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Thread: To Wean or not to Wean

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    St. Louis, MO

    Default To Wean or not to Wean

    Hi everyone. My daughter is 14 months old and is an avid nurser. She barely eats any solids, and I'm fine with that. I want to do child-led weaning. Here's the issue: I have a small lump in my breast. I've had two surgeries in the past to remove fibroids, so I'm assuming it's another one. To be safe, though, I went to see a breast doctor. Immediately I could tell she was not pro extended breastfeeding, for she scoffed at the fact that I was still nursing. She checked my breast and said that it was more than likely a fibroid, but we needed to get an ultrasound. In a really dispassionate way, she asked, "Can you wean?" I said, "Well, yeah. If I have to." She then went on to say that ultrasounds don't work very well on lactating breasts because they're full of milk and can mess up the image. She also said that if we had to do surgery, milk could leak out of the incision, and two weeks is enough time for weanig. I left the clinic determined to do it, but the more I thought about her callous bedside manner, the more I began questioning this route. At this pouint, I'm just trying to figure out what I should do. Should I wean my child now, despite her not being ready for it? Should I wait until she self weans before I deal with my breast issue? Should I just nurse her on one side and let the affected side dry up? Is what the doctor said true or should I get a second opinion? By the way, the lump has been there for a year already and hasn't increased in size and isn't painful. I already know I should have gotten it checked out sooner. What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: To Wean or not to Wean

    I think that in your shoes, I would want to see another specialist. Maybe a different doc will be a little more open to the possibility of working on a lactating breast.

    If you did need surgery, the presence of milk could result in milk leaking from the incision. But over the years I have been on this forum, we've had a fair number of moms coming through who have had biopsies or abscess drainage procedures on their breasts, and IIRC they all nursed throughout, and did not see leakage from the site. Which I guess is my way of saying that anecdotal evidence suggests that the risk of leakage is relatively low.

    If you're really concerned, and a second specialist is also of the opinion that you need to handle this now rather than later, I would definitely consider weaning from the breast with the issue. It might take longer than 2 weeks to dry up most of the milk, but it's a middle path between total weaning and ignoring the problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Re: To Wean or not to Wean

    I'm a sonographer. I've scanned lactating breasts. I'm not really sure that the answer she gave you about milk messing up the image is particularly sound. Lots of things can "mess up" an ultrasound. Fluid, which milk is, is not generally something that makes an ultrasound non-diagnostic. Where the breast is concerned, fibrocystic, dense breast tissue tends to be the thing that most interferes with image quality on an ultrasound. But fluid is very, very easy for sound waves to pass through. If you've ever had a pelvic ultrasound, that's why you are asked to fill your bladder. The urine in the bladder actually works as a window to HELP see things more clearly.

    I would get a second opinion.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: To Wean or not to Wean

    Don't wean just because this doctor is not supportive of breastfeeding beyond the age of 1. Some people just don't get that weaning is a BIG deal and something only to be undertaken if absolutely necessary. You want a doctor who understands that fact and only suggests that you wean if it is absolutely necessary - it doesn't sound like you are there right now.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: To Wean or not to Wean

    How long are you supposed to wait after weaning to get scanned? You will still lactate even if your child weans. What if this were considered an emergency? No one would be waiting around until your milk dries up-at least I certainly hope not!

    I am not sure what the difference would be in reading between a mammogram and ultrasound, but I had mammogram while nursing. After going through the whole 'you have to wean' 'no, actually i don't' dance, ending up with me even calling the IBCLC staff for my hcp, they finally did one mammo, thought it was hard to read, sent me to the "special" mammogram place for hard to read breasts (I guess) and the folks there had no problem with me nursing. They asked that I nurse right before the mammogram. So i did.

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