Breastfeeding Stories - Breastfeeding with Colitis
I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 14 and after 6 years of getting ill (every 3 months after I stopped smoking) I went onto an immunosuppressant – Imuran.
It is known that this medication is not harmful to the foetus during pregnancy but (understandably) little or no research is available regarding breastfeeding. There are a few case studies of people with kidney transplants on the same meds breastfeeding anyway and the babies being ok but for me a few case studies were just not good enough.
There is also evidence about that breastfeeding helps protect against colitis – I wasn’t breastfed as my mum couldn’t do it due to other meds she was taking and since my dad has colitis (and so there’s a genetic link) I wanted to give ds the best chance that he wouldn’t get it too.
So, at 31 weeks pregnant, I came off my meds only to relapse 3 weeks before my EDD. I was so ill and tired towards the end that I had to have an epidural during the labour as I had no self-control over the contractions. However, ds came out and latched on straight away and sucked for 20 mins each side!
In the hospital a lactation consultant came around and showed me how to get a good latch – brilliant because I was doing it wrong before! However, my right side nipple is very flat and we had A LOT of problems when I got home. Resorted to using shields during the night as I was just so edgy and stressed with it but when ds got a bit older he learnt how to latch perfectly.
I was making too much milk at the start (or it was just coming out too fast) and ds was choking on it – he still does now mainly because he sucks so hard – he drains me in 7-10 minutes and has enough from one side to go 3 hours between feeds. He has only just started sleeping through at night.
We still have days where he screams at my nipples for no reason, days when he takes expressed breast milk from the bottle and not from me, he got a major tummy ache when he was 4 weeks old because I drank citrus and he gets bad skin whenever I do! At the start I was tempted to go to formula as he wasn’t sleeping through (still isn’t really) but the nurses convinced me not to. But I LOVE breast feeding and am really going to miss it when I have to stop when ds is 6 months. I have to stop because I cannot stay off my medication for any longer than this – I have to be on prednisolone in the meantime which long-term can cause my bones to stop forming properly and also is just not as good at preventing me from relapsing.
However, due to the great help with the nurses and support on various websites, I will be able to give ds 6 months of liquid gold and I’m so happy for that!
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