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Lupus and Breastfeeding

Discussion in 'Living with lupus' started by DoulaMom, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. DoulaMom

    DoulaMom Registered

    Okay, I know this isn't exactly pregnancy related...

    I am curious about people's experiences with Lupus and breastfeeding. I have two boys, ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2, and had troubles breastfeeding them both. My first never did breastfeed because of a small mouth and latch problems, but I did pump breastmilk for him. I had problems with supply and could not seem to make enough milk no matter what we did. With my second I also had issues with establishing and maintaining a good supply (I don't think Raynaud's of the nipples helped any either!). When I asked my rheumatologist and Lactation Consultant if it might be because of the Lupus, they told me there just isn't enough information on Lupus and breastfeeding. The only information I can find on the issue is related to either medications and breastfeeding, or mentions that it may be too exhausting for the mother to breastfeed and to formula feed instead.
  2. Monica3

    Monica3 Registered

    Hi DoulaMom -

    I had my children before I was diagnosed with lupus, but I have my first and second short bouts with lupus about a year after each birth. Then it disappeared for 4 years before coming and staying this time.

    To get to your question, I had trouble with both children and latching on. With persistence, each eventually got the hang of it. I did not have a problem with milk supply, however. I think if the babies latch on properly, you will probably get more milk supply (probably some hormonal explanation there), but I know that some women just have trouble with milk supply, illness or not.

    Bless your heart with Raynaud's of the nipples--ugh! I wonder if the Raynaud's and lack of blood supply to the nipple effects milk supply to the nipple. Makes sense to me. If they are closed off for blood, how can the milk get there?

    Not sure that helped, but that was my experience.

    Come back again! Take care.

  3. dmarie

    dmarie Registered

    I had no problem breastfeeding both my children.

    My son did have trouble latching on in the hospital and the nurse took a baby bottle nipple and put it over my nipple and he was able to drink. The next feeding he did not need the bottle nipple.
  4. DoulaMom

    DoulaMom Registered

    I think with the Raynaud's, the LC thought that it was caused by a poor latch the first few days that led to damage in the nipple and then the Raynaud's. But, forever after I could not latch him on without wincing, even after it was better, so there may have been an emotional/psychological thing going on there. But it also seemed with both of them, that if I missed one feeding or pumping, my supply would drop and I could not get it back up no matter what I tried.

    I also had a flare after my first was born, I spent the first few weeks doubled over with arthritis mostly in my knees and hands. So that cannot have helped the situation either. It was probably a bit of everything, the flare, arthritis, hormonal changes and emotional stress that just didn't help with my supply.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, though!
  5. Maia

    Maia Registered

    I had some latch difficulties at first, and got a script for an all purpose nipple cream (had a mix of ingredients in it and helped a LOT). I stuck it out and she nursed for 2 years before I gave it up (she was only nursing 1-2 times a day towards the end of that time). I did not have supply problems when she was nursing, but it was extremely difficult for me to pump enough while at work for her to drink while she was at daycare. I ended up going to her during my lunch hour to nurse her and only taking one bottle there for the afternoon time. It is VERY common for women to not get enough out with a pump; but if the baby is nursing they do fine and can get plenty out. So I have to think that part of the supply issue for you was due to having to pump...

    In general, women are always concerned about supply and it's often cited for stopping breastfeeding. But if the baby is nursing and gaining weight and has enough wet diapers then perceived problems with supply usually are just that (perceived but not really a problem). Pumping and then feeding with a bottle... it's harder to maintain that and can be harder to know when the baby has had enough for a variety of reasons.

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