IVF and Weaning

How, when and why to introduce foods other than breastmilk
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mochinbach
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IVF and Weaning

Post by mochinbach » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:22 pm

Hi Everyone,

I'm writing this for two reasons: advice and the need for some motivation!

My LO was an IVF baby and so will his future brothers and sisters be too. I'm having a wonderful time breastfeeding him. We're both really enjoying it and have a fabulous relationship. He's 10.5 months old now and on solids too (baby lead weaned). I've taken the baby led method for everything. He chooses when he wants milk and he chose when he wanted to start solids. The bad news is, although I'd love him to choose when he stops breastfeeding, i've been told by my dr that if I want to conceive his brother or sister I have to stop. :(

I don't want to. I wanted to tandem feed him and his little brother/sister, but it seems I have little choice.

My LO loves food and eats a lot so I'm not worrying about him starving. In fact, I suspect that my baby led approach has meant that he associates sleep with feeding and, usually, when he's asking for milk, he's actually asking to go to sleep. Nothing wrong with that, unless you have to stop the milk! eik!

I spoke to a great ABA councillor about slowly withdrawing the breast at feeds (particularly at night...I can walk him in the day unil he sleeps in the pram) and I have been feeding him until he's sleepy and then removing the breast. He struggles occasionally (and is often clever enough to snatch it back!) but he has started to slowly understand that 20 min night feeds are a no go.

But I don't like it! and I know that I'm not being strict enough! It doesn't feel like we're making much progress. He's had a bad week last week. We both did, he was awake every 2 hours (very unusual for him he usually only wakes for one feed and sometimes not at all - woot!) I gave up and just fed him to sleep again. It feels a little like I've got to start again. I'm sure that's normal and I have to be patient but It's hard when I love feeding him so much!

I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips, hints etc. How could I change the routine so that his Dad can take over some nights? Is that too ambitious or is that the best thing to do... he doesn't have boobs ;)

We do the same thing everynight
Dinner - solid variety
Bath - with Dad
PJs on - With Dad
Sit in the feeding chair and feed/cuddle with mum and listen to relaxing tunes
Fall asleep

Any ideas, encouragement to be better at sticking to the rules (lol) would be appreciated! :)

I have read http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html but I'm not keen on the crying part...

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strolltotheshops
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Post by strolltotheshops » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:33 pm

Have you seen this http://mumsright.libsyn.com/ivf-and-breastfeeding podcast? Here's a text introduction to what's in the podcast:
About the Presenter
I am the mother of three daughters, all conceived using IVF. I am also a breastfeeding counsellor with the Australian Breastfeeding Association. I have been breastfeeding without a break of more than a few days for the past nine years and three and a half months. I have continued to breastfeed through a successful IVF treatment cycle and a frozen embryo transfer treatment cycle; I have breastfed through two pregnancies and have tandem breastfed (and am currently tandem feeding my five and a half year old and my almost-two year old)

IVF and Breastfeeding
Thousands of Australian couples each year seek to increase their families with the help of IVF and related reproductive therapies. Almost invariably they are told that they must wean their babies before embarking on any fertility treatment. Total weaning is the standard advice given by most clinics and fertility doctors. From my own experience and further research on the topic, I am convinced that for a significant proportion of those women, weaning may not be necessary. In this session I would like to explore with you the potential effects breastfeeding may have on fertility treatment, the potential effects on breastfeeding and breastfed babies from IVF and related treatments, and the circumstances under which some women may be able to continue breastfeeding while undergoing fertility treatment.

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mochinbach
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Post by mochinbach » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:42 pm

Thank you :) Listening now :)

If I can convince my Dr to go ahead regardless that will certainly make it easier! We have 2 embryos in the freezer so we don't need drugs etc. I assume the argument is about fertility and feeding. The Dr told me that they have a straight NO policy on treatment whilst Breastfeeding... maybe I can present some research?

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mum2H&R
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Post by mum2H&R » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:29 am

My FS would not allow me to continue breastfeeding when doing a frozen cycle. Apparently if you do a stim cycle the drugs will go through your milk so that is not an option either. For me knowing that I was going to be giving my child the gift of a sibling helped me with weaning. Is there any reason that you have to do it now? I decided to wait until my first was 14 months before I stopped by then he was more interested in other things and I just distracted him when he did want milk. For us it was a bit easier when he was that little bit older.

Years ago there was a forumite that did continue breastfeeding through a few frozen cycles, none of which worked, she did decide to wean so that though of still breastfeeding wasn't going to be a factor.

IMO going through IVF is enough of a roller coaster - financially and emotionally and adding these extra stresses isn't needed
DS1 - April 06
DS2 - August 08
DD - October 10

What other people think of me is none of my business.

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mochinbach
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by mochinbach » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:44 pm

Well, I've waited and tried and he's still feeding... less but still feeding! :) It feels like he's only feeding for 5/10 mins now and only 3/4 times a day. What with teething, Wonder Weeks etc it's too hard! lol

This is a great article BTW - Just incase anyone else is in the same boat: http://babydustdiaries.wordpress.com/20 ... f-and-fet/

It really annoys me that the DR said they had a NO policy on this... there should be a conversation about what my partner and I want. We should be given the facts and left to make an informed, well advised decision. I've decided to have a conversation with the DR about it all see if i can't fight my corner... If the won't do it at [this clinic] then I could try a different fertility clinic I guess! I'm not sure Lying would work out for me (see link above). Would still love to hear from anyone who has been through a similar thing :)

Mod - edited to remove name of clinic.

Jenbt85
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by Jenbt85 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:50 pm

It is such a tough situation that you're in. I'd struggle to give up before I was ready. I have limited knowledge of ivf - is it something you can prepare a stash of ebm, pump and dump through the drug bit of the cycle and resume bf when pregnant / between cycles?

Pob lwc!
DS - bf 18.5 months (565 days)!
DD - breastfeeding

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PrincessStella

Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by PrincessStella » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:39 pm

Hi ladies, this post is very informative. I'm nearly 39 and have 1 gorgeous son conceived through IVF/ICSI. He is 13 months old and still bf. He isn't that keen on food and would much prefer boob. We want another baby and will hope to try in the next couple of months. I'm really struggling with the no bf during a cycle. Not really sure how to ween him.

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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by Oscar'smum » Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:32 pm

I am in exactly the same boat. I am 39 with a 12 month old who still feeds 6 or 7 times a day. Usually 3 times during the night and before each nap and bedtime with sometimes an early morning wake-up feed too. I've tried feeding less at night and patting/rocking etc but to no avail. He keeps screaming until he gets boob. On the rare occassion he gone back to sleep after patting/singing he wakes 30 minutes later patting my breast saying "mum". We co-sleep too. I have three frozen embryos and really want to give him a sibling but don't know when to try weaning. My period hasn't returned yet so really feel I need to stop bf for that to happen. But I also know instinctively that neither of us is really ready for it and if I did manage to wean him and then IVF didn't work I would really regret it. Advice anyone???

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Yankee
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by Yankee » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:57 pm

You could focus on night weaning maybe? That seems to kick start periods. I think the No Cry Sleep Solution has some suggestions, or you could try the helpline.
DD born September 2013

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mochinbach
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by mochinbach » Thu May 01, 2014 8:19 pm

Hi everyone :)

I thought i'd update :)

I went back to my Dr at Repromed. I kept a strict record of all of my periods for 6 months as evidence that I was definitely back to normal. She said she wanted me to stop breast feeding and I pulled a face. It actually didn't take too much persuading for her to given in. I told her that we were pretty much down to feeding at night - In fact, to be honest, we have a feed in the morning, I feed him to sleep for a nap and then there's the feed at night. She agreed that Breastfeeding was great and important and that night feeds could go on for a while. She was very supportive. She said that obviously there are increased risks but agreed with me that that is our choice to make.

The webinar you guys shared with me really gave me the confidence to stand my ground and I am so glad I did it didn't take much at all to sway the tide!

I asked her to check my prolactin levels in my preparatory bloods and they were actually at the 'normal' range for a non-breastfeeding mother. So, my little one is probably not getting much milk and it really is mostly for comfort (as I suspected). That made me feel a bit better but, to be honest, I would have gone ahead regardless.
There is still an increased risk due to nipple stimulation but the whole process is full of risks. Our frosties have to survive the process, the timing has to be perfect etc. My hubby and I are happy to go ahead and so is our Dr as long as we know the risks. When I asked her what the research showed about these risks she actually said that there wasn't really much out there. There doesn't actually seem to be any hard evidence that breastfeeding will cause an issue. It would be good to get more research done in this area. I would have been a willing volunteer :)

So, I've had my first base line scan - every thing was fine and normal. I have my first bloods tomorrow morning to start tracking ovulation and - with a bit of luck, I'll be pregnant again in a week or so :)

I will continue to share what happens as I go. I know that reading the forums and blogs of mums in similar situations has really helped me with this whole process. Here's hoping it all goes well. I have a good feeling about it anyway :) My little one is still 'feeding' and I hope he will be able to make his own mind up about when to stop whilst we make him a new brother or sister :)

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mochinbach
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by mochinbach » Thu May 01, 2014 8:24 pm

Oscar'smum wrote:I am in exactly the same boat. I am 39 with a 12 month old who still feeds 6 or 7 times a day. Usually 3 times during the night and before each nap and bedtime with sometimes an early morning wake-up feed too. I've tried feeding less at night and patting/rocking etc but to no avail. He keeps screaming until he gets boob. On the rare occassion he gone back to sleep after patting/singing he wakes 30 minutes later patting my breast saying "mum". We co-sleep too. I have three frozen embryos and really want to give him a sibling but don't know when to try weaning. My period hasn't returned yet so really feel I need to stop bf for that to happen. But I also know instinctively that neither of us is really ready for it and if I did manage to wean him and then IVF didn't work I would really regret it. Advice anyone???
When my LO was 12 months old were were in a simliar position. A couple of months later and he was sleeping through (which reduced the feeds pretty quickly. Then he grew out of his second nap (so there's another feed gone) and so on. You could get a blood test to check prolactin levels and see what that shows. I found one study which suggested that prolactin levels seem to start dropping naturally after 15 months of breastfeeding. Interestingly, that's where I am at now having fed on demand since he was born and that seems to have been the case with me. I don't know if any of the councillors know more about that?

I didn't need to give up feeding to get my period. I guess my levels dropped enough? Can you afford to hold on and wait a little longer mayber?

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mochinbach
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by mochinbach » Thu May 01, 2014 8:24 pm

Oscar'smum wrote:I am in exactly the same boat. I am 39 with a 12 month old who still feeds 6 or 7 times a day. Usually 3 times during the night and before each nap and bedtime with sometimes an early morning wake-up feed too. I've tried feeding less at night and patting/rocking etc but to no avail. He keeps screaming until he gets boob. On the rare occassion he gone back to sleep after patting/singing he wakes 30 minutes later patting my breast saying "mum". We co-sleep too. I have three frozen embryos and really want to give him a sibling but don't know when to try weaning. My period hasn't returned yet so really feel I need to stop bf for that to happen. But I also know instinctively that neither of us is really ready for it and if I did manage to wean him and then IVF didn't work I would really regret it. Advice anyone???
When my LO was 12 months old were were in a simliar position. A couple of months later and he was sleeping through (which reduced the feeds pretty quickly. Then he grew out of his second nap (so there's another feed gone) and so on. You could get a blood test to check prolactin levels and see what that shows. I found one study which suggested that prolactin levels seem to start dropping naturally after 15 months of breastfeeding. Interestingly, that's where I am at now having fed on demand since he was born and that seems to have been the case with me. I don't know if any of the councillors know more about that?

I didn't need to give up feeding to get my period. I guess my levels dropped enough? Can you afford to hold on and wait a little longer maybe?

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fellare
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by fellare » Thu May 01, 2014 8:37 pm

mochinbach wrote: I asked her to check my prolactin levels in my preparatory bloods and they were actually at the 'normal' range for a non-breastfeeding mother. So, my little one is probably not getting much milk and it really is mostly for comfort (as I suspected). That made me feel a bit better but, to be honest, I would have gone ahead regardless.
My prolactin levels are normal and I'm sure ds still gets tons of milk! He certainly feeds for more than comfort.
Boobymonster weaned at 3.5yrs.
Ms Firestorm born august 2015
Whatever you perceive to believe, dream.... be free.... (eMDee)

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mochinbach
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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by mochinbach » Thu May 01, 2014 10:28 pm

Cool! I hope my LO is too. The Dr seemed to think that the prolactin levels indicated he wouldn't be getting much. But, one thing I have learnt is that there seems to be very little in the way of rules when it comes to breastfeeding! I guess without constantly monitoring my levels I wouldn't know what's normal for me :). As long as I can still give my little dude the option to feed we're all happy :) no matter how much milk is on offer :)

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Re: IVF and Weaning

Post by fellare » Thu May 01, 2014 10:42 pm

They tend to let you know if it's not enough for them, especially when they get older!

Gp aren't trained in breastfeeding and while it makes sense, what your dr said, it isn't necessarily true. Biology of breast milk production is quite interesting!!
Boobymonster weaned at 3.5yrs.
Ms Firestorm born august 2015
Whatever you perceive to believe, dream.... be free.... (eMDee)

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