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Upset, have been told need to stop BF for medical reasons

(18 Posts)
EightiesChick Tue 14-Jul-09 00:24:33

My DS has just turned 6 months and I was so pleased to have exclusively BF'd him. It's gone really well so far so wanted to carry on for a while at least (I go back to work in 2 months' time). However I am osteopaenic (ie am heading for osteoporosis) and today was told my calcium levels are very very low, and that BF is not helping me so I should stop. Felt my consultant was pretty negative about BF but even so, I have mixed feelings about BF now and am upset about the whole thing. I have had severe back pain since giving birth, and haven't been able to carry my DS lots, walk him up and down to shush him etc, and had felt that BF was my big success as a new mum and now that has been spoilt.

Any advice would be helpful if anyone has been in this situation or knows much about it, but also I am just down now and looking for sympathy really blushsad

PortAndLemon Tue 14-Jul-09 00:36:21

I would be a bit dubious about this advice. Ann Prentice's research has shown that recovery of bone mineral density occurs BEFORE a baby is weaned from breastmilk. The recovery begins after the baby's diet begins to be supplemented with other foods, and by 12 months breastfeeding mothers have fully recovered their bone mineral density. So, in other words, if your DS is 6 months your bone density will be at its absolute lowest and should naturally improve over the next six months anyway, whether you stop breastfeeding or not (but I bet that if you do stop your consultant puts it down entirely to stopping breastfeeding).

This is interesting and has some good references.

lowrib Tue 14-Jul-09 01:20:05

La Leche League are the breastfeeding experts - I imagine they might have some useful info

lowrib Tue 14-Jul-09 01:24:58

My DS is about the same age as yours, I do sympathise it must be horrible to have that kind of decision made for you.

If it was me I'd seek other opinions before stopping.

ShrimpOnTheBarbie Tue 14-Jul-09 05:11:51

First of all, congratulations on BF your baby for 6 months! You have done a great job and it has been a fantastic success. It is normal for both pregnancy and BF to deplete your calcium stores slightly - and they will recover once you wean. I would definitely chat to someone at the La Leche League about this - it seems as if giving up altogether right now is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction - especially as at 6months old, I'm imagining you are about to start weaning your DS anyway?

esselle Tue 14-Jul-09 05:51:38

I had to stop BF my DD when she was 10mo as I was very ill with a neurological condition and had to take loads of nasty drugs.

At the time I felt so ill that I was beyond caring and for several weeks wasn't even really aware of who was even looking after her.

Once I recovered I felt very guilty for quite some time that DD had been changed onto formula and didn't see me very often for the 8wks I was in hospital. But I slowly began to realise that the 10mo I fed her (6 mo in your case) was a bloody good effort.

Please don't feel guilty if you need to stop feeding your DS, you have given him a brilliant start to life. To be the best Mum you can you need to take care of yourself. Having said that though do seek out a second opinion as it would be a shame if you stopped BF due to incorrect/bad advice.

I hope this is helpful and not too waffley!!

growingup Tue 14-Jul-09 07:02:00

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PrincessToadstool Tue 14-Jul-09 07:49:56

growingup do you really think telling someone to read of other peoples struggles in order to feel better is a good idea shock

I agree with your general sentiment, though.

LeonieSoSleepy Tue 14-Jul-09 07:54:27

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LeonieSoSleepy Tue 14-Jul-09 08:00:42

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LeonieSoSleepy Tue 14-Jul-09 08:03:38

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growingup Tue 14-Jul-09 08:30:32

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CMOTdibbler Tue 14-Jul-09 09:03:11

If you search here for bone density, there are links to a number of publications which show that although bone density decreases in the first 6 months of breastfeeding, by 18 months it returns to the prepregnancy level or higher.

It also seems that Fosamax is safe when bfing (although I'd ring the BfN Drugline for advice in detail), so that would be an option too

tiktok Tue 14-Jul-09 09:29:32

Nothing to add to the great links already posted on here - it is always a good idea to do your own research into the literature and discuss with other people whenever anyone says a mother should stop bf, because it is hardly ever the right, let alone the only, response to a situation.

EightiesChick, hope you get the opportunity to discuss this properly with someone who understands and supports your choice to continue breastfeeding.

tyotya Tue 14-Jul-09 10:16:43

Comment about risk to bones sounds like bollocks to me. My 1st wouldn't touch anything but breast milk for the first 9 months, so I had to carry on BF. But the 2nd got teeth at 6 months, so I stopped, and it never did him any harm. I think that it's OK to start weaning at 6 months.

EightiesChick Wed 15-Jul-09 16:58:11

Thanks everyone who has posted. All your replies have been helpful, as I really wanted to hear from people who understood why I was upset about this.

Leoniesosleepy, thanks for that link which was interesting. I haven't read yours yet CMOTdribbler but I will.

PortandLemon, the link you posted didn't work for me - I just got the Talk index page. Can you post it again, or maybe give the URL? Thanks.

To clarify, because I don't think I made this explicit, I was already osteopaenic - it is not being suggested that BF has caused this, but rather that it is making things worse. Another factor I forgot to mention at my appointment, because I got upset during it, was that I had to switch from my usual blood thinning drug to a safe one while TTC and pregnant; the only downside is that the alternative drug has a bad effect on bone density. (Ah, the joy of multiple health problems...) So now I am back on my usual drug, the effect of 18 months or so on the other one should start to be ameliorated, I hope. I don't think it would have helped to mention this to my consultant, though because she (yes, a woman, somehow particularly disappointing) seemed down on BF from the start. She actually said 'well, after 6 months it's just for you, he's had all the benefit from it now', and I decided not to even bother arguing as she clearly thinks that and won't be shifted. In hidnsight, though, I am thinking of raising it with PALS at the hospital. She doesn't seem to have a long-term treatment plan for me as such, just said she would want a bone scan done at 12 months to see if density is recovering. The 18 month finding is very interesting in that regard, so I might want to argue for another / an alternative scan at 18 months.

I am just starting to try solids with my DS but he is barely licking the spoon as yet. I am also going on a 3 week trip abroad, visiting family, within the next week, so I have decided that I will definitely continue to BF through this trip, as there will be so much other upheaval for DS I wouldn't want to remove the comfort of his usual feeding routine as well. Afterwards, I may consider mixed feeding and try to reduce the Bf but without giving it up altogether, depending on how well he is doing with solids. But I will certainly not rush into ditching BF immediately or completely or necessarily at all.

Thanks very much all of you. I am feeling better now, at any rate.

Duggie Wed 15-Jul-09 23:36:59

I too have got a similar dilemma (see my post on the health section on here) and totally sympathise. Whilst I was thinking of weaning soon anyway, it seems that the decision is being taken out of my hands and it is really upsetting. Glad you have decided to carry on for now and hope you get it sorted

thumbwitch Wed 15-Jul-09 23:44:23

eightieschick, can you get a second opinion from someone more open-minded? your consultant is a bit ignorant about the benefit of continuing bfing so may not be completely in the right about everything else either.

Are you on vitamin/mineral supplements? They might help; also, if you are exclusively bfing now perhaps consider going to mixed feeding rather than stopping the bf'ing altogether.

for you - although I initially thought I would be stopping bfing at 6m, I have gone one and would have hated to stop perforce at that point. Hope you find a way through it (and you too Duggie)

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