Mother or martyr?

Breastfeeding does not always work out, this is a place to discuss your situation and feelings

Mother or martyr?

Postby mothergoose » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:53 am

Hello ladies,

This is potentially a novel of a post, so will try to keep it brief. I am struggling. I've been exclusively breast feeding for 20 weeks and have abruptly barged through any barrier that's appeared. These range from pain (caesar), fatigue (constant/hourly feeds), criticism (in laws), frustration (from older child) and I'll stop right there because it's quite a list and you all know what I'm talking about!!

Frankly, I'm tired and I've been unwell for the best part of a year. I've put off much needed surgery for multiple pelvic organ prolapse, I've longingly looked on in envy of the other caesar mums with their morphine pumps, had to leave my job due to the risks of lead exposure and had recurrent health issues. I'm at the point where I am in constant pain and have an abscessed tooth (now draining, thankfully!) and infection in my jaw and sinuses. I need to have root canal and wisdom tooth removal, as well as the above mentioned surgery to finallly be pain free. As a priority, I need to get on top of the infection, which is spreading.

Being the stubborn woman that I am, I am sitting here on the internet with three boxes of unopened medications, in significant pain, instead of just going to the shop to buy a tin of formula. So, my question is, at what point would you prioritise your comfort/health over that of your baby? Am I being a martyr? All I can think of is how guilt ridden I will be if I make the switch. My husband doesn't understand the place I'm in and how I'm struggling with this. He's frustrated with me. Everyone is frustrated with me - except my baby. I would be grateful for any input from other mums. Help!!!
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Postby wilfred » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:03 pm

Call the helpline the counsellors are amazing.

Ultimately you need to do whats best for both of you. Bf is a relationship, if one person isn't happy then it might be time to let go. :(
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Postby mooki » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:15 pm

Hi and welcome
*hugs*

In regards to medications, I thought I would just mention Rodney Whyte, he is the guru of breastfeeding and medications. You sound so hesitant to stop breastfeeding and Im unsure if you have been advised against it but if anyone knows whether your medication can be safely taken while BF, this man can. He's a bit of a superstar round here and many forumites have spoken to him

03 9594 2361
r.whyte@southernhealth.org.au

As for your question, Im pretty stubborn too and in all honesty would more than likely be doing exactly what you are! !@~@~!group hug
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Postby MM » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:15 pm

Hugs that sounds really hard - and it sounds like you need a break!

Feel free to disregard my advice, but this is what I'd if I were in your boat: call in support from anywhere and everywhere so you can get some real rest. Drop everything except the breast feeding. Ask your mum, husband, friends, or pay a babysitter to take the baby for walks and care for your toddler, clean the house, cook meals and basically look after you as if you are sick in hospital. Snuggle with your baby while she sleeps. Maybe do a few pumping sessions so someone can feed her EBM so you can get a good 4 hour stint of sleep.

Also, I had a Caesar and was given endone in the hospital and panadeine forte when I got home - and was breastfeeding. I don't think you have to be a total matyr living in pain, there are some meds that are ok. Others may have more specific advice.

Please don't take my suggestions as bossy, and I'm not judging you whatever decision you make. But it sounds to me like there's heaps of factors contributing to your pain and exhaustion and maybe if you can solve some of the other things breastfeeding won't feel so overwhelming.

Massive hugs, hope you get the rest and support you need.
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Postby Loli&Lulu » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:22 pm

Huge hugs to you - it is so hard to make these decisions for yourself and your child. Everyone has a different line in the sand.

I'm not a counsellor but I will mention that there are lots of medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding but most doctors are unaware of which ones are and often just suggest switching to formula. *Editted because I can see Mooki has posted Rodney's details*.

I hope you find a path forward that works for you. It is hard this mothering thing!

Personally - I'm stubborn and would probably persevere until at least 6 months if I could manage it.
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Postby ames » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:02 pm

That's a lot going on!

Great suggestions above, pls call Rodney for medications advice.

In terms of wisdom tooth removal/dental work. I had two teeth removed when DD3 was only a few months old, I didn't even think there would be a problem, and there wasn't.

Hope you get the support you need.
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Postby breastfeedingisnormal » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:06 pm

Oh man! You've had a crap run! No wonder you're exhausted. I've had POP and had repairs done (twice). If you want to chat about that I would be more than happy to have that conversation (use the PM function to contact me).
It also sounds like you've had some dodgy advice about medication use while breastfeeding. There really is no reason to be in pain. Most pain meds (including hardcore narcotics like morphine) are safe to use while breastfeeding. If you want to keep breastfeeding, call Rodney Whyte and discuss your meds with him. He is super nice and totally across the medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Most doctors and pharmacists aren't and they simply trust what the drug companies' lawyers tell them (which is usually, there have been no studies demonstrating safety, therefore don't use while breastfeeding). Rodney has done the research and looks at things like whether the molecules of the drug are small enough to cross from your blood to your milk (most aren't) and if they are, whether they cross in quantities large enough to affect the baby etc.
If you don't want to continue breastfeeding, a call or email to the helpline (or a PM to me) will help you to develop a plan that works for you and your little one. Your body will take a little while to adjust and so you'll need to think about whether you want to drop feeds slowly or just express and discard the milk. You will also want to think about what will be easiest for your LO. She might take to the bottle/formula easily or she might need some time to adjust. Either way, you need to take care of yourself. I had major dental work while I was breastfeeding my first so give Rodney a call to reassure yourself.
all the best
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Postby s squirrel » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:52 pm

Just a bit more from the "we :smt049 Rodney club" ( :smt043 )
He is the guru, he's internationally renowned for his knowledge and would be one of the top people world wide regarding medication and breastfeeding.
And we are lucky enough that he is Melbourne :-D
And is more than happy to take calls from breastfeeding mums, he's really good to talk with, just don't fall over in a dead faint when he answers his own phone :wink: no automated system in use :lol:

HTH
Xox
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if you can't run, then walk,
if you can't walk, then crawl,
but whatever you do you have to keep moving
forward.... – MLK
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Postby AbbeyCat » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:26 pm

Great advice from the other ladies, so just big hugs from me.

:smt056
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Postby mooki » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:28 pm

and stick around for support, we're pretty nice :-D
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Postby ClOuD_NiNe » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:34 pm

I agree with the other ladies about checking with regards to medication. I also had a root canal when DS was 4 weeks old and it wasn't a problem with regards to breastfeeding. You sound like you've really had a rough time, I hope it all turns good for you soon!
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Postby Nedsmum » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:04 pm

I've also had emergency dental work when breastfeeding, and day surgery (laparascopy) to remove an ovarian cyst (benign dermoid cyst, but they didn't know if it would be cancerous at the time).... whilst breastfeeding...

I delayed having the cyst removed until my bubs was over 6 months, because I was worried about him coping without breastfeeding (over 6 months he could have some solids and water in between)...but the anaesthetist told me the dose of medication he would get through the breastmilk was miniscule compared to giving the same medications directly to very ill newborns, which is necessary sometimes if the newborn needs emergency surgery.

Are you on antibiotics for your tooth infection ? My dentist told me (after getting an abcess and needing root canal therapy), that at the first sign of trouble he recommends first going to the GP for antiobiotics, taking them for 2 days, then coming in for the dental work. By then, most of the pain should be gone from the infection, and they can deal with the tooth without worrying about spreading the infection further...

As said by everyone else, you might be perfectly able to take those meds and breastfeed. Definitely use the contact details given above, or in NSW you can phone the 'medicines in pregnancy and breastfeeding' helpline, which is called 'Mothersafe':
http://www.mothersafe.org.au/

There is also a full list here of drug information services:
http://www.mothersafe.org.au/

I can't see why you can't have the repair surgery if you need to... and still breastfeed your baby.

The only resistance I got was from one 'well meaning' but rather officious nurse, who did the admission on the day of the surgery and tried to convince me to send my husband home with the baby and 'we will call him to come when you wake up'...having had a friend who had complications during surgery and was moved to a ward rather than back to post-op, and subsequently someone forgot to tell her husband, and 6 hours later he was panicking and luckily a friend who worked at the hospital walked past and then accessed the computer system and worked out where she had 'disappeared to'.... I did not trust the nurses to 'remember' to phone my husband.

I breastfed my baby as soon as I came out of the anaesthetic, with my husband's support, then he went away and came back again after I'd had a long sleep... and it was 100% fine. The anasthetic may have made my baby slightly sleepier than usual, but the anaesthetist was awesome and she did not consider it a problem...the risk of mastitis post-op from not emptying my breasts properly was a bigger issue...
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!
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Postby Nedsmum » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:06 pm

I've also had emergency dental work when breastfeeding, and day surgery (laparascopy) to remove an ovarian cyst (benign dermoid cyst, but they didn't know if it would be cancerous at the time).... whilst breastfeeding...

I delayed having the cyst removed until my bubs was over 6 months, because I was worried about him coping without breastfeeding (over 6 months he could have some solids and water in between)...but the anaesthetist told me the dose of medication he would get through the breastmilk was miniscule compared to giving the same medications directly to very ill newborns, which is necessary sometimes if the newborn needs emergency surgery.

Are you on antibiotics for your tooth infection ? My dentist told me (after getting an abcess and needing root canal therapy), that at the first sign of trouble he recommends first going to the GP for antiobiotics, taking them for 2 days, then coming in for the dental work. By then, most of the pain should be gone from the infection, and they can deal with the tooth without worrying about spreading the infection further...

As said by everyone else, you might be perfectly able to take those meds and breastfeed. Definitely use the contact details given above, or in NSW you can phone the 'medicines in pregnancy and breastfeeding' helpline, which is called 'Mothersafe':
http://www.mothersafe.org.au/

There is also a full list here of drug information services:
http://www.mothersafe.org.au/

I can't see why you can't have the repair surgery if you need to... and still breastfeed your baby.

The only resistance I got was from one 'well meaning' but rather officious nurse, who did the admission on the day of the surgery and tried to convince me to send my husband home with the baby and 'we will call him to come when you wake up'...having had a friend who had complications during surgery and was moved to a ward rather than back to post-op, and subsequently someone forgot to tell her husband, and 6 hours later he was panicking and luckily a friend who worked at the hospital walked past and then accessed the computer system and worked out where she had 'disappeared to'.... I did not trust the nurses to 'remember' to phone my husband.

I breastfed my baby as soon as I came out of the anaesthetic, with my husband's support, then he went away and came back again after I'd had a long sleep... and it was 100% fine. The anasthetic may have made my baby slightly sleepier than usual, but the anaesthetist was awesome and she did not consider it a problem...the risk of mastitis post-op from not emptying my breasts properly was a bigger issue...
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!
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Postby whitto04 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:09 pm

more hugs from me.

Everyone else has already mentioned Rodney. He really is awesome. Getting some advice about the medications would probably be a good place to start.
Are you able to get out and about? Maybe getting to your local ABA group would help. Learning how to feed while lying down would allow you to rest.

Only you can make the decision about whether to continue breastfeeding, or to wean to formula. Your situation sounds very difficult, and you deserve a medal for getting this far. A lot of mums on this forum have gone through struggles, so feel free to read/lurk, you may find a story or 3 that clicks for you. (My MIL tends to be critical of my choices- I chose to ignore the BF and co-sleeping comments).

And calling a counsellor is likely to help too. A friendly voice on the phone can make an amazing difference when you are having a bad day. If you choose to wean to formula, they can help to avoid mastitis/blocked ducts. If you choose to keep feeding, there may be other things going on (maybe a tongue tie affecting milk transfer? That might explain the frequent feeds?)

I hope your situation improves. It sounds very hard.
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DD#4-2012 (born at home), no longer sharing with her sister!
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Postby s squirrel » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:28 pm

My bad :oops: for not adding to my previous post, but many hugs, we all need help and support at times, and this forum is a great place for both!
Xox
If you can't fly, then run,
if you can't run, then walk,
if you can't walk, then crawl,
but whatever you do you have to keep moving
forward.... – MLK
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