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I have to stop breastfeeding, and I am really sad about it.

(8 Posts)
AngryByrd Thu 20-Mar-14 10:09:56

5 years ago, when I had my DS I wasn't able to breastfeed. There were problems and I happily went to bottle feeding. We bonded well and I don't consider myself any less for bottle feeding.

This time, with my new LO, I was able to establish breastfeeding and exclusively breastfed, my supply was fantastic and we both enjoyed the experience. However, my arthritis has become quite unbearable and my rheumatologist told me to stop. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and while breast feeding I also experience several rheumatic fevers throughout the day, which also increased my appetite and I started to retain the weight I should have been losing. (Due to other medical issues, I have to maintain a higher than average body weight to sustain my pregnancies, but must lose it quickly after.) I can safely only have one more child naturally and I need to lose quite a large amount of weight, only to put it back on during pregnancy.

So on Sunday, I stopped breastfeeding. My doctor has told me that I can go back to feeding her once I have lost enough weight, and have successfully cleared all the medications I have now been put on. He estimates however that it could take up to 4 months for me to lose this weight, and he cannot guarantee that I will not become ill again if I go back to breastfeeding. So far, I have been pain free since Monday and haven't had any fevers. My body is losing weight and physically I feel very well. Emotionally however, I am quite sad about not breastfeeding. Believe it or not, the idea of bfing used to repulse me until I had this baby.

Also, wont I lose my supply?

It's making me very sad. I miss holding my DD and feeding her. I still hold her to feed her with a bottle, but it's not the same.

sunshine1991 Thu 20-Mar-14 10:52:01

I hope some 1 comes along to make u feel better butci had to stop bf asweel was gutted even now i feel pang if sadness shes my first and last what i do now is lots of skin to skin and let her sleep on my chest during the day

tiktok Thu 20-Mar-14 11:18:02

What a difficult situation sad

Yes, of course you will lose your supply. A four month gap where there is no breastfeeding means the end of breastfeeding.....and it is a bit concerning your doctor seems not to have mentioned this. Some women might be able to bring their milk back but after four months this would be an enormous task - even if the baby cooperated, and most would take a lot of teaching and learning.

You would need to expressed 6-8 times every 24 hours to keep up a supply.

This is of course possible given enough time, but it is a difficult task...not one most people would want to take on. It would also have the same effect on your body as breastfeeding direct, so if there is something in breastfeeding that is making your condition worse, then there would be no advantage to you in expressing....you might as well continue feeding.

Is the doc worried about the effect of your meds on your milk? Is he thinking that the effects of the meds are extended because of your weight gain? It might be worth discussing this again.

www.nras.org.uk/about_rheumatoid_arthritis/living_with_rheumatoid_arthritis/relationships_pregnancy/breastfeeding_rheumatoid_arthritis.aspx is something to help you get a discussion going, and you can check out info on meds here toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT or by contacting the breastfeeding network's drugsline, which is also on facebook.

Hope you find a way to resolve all this.

AngryByrd Thu 20-Mar-14 12:17:21

My doctor told me that it would take 170 hours for the medicine to leave my system, and sadly the medicine would pass to my dd in my milk. Just the fact that this medication could potentially be toxic to her I don't feel safe breastfeeding her even when I'm done with the course of medication--I know that it's ended, there is no point to express, but I feel like if I continue to express and lose the weight and if the pain and fevers return I can live with it. The largest medical issue is my weight, once it resolves I desperately want to breastfeed again; I don't care soo much about the arthritis as it will never go away, I know my hands will twist and become claws, I know exactly how the prognosis will be.

Within myself however, I feel bereft over having to stop. I am upset that my body is fighting against my need to breastfeed. The milk is here, when I hold her she can smell it and pushes angrily towards my breasts.

I feel this predicament is far too cruel and I hate it.

tiktok Thu 20-Mar-14 13:02:09

sad sad

170 hours is a long half-life for any medication....but I am not qualified in this at all, and am just a breastfeeding counsellor who has read a bit about this sort of thing.

Please do seek further information on this, and share with your doc.

www.breastfeeding-and-medication.co.uk/index.html

www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-in-breastmilk.html

Try the Lact-med link I posted and put the name of your meds in it.

You need to consider that even if the meds do reach the breastmilk, what is their effect? Does the baby become harmed, or does the fact that the meds are taken into the stomach reduce their effect (because stomach acids destroy the active components....if your meds are injected, rather than taken orally, this might be a clue that the meds are ineffective if they're not injected).

I hope you find reassuring information.

Isabeller Thu 20-Mar-14 13:09:40

Is it possible to use a supplementer to feed at the breast and at the same time suppress your milk supply temporarily with medication? eg I've been told 'don't take lemsip as your milk supply will reduce drastically' and I'm guessing there's something that could be recommended by a lactation consultant.

tiktok Thu 20-Mar-14 13:17:43

No, that's not possible, Isabeller. Medication can dry up milk, but the only really effective meds able to do this have other unwanted side effects, and would only work if there was no 'counter stimulation' of the baby sucking.

Smerlin Thu 20-Mar-14 17:10:51

I have no advice to compare to Tiktok's but my one little addition is if you do end up having to stop and your milk dries up, your baby will soon forget and the anger will go. I was distraught when I couldn't feed my little one when I knew she could smell milk on me (I expressed for 3 months and bottle fed) but poor lamb probably wouldn't even realise a breast was for milk these days!

If you have the energy to express with a very good pump until you are able to feed again then that would keep your supply going- I was lucky and only needed to express 5 times every 24 hrs (including at about 4am though). It's a big commitment though if you are also just having to tip the milk away and as Tiktok said, would the baby remember how to go back on the breast at the end of it all?

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