No choice but to give up breastfeeding.

(45 Posts)

I had DD 15 weeks ago. Breastfeeding got off to a tricky start. Her mouth was small and it was painful bt we perservered. She ended up in hospital at 10 days old with an infection and was too weak to suck properly so she ended up on a bottle. I expressed milk during this time. We came out of hospital and ended up with thrush. I had a lot of support from a local breastfeeding group and got the treatment needed but it took a few weeks to clear. I was still expressing off one side as I couldnt get DD to take that side. Finally a few weeks ago I got her to latch on both sides and breastfeeding finally clicked into place. Throughout all this I was determined to keep feeding as I felt it was the best thing for us. I felt too disorganised to get to grips with formula and I enjoyed feeding her. The last few weeks have been lovely. Feeding has been pain free and DD has thrived.

Sorry for the essay, I'll get to the point now. I had blood pressure problems and pre eclampsia before DD was born. My blood pressure has remained high despite the highest dose of labetelol. In the last couple of weeks I have had severe dizzy spells. The other day I nearly fell while holding DD so made an appt withy GP (earliest ome available was over a week away). Today I developed blind spots in my vision and knew my blood pressure must be high. I got in with the doctor and sure enough my blood presure is dangerously high. Labetelol isnt cutting it. It is too dangerous too breastfeed on any other drug. It is too dangerous for me not to take another drug. I have got to give up breastfeeding. I know its for the best. It is more important for DD that I am healthy than she is breastfed. She has been breastfed for 15 weeks which was a start.

Intellectually I know all this. I just feel absolutely heartbroken. Im putting off taking the first tablet until tomorrow so I can feed my little girl overnight. DH and I have agreed that we will have no more children so aftertonight I will never breastfeed again. It is purely selfish really. I love breastfeeding. I love the way it makes me feel. Dd was very small at birth and has put on weight beautifully. It took a lot of work to persevere and I really thought I would feed her until at least 1 year old. I just feel so sad. I need to snap out of this. I have a lovely healthy baby and a loving husband. DH has just been diagnosed with MS so it is even more important that I look after my health.

Please come and tell me I will feel better soon and that stopping breastfeeding is not the huge deal I am turning it into.

beatingwings Thu 05-Jun-14 18:05:23

I would call La Leche League.
THe likelyhood is that there are hypertension drugs that are compatable with breastfeeding. La Leche League have access to Pharmacists with expert knowledge on this subject. Many GPs are not clued up enough or too lazy to do some legwork. LLL helplines are open this evening.

I am no expert in pharmaceuticals but if this is something you feel stongly about I wouldn't just accept your GPs word on this.

Yes your blood pressure needs urgent medication, but there may be options that allow you to continue to breastfeed.

If at the end of the day it is necessary to use a drug that would prevent you to continue breastfeeding you will know that yo uhave done everything you can.

I wouldn't accept this without question..
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK62632/

leedy Thu 05-Jun-14 18:56:22

What beatingwings said: I know there are blood pressure drugs other than Labetalol you can take while BF because I took them (and my doctor researched several more in case I needed to stay on them long term, fortunately I didn't). Check the one you've been prescribed in Lactmed, if it's not listed as low risk then contact Wendy Jones at the BFN, she'll give you correct information.

toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT
www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-in-breastmilk.html

tiktok Thu 05-Jun-14 19:10:23

Piffy, of course you must look after your health. But if stopping bf is making you sad, then of course you must get a further opinion.

There is a facebook group which Wendy runs, but you can reach the drugsline direct through the link leedy has posted.

It is very rare women have to stop bf because of meds. Find out what the likely effect is on your baby, and then make your own decision.

Many drugs don't actually reach the milk in any significant amount anyway.

CrimeaRiver Thu 05-Jun-14 19:15:53

I am going to voice a different opinion: I think you might benefit from looking at the positives. You are so very lucky to have access to modern medicine and safe formula. Both you and your daughter have the means to live, and live healthily. See this for what it is. Without your medication, and without a wet nurse or formula, one or both fo you would suffer, potentially awfully.

Having said that, I feel your pain. You are having to give up something meaningful that you enjoy. That is always sad. Try to see it for what it is, and accord this sadness its due emotional energy. But no more.

MagpieMama Thu 05-Jun-14 19:16:57

Whatever happens, you've done so well to get this far and you've given your baby the best start. Be very proud of yourself.
I hope you can find a way around it, but if not, don't forget what you've achieved and treasure the memories.
At one point I thought I'd have to stop breastfeeding due to medication (for something completely different) so I got DH to take loads of photos of us feeding so I could look back on it. In the end my consultant agreed I could bf for part of the time as my medication only has a half life of 9 hours. Still lovely to have the photos though. Good luck!

Agree with tiktok.
However...if you do stop, your little girl is one of the lucky few, most do not get to this stage still breastfed. I'm so sorry it' stopping just as it's becoming easier though sad

violetlights Thu 05-Jun-14 19:47:39

I do really feel for you. Bf for us was a torturous journey and just when things were going ok (no nipple thrush, cracked nipples, blisters, blocked ducts, mastitis, infections etc) he self-weaned (at six months). I was devastated. Saw top lactation consultations and rang LL and NCT every day. Cried every day for three weeks (and continued trying and expressing for another month).

But then suddenly, everything was okay. It was like a switch and I felt better. 100%. In a way I found it hard to understand why I was so heartbroken in the first place....

And then of course you realise the advantages. That you can have a little space when you need it. That when you take a rare day off, you don't have to bring a pump with you and spend ages in a random toilet expressing. That there's no risk of any more infections and blocked ducts. And you realise the closeness and beauty of bottle feeding too. Even now when my 19-month old has a night bottle we snuggle in close in a way that is different but equally intimate to bf.

So yes, embrace feeling heartbroken for a while, but know that the intimacy doesn't end with bf, it's just the beginning. thanks

Thank you so much for all the replies. There were lots of things i hadnt even thought about. I will ring the bfn i think just so i know ive explored all i can before giving up. The main drug that is prescribed when breastfeeding is methyl dopa but it doesnt agree with me at all so is a non starter.

I got so wrapped up in the thought of not feeding her for a year like i planned that i overlooked that i had done well for managing almost four months. Your comments have helped me get it into perspective and realise that there are avenues to explore but if those avenues are closed then we have done well to get this far. It also helped to be reminded that through trying to resist formula i have almost demonised it. It is not poison andim very lucky to have access to a safe alternative when i need it.
Ive had my cry and im going to do a bit of research and try and get on with it. Although im slightly hmm about having to pay for formula now. It was lovely feeding her for free smile.
Your comments were really what i needed and i feel much better thanks
Apologies for typos. Little one is snuggled into my chest grin

Imeg Thu 05-Jun-14 20:37:31

I can definitely empathise with you - I struggled with breastfeeding for the first 6 weeks and thought I might have to stop due to baby's slow weight gain. Rationally I knew formula feeding would be completely fine, and even have some advantages in terms of freedom, but I did feel unexpectedly emotional about it.

leedy Thu 05-Jun-14 20:37:50

Yes, you've totally done brilliantly to get so far, and if it turns out you need to stop, that's not the end of the world.

Hope the drugsline and Lactmed can give you some more info. High BP is a pain in the arse, I had pre-eclampsia as well and my BP didn't settle down until 12 weeks or so. Was on labetalol from pregnancy and, er, another one whose name I can't remember, but I do remember there was a long list of possible other drugs for me to move onto if I'd needed to.

SoonToBeSix Thu 05-Jun-14 20:40:12

That isn't true op I safely breasted whilst taking adalat retard, what medication have you been prescribed?

leedy Thu 05-Jun-14 20:42:30

Adelat, that was the other one! Though my GP said it was a fairly old fashioned drug so if I was going to be on BP meds long term he'd move me on to something more modern that might have fewer side effects or need to be taken fewer times a day.

ThermoLobster Thu 05-Jun-14 20:47:19

I was in a similar situation and received some excellent informed advice from the pharmacist at BFN. I went on to feed DD1 for about a year. I had to stop feeding DD2 at 2 weeks due to another medication issue, but that was based on poor medical advice I now realise, and it does make me sad that I was not able to get independent quality advice at the time.
Sorryto hear though you have had such a rough time with your blood pressure. Hope you feel better soon whatever you end up doing about feeding.

ThermoLobster Thu 05-Jun-14 20:48:01

I took atenolol by the way.

You sound like a lovely mum.

shroedingersdodo Thu 05-Jun-14 21:15:42

Did you talk to la leche league? I've met very few GPs who have a clue about bf, so i wouldn't take their word. I don't know your particular situation, but have you talked to a dietitian? It's insane to take such strong drugs before changing your diet. Maybe with an adequate diet you can continue with the same drugs...

Writerwannabe83 Thu 05-Jun-14 21:19:59

What medication have you been prescribed?
I take a beta blocker, which I know similarly to high BP meds and I've never been told not to breast feed.

I had issues with bp before being pregnant. I did lose a lot of weight and got a lot fitter but there is a substantial family history of hypertension which means lifestyle only helps so much. During pregnancy my bp was fine until literally the week i was due and then it all went to pot. I had to stay in hospital as they couldnt get it under control at all. Since then theyve just been increasing the labetelol which has never worked for me.

There is one gp at my practice who will listen if i research carefully. Thats how i got the thrush sorted. I showed him info from the bfn about it. I might try and do the same again. Unfortunately though i prob wont beable to get in with him till next week. If i express and throw it away over the weekend do you think my supply will last a week or so till i can get this sorted?

The medication ive been prescribed is Amlodipine (i think, its downstairs at the mo, will check later). Ive never taken this one before.

Just getting it out has made me feel loads better. I was so upset before. Now i can see a way clear. I can try and figure out a way to keep feeding but if i cant its not the end of the world and we will manage.

Fifty, your lovely comment made me cry. Iv never been maternal and was a bit worried what kind of mum i would be but ive surprised myself. I thought i would be more hands off and go for the path of least resistance but i have a sling, we co sleep and i use cloth nappies! I just lIts all completely unexpected. I wish id taken the plunge earlier smile

you do sound like a lovely mum! she's a lucky baby.

snapple21 Fri 06-Jun-14 06:11:33

Labetelol wasn't bringing it down enough for me either, so they added nifedipine as well and that did the trick

onedogatoddlerandababy Fri 06-Jun-14 07:15:39

I had preeclampsia after having my baby and was prescribed nifedipine. Might work?
Good luck flowers

leedy Fri 06-Jun-14 08:52:33

Best of luck! Depending on what the BFN folks say you might be able to take the amlodopine short term until they find you something else rather than pumping and dumping.

Lactmed says it seems to be safe but because data is limited you might prefer one of the other possible medicines, btw. They suggest nifedipine(Adalat) as a similar alternative.

tiktok Fri 06-Jun-14 09:06:20

Look up the drug on lactmed, OP . It's there.

Perhaps your doc will see you today or have a conversation with you by email/phone....send him the lactmed link.

Short term use of this drug may be acceptable to your doc and you, if you feel unable to use it longer term, while you research something else.

Ask your doc what the half-life of this drug is - that's crucial. It means that if you really don't want to bf with the drug anywhere in your system, you can time your dosage to the points where the drug is disappearing or has gone.

Good luck!

Writerwannabe83 Fri 06-Jun-14 09:19:07

I've just looked up both drugs I take and it hasn't filled me with confidence sad

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