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To wonder why there aren't more breastfeeding studies?

(48 Posts)
cityrat79 Tue 03-May-16 21:17:19

I'm currently breastfeeding my 6 month old, and will probably wind down within the next 4 months or so as she starts solids.

I would be very willing to keep my milk going for studies to test whether certain substances pass into breastmilk. Being told "we don't know if it passes into the milk" about various medications really irritated me and I'd like to do something to help future mothers once I've finished feeding my child.

Surely researchers must be crying out for volunteers? But I cannot find a single study. AIBU to think there should be a national database for volunteering for this sort of thing?

FrogFairy Tue 03-May-16 21:20:11

Good point.

I live a few miles away from a place where drug test are carried out. The human guinea pigs are required to stay there during the tests, so I can see that this would be problematic for mothers of young babies.

Fourormore Tue 03-May-16 21:23:43

Keep your milk going? By expressing? It's a pain in the neck to express, in my experience, and I'd imagine most mothers of young babies have better things to do?

cityrat79 Tue 03-May-16 21:27:29

I am lucky that expressing is not hard for me - I'm very milky! I would be happy to take 30 mins out of the day to help others.

I wouldn't imagine that drug testing would require an overnight stay as most things metabolise into milk quite quickly. Could even potentially be done at home. (Take this pill one hour before expressing 50ml etc)

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Tue 03-May-16 21:28:20

They are. I took part in such a study when I was BF my DS.

backwardpossom Tue 03-May-16 21:28:33

Probably because there's no profit in it.

cityrat79 Tue 03-May-16 21:30:35

Someday, how did you come across the study and what did it involve?

HackerFucker22 Tue 03-May-16 21:37:52

What would you be willing (and unwilling) to test?

whifflesqueak Tue 03-May-16 21:41:31

my aunt was also super milky and donated gallons of the stuff to her local hospital after she finished feeding. I don't see why a similar set up couldn't be used. yanbu.

cityrat79 Tue 03-May-16 21:43:09

Once I've finished feeding my child is be willing to test pretty much anything that is already passed as safe for healthy adults - e.g. antihistamines, alcohol, painkillers, topical creams - not talking about anything that could be harmful for me so much as we don't know if they pass to breastmilk. Appreciate there's still a part of the puzzle which asks if it does, then what effect does that have on the baby - and that's much harder to ethically test.

But surely lactating volunteers would be a decent first step. Surprised we're not in demand is all!

AlexandraEiffel Tue 03-May-16 21:43:24

Surely it would be more than 30 mins a day to keep your milk supply going?

Junosmum Tue 03-May-16 22:12:13

I donate my milk to the human milk bank at the university of chester. Most of my milk is given to babies in nicu's across the north west. But some gets used for research- I had to consent to that when signing up. I don't know what research they are doing though.

viciousstarling Tue 03-May-16 22:14:13

Better going to a milk bank surely?

MsMargaretCarter Tue 03-May-16 22:16:57

It's not that we don't know whether substances pass into breastmilk. We do, and we know the quantities. It's that we don't know enough about the effects on the baby. And that isn't something you can design ethical trials for.

AgathaMystery Tue 03-May-16 22:18:12

It's almost impossible very difficult to get ethical approval. And there is zero cash to be made from it.

Google 'OPTIMUM' - that was the last study I recall that involved breast milk.

CountessOfStrathearn Tue 03-May-16 22:18:12

There are loads of studies done in breastfeeding women. Look at Lactmed, pick any drug you want and you'll see all the studies that have been done.

Osolea Tue 03-May-16 22:26:37

There's no money in knowing some of this stuff, and even if we did know that it was safe to take anti histamine or whatever, lots of women still wouldn't want to when they were bfing.

What surprised me more when I was breast feeding was the lack of places that would take donated milk for prem babies or babies who's mums couldn't breast feed. I don't know if it's any better 12 years on, but I'd have been more than happy to donate if the right things were in place.

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Tue 03-May-16 23:07:31

I was recruited while in the hospital after giving birth. There was a specialist research midwife working alongside someone doing their PhD thesis into how the mother's diet etc affects the nutrients & contents of breastmilk.
I was visited 3 times & kept a food diary for a week before each visit. They then took a sample of breastmilk for analysis at each visit.

Pico2 Tue 03-May-16 23:11:07

I was under the impression that experimenting on potentially fertile women was really difficult as you risk unwittingly experimenting on women who are in early pregnancy.

ethelb Tue 03-May-16 23:13:28

Because then you wouldn't have an imaginary risk stick to beat women with would you?

herecomethepotatoes Tue 03-May-16 23:28:21

@OP - because they'd need to do it for each particular drug which would be difficult. Hello Mrs X, this week you'll be taking anti-depressants, next week beta blockers, then diamorphine....

They'd also be trying to prove a negative.

"ethelb Because then you wouldn't have an imaginary risk stick to beat women with would you?"

Bit of a chip there.

CountessOfStrathearn Wed 04-May-16 12:58:54

"because they'd need to do it for each particular drug which would be difficult."

I did post earlier but seem to have been ignored, perhaps because it doesn't fit with the odd "Because then you wouldn't have an imaginary risk stick to beat women with would you?" narrative, but lots of studies HAVE been done in lactating women.

Go to LactMed, type in the drug of your choice and you can read all of them...



Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed):

cityrat79 Wed 04-May-16 13:55:12

Of course I understand that each drug would need to be tested separately. Each study would test one drug. But there could be lots of money for pharma companies if the drugs were proved safe.

parallax80 Wed 04-May-16 14:20:39

I doubt it would make any discernable difference to profits

Trials cost a lot of money to run properly.

Most people don't breastfeed for very long - most weeks to months, sometimes a couple of years. Most women of childbearing age don't need regular medication. Medications aren't the most common reason not to breastfeed (or deciding factor in when to stop). So small potential increase in profit margins for big outlay.

Booboostwo Wed 04-May-16 14:23:24

If you find expressing easy you might want to look into donating milk. It makes a huge difference to babies that need it but you would need to express more than once a day to keep your supply going.

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