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PCOS and breastfeeding - could kick myself, and several other people

(21 Posts)
choosyfloosy Fri 25-Sep-09 22:08:53

Farking NORA! Following a comment from someone on here, I have followed up the whole PCOS affecting milk supply thing. Well, it's clearly not an open and shut case yet, but plenty of evidence there that it may cause problems. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR to the vast, huge, panoply of doctors, midwives and breastfeeding counsellors I saw who never once mentioned it as a possible issue.

I am sorry to say this on a thread where newborn babies may be present, but FUCK ALL OF YOU for your lack of help 5 years ago and thank you for not suggesting that I might have a condition that might warrant a trial of Metformin etc. Serves me right for being proud of taking responsibility for my own health and not bothering the doctor with PCOS issues once I'd been diagnosed. Wish I'd been at the surgery every bloody day.


choosyfloosy Fri 25-Sep-09 22:19:12

blush sorry shouty insults are to the HCPs not to nice MN people who did help me.

calming down now...

SarfEasticated Fri 25-Sep-09 22:32:31

what happened? If you can bear to talk about it of course? I had PCOS and breastfeeding didn't work for us, lots of other factors could have been to blame though in our instance. AND i think there are all sorts of different types of PCOS, i had the-no-probs-with periods-but-was-hairy kind - win win eh hmm !

choosyfloosy Fri 25-Sep-09 22:47:40

well it's a long time ago so i should be fine with it now

what happened was really.... nothing. no increase in breast size during pregnancy - i wonder if that's common in women with PCOS. had a very quick straightforward birth and ds and i started faffing about with breastfeeding, and looking back neither of us was much good at it. poor ds was jaundiced, not enough to stay in hospital but enough to make him so sleepy during the day... then at night he would feed and feed, 45 mins on 5 mins off, 45 mins on 5 mins off, all night. nearly killed me.

i tried 2 different breastpumps and would pump away for 30 mins, in that time i would JUST about be able to cover the bottom of a bottle. but lots of women apparently don't produce much on a pump, it's not like a baby.

i had professional after professional give me completely different advice. i kept thinking we were getting somewhere because he would fall asleep after his marathon feeds... he must have been knackered. then at 4 weeks he started losing weight. and he was still jaundiced after a few days my gp sent us to hospital and we stayed for a couple of nights; lots more advice; and we started topping up. the difference in him was striking. i carried on mixed feeding for another 4 months, and for some time tried to increase the breastmilk element, but he started losing weight again and i just gave up.

none of it is exactly unusual, and there were lots of factors that helped me not succeed - the jaundice being one of them, and the really relentless negativity of my mother about breastfeeding. But that's another thing - I am sure my mother had/has PCOS and her breastfeeding history was very like mine.

So I'll never know - but how i wish somebody, preferably during pregnancy, had mentioned PCOS as a possible complicating factor and suggested an option or two.

choosyfloosy Fri 25-Sep-09 22:51:17


what happened in your case Sarf?

I'm hairy too, and no problems with periods now, although I missed a few just before I was diagnosed. Am overweight too.

Squiglet Fri 25-Sep-09 23:04:34

I never knew it could affect and been told i cant take metformin whilst breastfeeding as risk of hypo. (need the metformin for the PCOs as ttc #3 and helps). So am still bfing and not metformin. Have you any links as would like to read up.

sfxmum Fri 25-Sep-09 23:08:54

I do have PCOS but breastfeed for over 2yrs despite initial problems which I don't really think were attributable to PCOS

but then again it is one of those conditions were people fall at different points in the spectrum and affects women in different and individual ways

am sorry for problems you had
I could never really pump much to start with and it was hard to establish breastfeeding, I think it took me a good 4-6 wks but then the supply was quite good

SarfEasticated Fri 25-Sep-09 23:12:32

similar actually, pregancy was normal, never got morning sickness and nipples never changed. DD born at 37 weeks by ventouse after I had an epidural, got jaundice on day 2, sleepy, couldn't be arsed to bf, lost weight, readmitted to hospital, cup fed, she would never latch on to me, would always just turn her head away after first suck, even if there was milk in her mouth, very weird, so I gave her formula and pumped a couple of oz each day. Kept going to cafes etc and one day when she was 3 months old she did latch on and fed for an hour, but then was starving 20 mins later.

It really took me months to get over not bf'ing her, but I am ok now and she'll be 2 on Sunday.

in hindsight I think that the following was to blame in order of culpability (wink )

1. I didn't know what I was doing (my ma couldn't do it either), no-one to sit with me for the first few days to help me with latch, position, what is normal etc

2. The epidural/jaundice made her sleepy coupled with
3. The fact my nipples weren't big enough

I spent a lot of time on Kellymom in the early months so knew about PCOS and milk supply, but I don't think that could have really been it for me. I like to think that if I had known the basics of bf'ing and what was normal, I could have got things sorted earlier.

Did you know that there is a special PCOS diet?
sorted one of my mates out a treat.

Must go to bed now, but will check in on you tomorrow


BetterBitOfButter Fri 25-Sep-09 23:13:22

I have never heard about this before (have PCOS had terrible problems with milk supply tried everything to increase). My PCOS had been diagnosed for about 8 years before DS and not one health professional ever mentioned it may affect breastfeeding. Ill informed wasters

sfxmum Fri 25-Sep-09 23:16:22

dd was jaundiced as well and we had a rocky start
and for me definitely a diet based on Low GI principles works

tiktok Fri 25-Sep-09 23:35:03 - indicates that metformin is not necessarily a no-no when bf.

PCOS seems to have an effect on some women, and on others no effect at all.

choosyfloosy Sat 26-Sep-09 22:09:28

yeah, even if it is a factor, it's only one of many. and probably if i had been told by HCPs with furrowed brows that it could be a problem, and bf had not worked out, i would have blamed them for placing a negative vibe on me grin

i can still feel those days though, the helplessness of not knowing why it wasn't working and not knowing what to do.


Squiglet Sat 26-Sep-09 22:35:04

Thank you for the link. I will be speaking to fertility consultant next week grin She was of the opinion that i would be risking ds with a hypo. HE is 21 months old and feeding 3/4 times a day.

Heated Sat 26-Sep-09 22:44:17

Wsan't until reading a change comment on here, and after 2 failed attempts at bf, that I found out thyroid problems can cause probs with supply - took nearly 8 days for my milk to come in and it was a pitiful amount. Not once did any medical person mention this to me as a possible cause.

Choosyfloosy, I'll match your grrrrrrr with an arghhhhhhhh

frekkles Sun 27-Sep-09 11:51:48

hey. I have pcos, have had since I was 14 and am a classic case, overweight all my life, hairy, no periods majority of the time. It took me following the PCOS diet for a year and losing 4 stone to get pregnant (accidently ironically).

I have breastfed my 5 month ds exclusively so far. He started out at 50th centile and now has dropped to the bottom of the ninth. He's a slim baby. He feed every hour and a half to two hours. I have had worries about my supply the whole time. My ds was jaundiced, and my milk took 8 days to come in. Only experienced slight engorgement. My periods came back at 6 weeks. I never leak, feel a let down, have hard or full feeling breasts. I can't express much milk. I can go hours between feeding on the few occassions I've not been with him without leaking or needing to express. When I'm on my period he is fussy and windy.

I think I have adequate milk supply, but not an ample milk supply. I've done a little research about this and all the above can be attributed to PCOS. I'm also feeling rubbish because although prenancy didn't cause me to put on all the weight I lost, breastfeeding and the last 5 months has. I've put on 2 stone since I had the baby, depite following weight watchers for the last month. I'm eating exactly the amount of points for an exclusively breastfeeding women of my weight and walking an hour atleast every day, and still putting on a pound or two every week rather than losing it. I wonder whether this has anything to do with my PCOS too.

Trouble is no health proffesional ever knows anything about PCOS in my experience. Certainly the HV, the doctors and even the LLL and NCT breast feeding lines have been clueless. So I'm just doing what I've always had to do with my PCOS, research and deal with it myself.

So I've decided to take a supplement of the more milk from the breastfeeding heaven website and also just pay alot of attention to my supply by drinking lots, resting lots, pumping in between nursings and nursing frequently until ds is ready to wean. I just hope he starts to put on weight again. I so don't want to have to stop breastfeeding, but i'll be damned if my PCOS effects his health like it has always effected mine.

thedollshouse Sun 27-Sep-09 12:00:45

Choosy, I had no idea.

Reading your story I experienced very similar with ds. I am pregnant again and it took a while to conceive, I was showing classic signs of PCOS and was awaiting a referral but got pregnant in the meantime.

My breasts didn't change size at all during pregnancy or after ds was born, ds's latch was fine but he refused to suck, when I expressed I couldn't get any milk. My instincts told me that I was producing very little milk, I never had a fullness in my breasts or felt my milk coming in. I couldn't speak to anyone about it because as soon as you say that you don't feel you have enough milk the shutters go down and nobody wants to listen. This has got me worried as I was hoping I would be able to breastfeed this baby.

sfxmum Sun 27-Sep-09 17:15:10

I think that when it comes to PCOS a lot of gynaecologists are clueless for proper help you need to be referred to a specialist team, few and far between, with an endocrinologist on board

worth looking at syndrome X

choosyfloosy Sun 27-Sep-09 20:25:53

Oh God dollshouse I'm sorry. [guilt] at starting this thread - look at what tiktok says - it's by no means a problem for everyone, every time.

AitchTwoToTangOh Sun 27-Sep-09 20:34:21

yep, choosy, same thing happened to me. although i went to a bfing specialist and she said that she often sees pcos patients with problems (and solves a lot of those problems, mark you). it appears that it can make things more marginal, certainly, the bfing counsellor said to me something like that during puberty, there's a flood of testosterone and that can prevent there being enough milk producing tissue being laid down when breasts are developing. i stress it was something like that, i can't exactly remember. but yes, for me, no breast growth at all during pregnancy or afterwards. some hardness, very occasionally, but no leakage and no let-down.

mind you, i was also on beta blockers and the bfing woman said that anecdotally she also had a lot of patients on them as well. ho hum. we tried, we couldn't do it, it's not the making of us as mothers. smile

llareggub Sun 27-Sep-09 20:45:48

It is so random though. I have PCOS and really struggled to establish breastfeeding first time around and never managed exclusive breastfeeding. DS fed until 2.9 though. I never leaked and never needed breast pads.

This time around it is so different. I leak a lot, DS2 is exclusively bf at 5 months and there have been no problems.

I take metformin, and have done for years and continued through both pregnancies. I've also lost a LOT of weight and wondered if that has improved the worst of my PCOS symptoms.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sun 27-Sep-09 21:13:59

Hey - come and join us here . It's been inactive for a while but plenty to peruse. THB and PCOS often crossover but not necessarily (I have the former but not, as far as I know, the latter). May I join you in a big FUCK YOU too all the people who saw my weirdy boobs while I was struggling to feed a skinny undernourished baby and never said a fucking word. Of course I expect they didn't know but that's worse. Fucking HCPs, especially midwives and HVs, should know this stuff!

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