. Let’s just let this go,’ and after three days, [I was] over it.”
Breastfeeding can certainly be a wild ride!
Check out these glorious breastfeeding protest photos that show parents reminding the world that feeding babies isn’t a thing to hide.
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