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DId needing a blood transfusion affect my breastfeeding ability?

(14 Posts)
MrsMoppetMama Tue 23-Apr-13 21:19:28

I have an amazing DD who is nearly 2. However, I'm thinking of TTC again and keep coming back to the problems we had with feeding.

After a two day labour and much prodding about and foreceps, she was born! This wasn't the birth I had planned! On top of this it turned out that I needed two blood transfusions the next day. The mws were brilliant and very supportive of bf, but after four days it seemed that DD was constantly hungry and not getting anything out of me. After a 5 HOUR feeding session one night I sobbed as I realised that she was about the wake up and want feeding again! There was nothing in there!
After trying in hospital we gave DD formula and she has been fine.

No one suggested that milk might be hard to come by after a loss of blood, I just wondered if anyone else had the same experience?

Yika Tue 23-Apr-13 21:29:01

I couldn't breastfeed initially - 5 days in hospital and not a single drop of milk came in. Had no idea why that might be, had no support while trying to feed my screaming hungry baby. I lost a lot of blood about 12 hours after the birth - not enough to need a transfusion but was very anaemic, needed iron supplements and couldn't stand up without feeling faint for about a week. Only later did I read something or was told that the anaemia was probably why I couldn't produce any milk. I was upset that no one in the hospital explained or supported me through it or gave me any advice on how to bridge the gap until my milk came in or what to do when it did.
It's also made me a bit intolerant of the 'anyone can breastfeed' brigade, but that's another story.

Mummabubbles Tue 23-Apr-13 21:32:36

My baby is 4 weeks old. We had a traumatic birth and I lost a lot of blood. I didn't need a transfusion but it was pretty close! My milk took longer than expected to come in and midwives told me that's quite common when mum has been through a trauma and lost a lot of blood. It was tough for a few days but the milk did eventually arrive!

Yika Tue 23-Apr-13 21:33:20

Ps I did go on to mix feed for 21 months but I never had enough milk to exclusively bf, even after breast pumping day and night for months on end. In many ways i would probably have done better to simply switch to formula right from the start.

hanahsaunt Tue 23-Apr-13 21:36:11

FWIW I had quite a traumatic birth with ds1 which included losing half my blood volume and requiring a transfusion as my iron levels plummeted over the course of 2-3 days. He was exclusively breastfed until I went back to work when he was 18wks and then mixed-fed with one bottle at lunch and the other 2 feeds from the breast. It can work so worth a shot?

stottiecake Tue 23-Apr-13 21:58:21

Hi there,

I had a blood transfusion 2 days after giving birth - 3 bags (units??)

I hadn't really got a clue how i was going to feed him before labour and didn't know where to start after. He didn't get his first drop of anything until the following morning - 18 hrs after he was born. A bfing advisor came to the bed and showed me how to express colostrum and I fed it to him with a syringe. Next she showed my how to get him latched on. Really flipping hard and agony for the following 5 months...

Anyhoo apart from the pain for me (due to tongue tie - diagnosed by me the drs were useless!) breastfeeding went well and he put on loads of weight very quickly (he was 9lb 7 at birth) and never lost weight even putting on weight - evident at his first weigh in in the week following his birth. His tongue tie resolved itself (he can now stick his tongue out!!) and bf-ing stopped being painful. He self weaned at 2.3 years as my milk ran out during my next pregnancy.

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 23-Apr-13 22:01:17

I had a huge pph (over 3.5 litres) and ended up in intensive care. I managed to breastfeed but was regularly asked if I'd consider formula to give myself a rest. I'd managed to feed the first so was fairly headstrong about it and luckily I do make milk easily. I think its quite common to have difficulties though - iron?

kritur Tue 23-Apr-13 22:08:27

I had a pph of 1.7 litres and am still bfing at 16 months, I refused a transfusion despite extremely low iron levels.

AuntieStella Tue 23-Apr-13 22:10:24

The hormone oxytocin which is vital to milk production travels in the blood. Having a transfusion during parturition will upset the levels of this hormone significantly, as your oxytocin rich blood was lost and would be replaced from ordinary stocks from people not experiencing a hormone surge. So yes, it will be harder to establish a supply, but not impossible. Frustrating as it is, keeping the baby at the nipple is the bet way to stimulate production.

Twattybollocks Wed 24-Apr-13 05:01:23

Yes, losing a lot of blood can delay your milk coming in, I've supported a lot of women from the day after they come home from hospital and I'd say that pph needing a transfusion often means their milk is a day or two later coming in than the usual day 3. A lot of them did go on to establish a full supply though, just slightly later. Many of them did use small formula top ups to get them through and avoid the high weight loss.

midori1999 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:49:46

Yes, losing blood can affect your milk supply/milk coming in/let down initially, but also a lot of what you describe is normal too, IMO.

I had a perfectly 'normal' birth with DD. Gas and air only, shortish labour, shortish second stage. All my births have been similar, although I had more drugs (diamorphine) with my first 3. My milk has never come in before day 4 or 5 and this, it seems, is normal for me.

I spent two days in hospital with DD where she was either on my breast or crying, she fed constantly almost. I felt like I had nothing there, but there were tiny drops of colostrum. I hadn't really expected anything like it and it was exhausting, but my milk did come in and we are still BF now, 22 months later and during another pregnancy.

Perhaps if you want to try to BF again you could ask to speak to the hospital feeding advisor after your baby is born so that they can check that everything is OK and that you are Ok and know what to expect. A baby going toilet in the first few days is a sign they are getting something, as is the meconium starting to change to a greenish colour, then yellow later on.

MB34 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:07:47

I had a pph and blood transfusion. My milk didn't come in until about day 5/6. Up until then I put DS on the breast whenever he wanted and I was expressing (from day 3) at every opportunity and giving this too. He did have 30mls of formula every now and again (max twice a day) - he lost 5% of birth weight at day 4 and was 2lb over his birth weight at day 10.

I wasn't really told either that it could affect my milk (I think one mw did mention it in passing but no big deal was made about it) but I had seen my sister struggle to feed her DS in the first few weeks (he lost over 10% and struggled to put it back on) not due to pph so I was ready to do anything I could to help DS put on weight.

DS is 5mo today and he's been ebf since 4 weeks so it is possible to continue bf after a pph if that's what you want. Saying that, although you may be at a higher risk of a pph next time, it doesn't mean that you will have one.

takeaway2 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:33:30

I had a 3 bag blood transfusion a few days after giving birth. Blood levels fell down to 6 or something.

My milk actually came in about day 4 or 5 (boobs rock hard!!) and I'm still feeding 2.6 years later. Trying to wean off now... That's another thread. grin

TheFalconsmistress Mon 29-Apr-13 16:07:56

I had 2 blood transfusions lost a lot of blood and my milk never came just didn't so i had to ff HV said the blood loss was most likely the reason i was very anemic before had too.

I have been taking iron this time to get my hg levels high enough in case of blood loss. However the stress and guilt of not being able to bf last time contributed to my pnd along with the obviously traumatic birth. So at 18 weeks pregnant with dc2 I am pretty sure im FF from the start this time tbh i would do anything not to get pnd again!!

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