Adeline and I are laying on my bed, playing her all-time favorite game: hide and seek. She hides under the blanket and I have to find her. I tickle her when I find her and she squeals with delight. I pull up her shirt and give her a raspberry and she laughs uncontrollably. When she gathers herself, she shouts “Again!” and we just keep going. Hiding, tickling, raspberrying and just having the time of our lives. This is it. This is one of those moments of exhilaration that make everything worth it.
And then I feel something I haven’t felt in awhile: let-down. And a small drop of breastmilk leaking through my shirt.
Addie stopped nursing a week ago, but obviously my boobs didn’t get the memo. Even before that, we were in such a regular pattern that I never really leaked anymore. I hadn’t worn breast pads in six months. But in the past week I’ve leaked noticeably four times and a tiny little bit countless other times.
My body is still adjusting to this change. But it’s not just that there’s a build-up of breastmilk. It only ever happens when I’m feeling a particularly strong love or happiness. Physiologically I know that this is obvious: they call oxytocin, the hormone responsible for letdown, the “love hormone” for a reason. The hormone associated with sexual pleasure, with romantic love, with birth, with breastfeeding, and with bonding with your baby is an incredibly powerful one. It drives the desires and actions that are most deeply evolutionarily rooted in the survival of the species.
Psychologically, though, it’s more than just obvious. It’s beautiful. I love that my body responds in such a natural and instinctive way to the pure joy of being with my daughter. I love that I was able to share that with her for so long, and that we managed to move away from it together, in an easy and calm way. I love that I get echoes of the feeling for a little while after, as though my body is giving my mind a little boost of oxytocin to make the weaning process easier on me.
I do wonder, though, how long this will last. Did anyone else experience this after weaning? If so, for how long?