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Thread: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Exclamation Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    This is my first time posting, I am desperate to keep breastfeeding...

    I have Bipolar, my daughter is 4.5 months old and I have determined that I need to go back onto medication. One of the medications is contraindicted for breastfeeding, however, the other, Lamictal, is considered a class C drug because there has just been so little research done on it with breastfeeding.

    I opted to stop breastfeeding and start back on both medications but today was my first day not feeding my daughter and it has been beyond horrible. I want the special time with my daughter back and I want to know she is getting the best possible nourishment from ME! I fought so hard to breastfeed to begin with and I did not want to stop at all but I felt very pressured by the fact that I was having trouble managing my Bipolar symptoms.

    Does anyone have any information at all on Lamictal and breastfeeding? I can opt to take just Lamictal and I will do that in a heartbeat if it means I could safely start breastfeeding my daughter again. Any information would be so appreciated, thank you so much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    Dr. Hale's book, i think it's medication and breastfeeding? anyway, Thomas Hale -- has a book that talks about medications and potential alternatives. You can look it up on amazon and actually see inside the book (look up your med) if you are signed into google. Good luck Mama, that's a very tough choice.

    ETA: here's a link to the book -- if you can't find it in here, there are updated versions that might have more info, but i'm not sure you can look inside all of them. One of the leaders on here has the book and may be able to look them up for you.
    Last edited by @llli*jbean1979; August 19th, 2011 at 06:57 AM.
    Julia and Maxwell (and Dan and Haddie)
    Maxwell, born January 3, 2010
    A year on Mama's milk and still loving it

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    Have you talked to your doctor about alternative medications?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    It's really great you want to continue breastfeeding. Did you look up your medication on the Motherrisk website http://www.motherisk.org/women/breastfeeding.jsp ?
    Good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Southern NM

    Default Re: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    You might also call InfantRisk--that's Dr. Hale's group at Texas Tech. They should be able to look at your medication options with the latest data on breastfeeding safety. I don't think it must be an either or situation. The number listed on the website is (806)-352-2519.


    I am Erin--happily married to the nerd of my dreams for 15 years
    High School Science Teacher
    Mother to: Thing 1 9/23/01, bf 15 mo, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma 1/29/02, officially cancer free for ten years in August 2012
    Thing 2 6/6/05, bf 12 mo, obsessed with dynamite
    Glowworm 2/18/11, bf 15 months and counting

  6. #6

    Default Re: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    There's quite a bit more information about Lamictal in the newest edition of Medications and Mothers' Milk versus the older ones; it looks like there have been a few more (and larger) studies done in the last couple years. Hale rates Lamictal as an L3 (moderately safe), but it sounds like it's tricky to judge, because how much gets into the milk varies quite a bit for different individuals.

    Is the email address that you registered with the best one to reach you at, louisasmommy? Because I can email you the pages from the Hale book and you could go over them with your doctor.

    I also second scienceteachermommy's suggestion to call InfantRisk. They may be able to give you more information specific to your situation, taking into consideration your dose, your baby's age and nursing pattern, etc.

    It's certainly worth having your doctor take a close look at all the research there is, because Lamictal doesn't sound like one that you can really easily say is okay or not okay, since you not only have to look at the risk the medication might pose to your baby, but weigh that against the risks of not breastfeeding (both to your baby and to your own emotional stability).

    I'm sure it's not an easy decision to make. I hope the information from the Hale book and InfantRisk will help so that you and your doctor will both be comfortable with your continuing to breastfeed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    Well, this is honestly a decision every mother must make for herself, but I will tell you my story.

    I have severe bipolar disorder and 4 children. I was under the impression breastfeeding was impossible with my first 3 kids, so they were formula fed. I can't go without meds. I take my meds throughout pregnancy although they are class C. One of them is Lamictal. When I was pregnant with my youngest (now 7 months) I started doing research on breastfeeding and meds. I decided it was something I really, really wanted to have the experience of doing. So I found a psychiatrist who SPECIALIZES in the treatment of lactating and pregnant mothers. He was very supportive of my desire to nurse my baby. He helped me adjust the dosages of my meds and one med I actually did wean off of because there was no research done on it. I take 100 mg of Lamictal a day. I have breastfed my son since day one. He is 7 months old and aside from some limited solids we started at 6 months, he has had nothing but mama's milk. I owe this doctor everything. This bond with my son is undoubtedly the best experience I have had on this earth. Ever.

    The lactation consultants I saw in the hospital agreed with my dr that generally it is safer to breastfeed on meds than it is to give formula. We may not know 100% every issue that a certain medication may have on a baby. But it is known 100% that formula feeding has risks. My 19 month old daughter, for example, was sick with colds, etc most of her 1st year because my older kids would bring home viruses and such from school. Dylan has not been sick one time despite the rest of the family being sick about a million times since he was born in January. He is happy and thriving and 20 lbs.

    Oh and did I mention the bond he has with his mama? Priceless!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Desperate to Keep Breastfeeding

    This is a link to Dr. Hale's forum on lamictal.


    I would strongly suggest asking your psychiatrist to refer you to a center that specializes in perinatal psychiatry for a consultation. In addition to lamictal, there are other options for mood stabilizers that are felt to be ok to take while breastfeeding (i.e. atypical antipsychotics).

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