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Not allowed to breastfeed due to medication

(23 Posts)
Firstpregnancy123 Mon 16-Jun-14 19:51:42

I've developed ventricular tachycardia during pregnancy (i'm 25 weeks at the moment) and having to take beta blockers and other medicine. Doctor has said coming off them is not an option and said I can't breastfeed on the medicine. I'm really fed up about it and all the websites just make it worse. There is tons of advice about breastfeeding but I can't find any for if you can't. Everything emphasises how women should breastfeed as if we all have the choice. And formula milk looks like a complete nightmare especially straight after the birth with the advice that you have to make it fresh every time the baby wants feeding. I was wondering if I might be able to get donor milk and how this might work. Would help to hear from others with similar experiences/ ideas.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 16-Jun-14 19:56:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 16-Jun-14 19:58:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CMOTDibbler Mon 16-Jun-14 19:59:42

The Breastfeeding Network have a helpline you can call to check whether you can bf while taking medication - here

Messygirl Mon 16-Jun-14 20:02:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BobPatandIgglePiggle Mon 16-Jun-14 20:03:48

I fed on beta blockers and my ds reacted horribly to them. He ended up on icu. I'd been told they were safe and my research shows that they usually are. Not for ds though - he was in the tiny percentage that can't cope with them.

Hard as it is, if the advice is no then it's no for very good reasons.

crikeybadger Mon 16-Jun-14 20:04:43

Hi there,
The first thing I'd suggest is that you double check about the medication. It's not rare to be told that the medication is not compatible with breastfeeding, when it is actually ok. The best person to check with is Wendy Jones at the Breastfeeding Network. You may have already gone down this route, but just in case you haven't it's worth a second opinion because there aren't many medications that don't work with breastfeeding.

Regarding donor milk, you could look on a website called human milk 4 human babies. It's an informal milk sharing group where mums offer or ask for donor milk.

NotQuiteCockney Mon 16-Jun-14 20:08:49

Yes, please email Wendy. Her email address is If you give the name of the drug, and the dose you are on, she should be able to talk you through your options.

strawberryjam Mon 16-Jun-14 20:09:35

Poor you, episodes of VT must be and scary. FF is not the end of the world especially when it means your baby has a healthy mum, however, the pharmacist with the BFN is amazing and gives sound advice about medication and breastfeeding and has helped me work out my meds for arthritis to allow me to bf all being well.

purplemurple1 Mon 16-Jun-14 20:09:35

I knew would only be able to bf for a limited time due to medication, as it turned out ds failed to thrive on breastmilk so swapped to formula even sooner.

Honestly for me I think bf is over sold in the western world where we can afford formula and have fresh water. Yes it reduces some things such as allergies,maybe increases iq etc but that is across whole populations you can apply those stats to your individual child. Its been shown to increase risk of asthma yet that never seems to be advertised. In my experience the peads did not care at all how ds was fed just that he was well.

Practical side - you could buy ready made for the early days ( you cam even get it in disposable bottles).
You can also make up milk for 12hrs in advance. make as per the box instructions, cool quickly and put in the refrigerator. Or you could use say 1 oz boiling water, add 3scoops of milk powder,then top up with 2 oz of preboiled cold water. This gives ready to use bottles so you don't have to wait while it cools.

I'm not in the UK but so don't know how milk banks work, could you check with the hospital you're likely to give birth in?

NotQuiteCockney Mon 16-Jun-14 20:10:41

Oh, and this book has some interesting information. Beta blockers seem to vary a great deal, in how much information is available on breastfeeding, and in how much they pass through in your milk.

Firstpregnancy123 Mon 16-Jun-14 20:58:57

Thanks all for replies so far. I'll definitely try Wendy and stay hopeful. I'm on bisoprolol which is the beta blocker and flecanide which is an anti- arrhythmia drug. Thanks also for advice on formula. It's my first baby so I really don't know what to expect.

MrsSpencerReid Mon 16-Jun-14 21:04:16

I really hope you manage to find some bf friendly drugs but if you don't I highly recommend the ready made formula for the first few days, so much easier when baby wants an oz or two here an there! After that I made 2 or 3 at once and flash cooled, I was aware of the risks and happy to do it this way, perhaps not for everyone but I think this is the way the who says is ok if you can't make as needed, hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well, I was tachycardic at the end of my last pregnancy, luckily didn't need medication but spent a lot of time in and out of a&e/ hospital! Not fun hmm good luck smile

ShoeWhore Mon 16-Jun-14 21:04:25

OP hope you can get some good advice from Wendy. I also know women who've been told by a GP they can't bf while taking X when in fact there are more options.

BUT remember your baby also needs a healthy mum. I am very pro-bf but you know if you can't because of this medication then that's OK. You also need to manage your condition so you are well enough to do all the other things your baby needs. Loads of babies are FF and thrive on it. (Including me lol)

fledermaus Mon 16-Jun-14 21:08:18

I looked up your drugs on Lactmed - - and it seems like there is not much info on either and breastfeeding.

If you do need to formula feed, I would definitely used ready made initially as it will be much easier and also safer for a newborn, as the ready made liquid is sterilised.

If you do use powdered then the advice for making it up is here

It's safest to make each bottle up fresh, cool it and feed immediately, but if you want/need to make them in advance there are instructions on that page too.

onceipopicantstop Mon 16-Jun-14 21:20:37

Hi I wanted to breastfeed but wasn't able to. It hasn't been as difficult or complicated using formula as I had expected. I would highly recommend getting a tommee tippee perfect prep machine. It's amazing and makes feed prep so much easier.

Also I agree there is very little advice around for formula feeding - it's all about breastfeeding. I bought a great book from Amazon called Top Tips for Bottle Feeding by Clare Byam-Cook. It wasn't very expensive and answered all the questions I had.

Hope that helps!

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Jun-14 23:01:23

I have a history of SVT. I was on bisoprolol before TTC and came off it when trying for a baby. I ended up going back on it when I was 20 weeks pregnant due to tachycardia, palpitation and erratic heart rhythms.

I am still on bisoprolol and am breast feeding my 12 week old baby. Nobody has ever told me I can't breast feed and DS is fine.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 17-Jun-14 21:07:45

I have just emailed the BFN for clarification about the Bisoprolol. I'm concerned now that I'm causing harm to DS hmm

Writerwannabe83 Wed 18-Jun-14 18:04:26

I have had a response from the BFN who had no concerns about my son being breast fed.

She said the only concern is that it can cause low blood sugars at birth but that tends to only be a risk to mothers with pre-eclampsia and smaller babies anyway.

She said that the opinion of a Cardiologist can sometimes be based on how 'breast feeding friendly' they personally are as opposed to being based around medical knowledge/facts.

HoleySocksBatman Wed 18-Jun-14 18:40:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

weebarra Wed 18-Jun-14 18:46:16

Check out the links that pp have posted. It's not so bad if you can't bf though. I fed DS2 till he was 2, but was diagnosed with cancer when DD was 8 weeks, so had to stop. Chemo drugs really aren't compatible with bfing!
I would also recommend ready made formula, much less of a faff!

Adamsapple Wed 18-Jun-14 19:06:54

I was diagnosed with postpartum cardiomyopathy when my Ds was 2 weeks old I was prescribed a cocktail of drugs including bisoprolol. The consultant told me I would have to stop bf straight away.
At the time, I was more upset about stopping bf than the diagnosis.
A brilliant bf nurse researched the drugs and reassured me that it was safe to continue, which I did for 19 months.
As I understand it, drug companies dont test drugs on pregnant/bf women - so they can't categorically state that its safe. This doesn't mean its unsafe.

Wishing you good luck

DinoSnores Wed 18-Jun-14 22:02:04

"Its been shown to increase risk of asthma yet that never seems to be advertised."

purplemurple1, I'd be keen to see the evidence of your statement here as I think you are wrong (which would explain why it is not "advertised".

I can find a Daily Mail article ( that does its usual job of mangling scientific research based on this paper

Anything I have found in more reputable medical journals shows that there is no increased risk, and usually a decreased risk, of asthma with breastfeeding. (meta-analysis showing that BFing protects against asthma/wheezing) (no relation between breastfeeding and asthma) (Breastfed children had lower prevalence of asthma and rhinitis, but not eczema, than non-breastfed children.)

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