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Breast milk and toddlers...
opaloctober wrote in parenting101
Sorry if this is an inappropriate question here, but I don't think i'm a member of the Breastfeeding community anymore....

So i'm pregnant, 30 weeks, and will be having baby in 9 weeks (induced). I plan to try and breastfeed, even though it didn't go well with DD #1. I tried and tried, and my milk never properly came in, and then when it did I tried (and failed) to relactate. Finally, a local IBCLC and my Dr found out that it's because of my meds that effects my milk supply. Not sure what i'm going to do about that, because I HAVE to be on these meds, but that's another post LOL If I succeed, and manage to have a decent supply this time around, I would like to exclusively breastfeed until 5 or so months. I feel really guilty that I didn't give DD #1 her best start and was only able to breastfeed the first 3 months, so I was wondering if it would be weird (or even beneficial at this point) to give her breastmilk after DD #2 is born? When DD #2 is born, DD #1 will be 21 months. Has anyone ever heard of this, or is it silly?

If you have supply problems, it would be wise to focus on giving every last drop you can to the baby. If you have excess milk, then sure go ahead and give some to the toddler. My toddler hangs around when I pump because I always give her a sip when I'm transferring the milk into bags for the freezer. I've given her some in her sippy when I've defrosted too much, or forgotten to freeze some.

I agree. The toddler doesn't need the breastmilk, but the newborn definitely does.

Are you planning to give your toddler breastmilk in a cup/bottle or to try to get her to learn to re-latch and nurse her directly? In the case of the former, I don't see any harm in it. In the case of the latter, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. I tandem nursed two kids (my oldest was 15 months when my second was born, but she never stopped nursing), and it was fine and definitely the right thing for us to do, but it was really hard at times, and I wouldn't really encourage someone to re-teach their child how to nurse after they've been weaned. Toddlers forget how to latch and it would probably be more painful than having your newborn nurse! It was significantly more painful for me to nurse the toddler... and it was also kind of a logistical nightmare trying to fit two people in a very limited space sometimes (though much of the time, I was nursing them separately, not tandem-tandem at the same time, ya know?). But if you're pumping and have enough for the baby and then some, might as well let the toddler try it. She may or may not like it, but there are the antibody benefits, which would be great, and probably a hojillion other benefits that I'm not thinking of off the top of my head. Anyway... good luck with whatever you decide.

No no...DD is way past nursing and by then she'll be past her baba too. I just meant in her sippy, like you would regular milk.

What medications exactly are you on? There are a few medicines that legitimately effect milk supply, but knowing in advance is a great tool.

Remember, it wasn't JUST your medication that made your supply fail last time. You had surgery when your baby was under a month old and didn't nurse or pump at all for a week. That's pretty much a death sentence for breastmilk, and its likely that even with a medication that limits supply, you could've maintained yours for longer by following standard breastfeeding practices.

I hope you have continued to learn about breastfeeding and how it works, since I know you want this so bad for your baby. The supply/demand relationship is absolutely critical to a milk supply. For the first 2-4 months, you should not go longer than ~4 hours between nursing/pumping sessions. You will likely find you are nursig far more frequently (read: damn near constantly). It's very important to feed on demand so your body knows what the baby requires. If you skip feedings/pumping, your milk supply reduces, quickly.

If you're really set on nursing #2, I highly recommend you read (or re-read) The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. In addition, you should attend monthly LLL Meetings before and after your baby is born. If I recall correctly, there is a group within 40 minutes of where you live (unless you have moved). It will be seriously worth your drive.

Do you have your husband's (and families') support this time around? This is also very important as you'll need him to assist by bringing you water/food, assisting with a few extra diaper changes, etc.

Having support is the #1 thing my fellow LLL members credit for saving their breastfeeding relationships. If you don't have that in yor family again this time around, going to a support group like LLL will be absolutely essential. Though, in your case, I'd call it essential regardless.

As others have said, your expressed milk will have health benefits for Taryn, but it is probably best to focus your supply and breastmilk entirely to yor new baby first. Also, breastmilk changes composition as a child ages, so while newborn breastmilk won't harm Taryn (and would have benefits), it will not be made up the same as breastmilk a mom makes for a still nursing toddler. You may find the expressed breastmilk will make her stool quite soft, too.

Good luck, from the bottom of my heart, I hope this time you are able to accept advice with grace and trust those on Lj who are giving you solid advice on how to make your wish to breastfeed actually come true.

Please excuse typos. Long iPhone comments are tricky.

Oh BTW, the meds i'm on are Geodon, Celexa, and Nexium. I need to go back on my Lyrica for my fibro, but I got off when we started TTC the 2nd time.

Ok, the LactMed app doesn't allow me to copy/paste, but here's what I found:

Geodon- Prolactin elevation and galactorrhea. This means it makes you produce more of the chemical (prolactin) that makes breastmilk, meaning it can actually increase your supply. Galactorrhea means it can cause spontaneous lactation in non-pregnant/non-nursing mothers. It has no risks to infants.

Celexa- has shown in studies to possibly cause a delay in lactation of 16 hours, meaning your milk could take longer to come in. This should be no problem as long as you work extra hard in the beginning to make sure ou let the baby latch as frequently as possible. Long term results include an increase in prolactin, which is the chemical that causes milk production. That means this drug will actually increase your supply. Some mothers reported their infants to be slightly drowsy, but there were no adverse health risks or weight issues, making this drug considered safe for infants.

Nexium- this drug has actually been found to cause galactorrhea, which, again, eans spontaneous lactation in some women who were not pregnant or nursing. Therefore, it should actually increase your milk supply. The amount of this drug that gets through milk to the infant is less than the dosage an infant would be prescribed, so it is perfectly safe.

None of them should cause any supply issues for any reason.

I couldn't find Lyrica in the app, which is strange. Do you know if it has a generic name?

The generic to Lyrica is pregabalin.

Ah, thanks. Sadly the LactMed app has very little info about pregabalin, and suggests using an alternative for newborns due to lack of research (but says it is okay for older nursings). Perhaps Hale's will have more relevant info.

Thanks for that info!! Yes, the nurse said that the celexa would make DD drowsy, and it definitely did. This was really useful! As for the Lyrica, I don't think it has a generic, so i'm not sure about the name.

How do you know it was the Lyrica? It's normal for babies to be drowsy. It's impossible to say what was causing it.

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I have been on Celexa and Nexium throughout pregnancy and my baby has been breastfed since birth. He's now 10 months, still breastfeeding, and I didn't have any supply issues at all. I was supplementing with Fenugreek in the beginning and also eating oatmeal for breakfast every day while I was still building supply, so for the first 3 months or so.

I have been told specifically that Lyrica is not safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding. I have Fibromyalgia, too, and after my babe was born and the relaxin from pregnancy wore off, it was terrible. Basically, they haven't done enough research on it to be sure of the affects, but they have shown that it does cross the placenta.

I agree that you should make the newborn your focus when it comes to breastmilk. It is precious those first few months, and beyond, but if you have an excess in supply then there's nothing to stop you supplementing your toddler with it! It can only do good :)

Yeah, seriously. One of Geodon's side effects is lactation in women who aren't nursing and haven't been pregnant. When I was on it, I leaked even though I'd never had a baby.

Also, FYI, you are still a member of breastfeeding. I would suggest you look through and read some applicable tags.

Edited at 2012-11-08 03:42 am (UTC)

Agreed x1000

OP, you were given some great advice in the breastfeeding community that should have helped but I don't think anyone knows if you tried any of it or not. Did you get a nursing pillow like the community suggested? Did you see an IBCLC to correct the baby's latch in the early days? Did you try to contact your area's LLL for support? Did you try to nurse on demand instead of supplementing? Did you use an alternative to bottles when you did supplement?

From what I remember, you were supplementing with bottles of formula from day 1 and pumping. That is not good for your milk supply. It hurts your milk supply and it can cause nipple confusion / bottle preference. You also had surgery and didn't pump or nurse for a week and a half during that time. Also very bad for your milk supply.

I think instead of just blaming your medication, you need to read more about how to establish and maintain a good milk supply. I agree with designingdreams in saying you should (re)read "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding". Read it cover to cover before your baby is born. Visit your local LLL *before* your baby is born and get some in-person support and some contacts to reach out to when your baby is born. Have an IBCLC ready to contact when your baby is born. Smack your husband upside the head and get him to do the housework and toddler-parenting while you and the new baby are learning to breastfeed together.

I still have my copy of the womanly art, and plan to re-read it. I have the support of frinds, but not much family. My mom didn't BF me, and she wasn't breastfed herself. My mom isn't against breastfeeding, but she's not really an advocate either. My hubby was sort of supportive last time, he helped me pump a lot, but as for nursing, he wasn't much help because he didn't have a clue LOL I am delivering at a different hospital this time, but the same OB, and hopefully they have better breastfeeding resources than the hospital Taryn was born at.
Thanks so much for your help :)

In terms of family support, your mom and husband don't have to know HOW to pump or latch. There are several ways to offer support in which they have nothing to do with the actual breastfeeding.

Some examples include:
Bringing you meals/water
Folding laundry
Cleaning up the house
Cooking and doing dishes
Watching the toddler/taking her to the park
Letting you sleep in in the mornings since you'll be tired from overnight nursing sessions
Etc.

In your position, I would recommend talking to your husband, mom, and anyone else who plays a major role in your children's lives. Let them know that breastfeeding is very important to you this time around, and in order to be successful, these are the kinds of things they can do to help you out while you focus entirely on establishing your breastfeeding relationship. I know your husband has been less than supportive in the past about helping with housework and child-rearing, but it will make a world of difference for you if he can step in and take on some of these tasks, even if only for a short while. As a breastfeeding mom, your full-time job will be to establish your breastfeeding relationship to make sure Teyla is getting as much milk as she needs, as frequently as she needs it. Expect to spend a TON of time sitting on the couch and nursing. Let your husband know ahead of time that this is what is necessary at first, so he knows what to expect and doesn't just think you're being lazy. It won't be that way forever, but at first, that is what it takes to succeed.

As an anecdote, my 23 month old drank some pumped breastmilk yesterday and did not like the taste, lol. He never breastfed (I had supply issues, but I think mostly I didn't try hard enough. But... That is in the past), so I wonder if he just was unfamiliar with it.

Possibly not... my toddler nursed until the say before her sister was born. (Weaned cold turkey, her choice :( )

A month later, she had the sniffles, was hanging around when I finished pumping, so I offered her a little bit. She took a sip, made a face, and refused to drink more!

I gave my oldest (they were 15 months apart) breastmilk in a cup after my 2nd was born. He loved it and it really helped his immune system. I felt guilty as well since I only nursed him until he was 10 weeks old. But, it all worked out. You can't change what you did, but giving that goodness is good.

On a different note, about the breastmilk, have you heard of placentophagy? It's basically taking your placenta after birth and getting the benefits of it. The best way is encapsulation. I am on meds that also effect my supply so this is a great way to help that. I'm also 30 weeks pregnant. It really helps with the breastmilk supply as well as a bunch of other benefits. Just thought I would mention it.

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